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70th Reunion
Tuesday, 6/11/2024

12:00 pm until 4:00 pm
Tavistock Country Club
Friends, children, spouses invited to help us celebrate our last reunion
Send $35 to Mark Sibley, 134 Cider Press Drive, Mullica Hill, NJ 08062 by June 1.
Edit Alumni Society Trustee Meetings
Third Tuesday of every month September through May/June, except December. Contact us for the location.


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2019 Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient

Dr. Rebecca Hilgen Bryan 

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Dr. Rebecca Hilgen Bryan graduated from Haddonfield Memorial High School in 1982.  
She began her career by earning a bachelor’s degree in Nursing from Gwynned Mercy College in 1986 and her registered nurse license in Pennsylvania in 1984.  She was awarded her Master of Science in Nursing from the University of Pennsylvania in 1992 and a year later, became a registered Advanced Practice Nurse in New Jersey.  Most recently, she earned her doctoral degree in Nursing Practice from Rutgers University Camden.

It comes as little surprise to those who know her that Dr. Hilgen Bryan would gravitate toward a helping profession. Her father, Robert, described how a young Rebecca demonstrated her empathy and compassion at an early age.  “When a neighbor’s child became infected with Reye’s Syndrome, Becky took on the responsibility of providing significant support to our neighbors in caring for the child.”  Similarly, Bill Getman, Senior Pastor at the Haddonfield Presbyterian Church, described Rebecca’s service to the church and the larger community.  In her teenage years, she participated in mission trips with the church in which she traveled to a Native American reservation, to the Appalachians, and to Canada.  As a ninth grader, she and a friend developed a curriculum for confirmation class at the church

After her college graduation, Rebecca worked in a variety of health care settings providing skilled nursing care to adults.  Her work spanned three hospitals, including Kennedy Memorial Hospital (from 1984-1986), Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (1986-1992), and Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center (1992-1994).  Also, she worked as a Nurse Practitioner for two local medical practices: Broadway Family Practice (1994-1996) and Wolfe-Simon Medical Associates, from 1996-2012.  She currently works as a self-employed trauma-informed care consultant and a Health Care Provider at the Health Federation of Philadelphia.  She is a member of the NJ ACES State Task Force, an organization that informs policymakers and legislators on how to implement trauma-informed practices into legislation that can improve community health.

In 2011-2012, Dr. Hilgen Bryan discussed with Pastor Getman a vision she had for opening a health clinic in Camden.  Rebecca initiated an organizing committee, built trust with the local community for a Wellness Center and spent more than two years to secure funding through West Jersey Presbyterian. After some five years, Rebecca saw the vision realized as the Wellness Center at Urban Promise became more than just a dream. 

Dr. Hilgen Bryan immediately took on a leadership role at the Wellness Center.  She served as the founder and director from 2012-2018.  She put her stamp on several of the initiatives at the center.  In one example, she envisioned a program for youth that focused on spiritual and emotional well-being.  Drawing on scientifically based studies on the impact of childhood trauma on behavior, Dr. Hilgen Bryan developed a trauma-Informed care model focused on the impact of poverty and racism on young people’s ability to learn.  She integrated this trauma-informed model into the structure of classroom work creating classrooms that allowed for quiet spaces where children could learn to self-regulate.  She added a mindfulness practice and faith-based language to the health program. 
 
The Director of Urban Promise, Ms. Siomara Wedderburn described Rebecca as having a strong commitment to working with underserved communities and as a passionate and dedicated leader. She noted, “It only takes a ten-minute conversation with Rebecca to feel empowered…Her leadership challenges us to do better and brings out the best in others.”  Wedderburn further described how Rebecca’s initiative at Urban Promise has brought attention to ACES and brought further awareness to improving health outcomes for children with traumatic experiences. 

    Dr. Hilgen Bryan has also contributed to her profession by serving as a nursing educator. She has worked as a preceptor, lecturer, and field instructor for nursing students.  Rebecca has taught a variety of workshops on medical topics at the University of Pennsylvania.  From 1995-2012, she served as preceptor for University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing for nurse practitioner students.  Further, she taught as an Advanced Lecturer at University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing from 2008-2014.  Rebecca has also worked as Field Instructor for Rutgers University School of Social Work from 2013-2018 and as an adjunct professor there in 2019.  She has performed “grand rounds” at local healthcare facilities to provide nurses with training on trauma-informed care. She has also produced more than thirty-five scholarly publications on a variety of medical and nursing topics for nursing journals.   
    
Married and the mother of two children, Rebecca remains active in Haddonfield Presbyterian Church and the Haddonfield community.  She actively serves in a variety of roles and leadership positions including as a Church Elder and a committee woman for Christian Education, Worship and Music, Justice Advocacy, and Long-Range Planning.  Rebecca also serves as a the health faculty member for CREDO, a program that provides a spiritual retreat for pastors growing in their professional careers.  Peter Simme, retired pastor noted, “Rebecca has provided guidance to hundreds of pastors within this program.  She has taken steps to improve their health and well-being so that they can be more effective pastoral leaders.” 

One final anecdote about Dr. Hilgen Bryan illustrates her impact both large and small.   During her first few years at Urban Promise, she mentored a young woman from Malawi, South East Africa, Vanesa Mwangala.  Dr. Hilgen Bryan inspired Vanessa and encouraged her to continue her education.  Vanessa currently leads an education organization in Malawi called Voices Wake Girls Organization, that has impacted the lives of over 100 young women.  The goals of “Voices Wake Girls” include:  ending child marriage, battling extreme poverty, and keeping girls in school. In a letter to the HAS Vanessa wrote, “Rebeca became my first woman role model and also one of the greatest leaders I have ever seen.  She is empathetic and loving.  She does not close her eyes to the suffering of people, where she can do something she does, whether it’s giving of herself or knocking on doors that can.”  

Rebecca currently resides in Haddonfield with her husband, Michael.  Her two children Sean ’09 and Aubrey ’12 are graduates of HMHS. 

In recognition of her exceptional work in the nursing profession and in the Haddonfield and South Jersey community, Haddonfield Alumni Society awards our Lifetime Achievement Medal to Dr. Rebecca Hilgen Bryan ’82.

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