Dr. Joey Granger, associate vice chancellor for research and dean of the SGSHS, stands with Dr. Kim Hoover after presenting her with the Distinguished Alumna of the Year Award.  Jay Ferchaud/ UMMC Communications
Dr. Joey Granger, associate vice chancellor for research and dean of the SGSHS, stands with Dr. Kim Hoover after presenting her with the Distinguished Alumna of the Year Award.
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Dr. Kim Hoover: Graduate Studies Distinguished Alumna of the Year

Published on Monday, November 7, 2022

By: Andrea Wright Dilworth,

Dr. Kim Hoover didn’t decide to go into nursing until realizing three years into a pre-med program that she didn’t want to be a physician. Neither did she aspire to teach nursing, nor were executive leadership positions including dean or COO on her radar.

But she achieved all of the above, and then some, accumulating a bevy of accolades along the way. So much so, that she’s been named Distinguished Alumna of the Year by the School of Graduate Studies in the Health Sciences.

“I am incredibly honored and surprised to be chosen for this honor given the number of successful graduates from the SGSHS,” said Hoover, who earned a master’s in nursing and PhD in clinical health sciences from University of Mississippi Medical Center.

The selection was based on her “outstanding” contributions to health care and education, said Dr. Hannah Broome, SGSHS’s associate dean of student affairs and recruitment.

Portrait of Dr. Hanna Broome

“Dr. Hoover’s career, award and service history is far-reaching; it includes leadership in nursing education, student affairs, research, health care and workforce development,” said Broome, also director of the MD-PHD program. “She exemplifies what we hope to see in all doctoral graduates of the School of Graduate Studies in the Health Sciences: the continued pursuit of leadership and service throughout one’s career.”

Now COO of the Mississippi Hospital Association and president/CEO of MHA’s Research and Educational Foundation, Hoover formerly worked as a staff nurse and clinical manager in Natchez before being recruited to teach nursing at Alcorn State University, where she taught the most memorable student of her career.

“Not long after I began teaching, my mother decided she wanted to go to nursing school,” said the Missouri native who grew up in Louisiana. “She started that journey at 50 and had a 17-year career after she graduated. I taught her in nursing school.”

After a decade at Alcorn, where she was also program coordinator, Hoover worked with the Mississippi Office of Nursing Workforce as project director, director of research and nursing workforce research consultant. While pursuing her PhD at UMMC, she received an offer from Dr. Kaye Bender, SON dean at the time, setting the stage for the next chapter in her still young career.

“When I decided to move from Natchez to Jackson, [Dr. Bender] asked if I would meet to talk about opportunities at UMMC. I had worked in administration, but not with the responsibilities and potential for leadership available at UMMC.” 

During her 15 years with the School of Nursing, Hoover served as associate dean, director of the PhD program, and dean, a position she held eight years before retiring from UMMC.

The most difficult and most rewarding position she’s held was SON dean.

“Knowing that every decision you make affects so many others is humbling. One of my mentors told me that leadership is vision plus people. If you have vision, but you can do it by yourself, you aren’t leading. This role challenged me more than any other role.

“Over time, authenticity and respect for others helped me earn the trust of an incredible team of faculty and staff. Through that trust, we were able to help students be more successful and ultimately improve health care.”

One of those students was Dr. Carolann Risley, now an associate professor of nursing, who said Hoover’s influence taught her to reach higher and think broadly. It was Hoover’s mentorship and rigorous instruction that gave her the skills and confidence to apply for and complete a successful NIH postdoctoral fellowship.

Portrait of Carolann Risley

“Dr. Hoover served as a role model and advocate for me at all times and at every level,” said Risley. “As a result of her leadership, encouragement, and support, the School of Nursing now leads a premier NIH-funded statewide longitudinal cohort study to investigate disparities in cervical cancer. She is my hero, and I continue to strive to achieve her level of excellence. It is a gift that she continues to serve in the School of Nursing.”

Portrait of Dr. Mary Stewart

Dr. Mary Stewart, director of the PhD in nursing program, said the program depends on the generosity of nurse leaders like Hoover, who recently opened her home for a faculty/student gathering to foster socialization and build collegiality. “Our PhD program benefits tremendously from the continued contributions of several faculty emeriti. Dr. Hoover leads the pack in terms of her dedication and time.”

Dr. Joey Granger, associate vice chancellor for research and dean of SGSHS, said Hoover is a strong advocate for research who used skills learned in the clinical sciences program to develop an outstanding career in education and service. “We are proud of the accomplishments she has made in the various leadership roles during her distinguished career.”

As professor emerita since retiring from UMMC in 2019, Hoover no longer teaches a class. But she continues to work with doctoral nursing students, providing feedback and guidance in their dissertation proposals and courses, and sits in on classes when invited.

“Just as being there for patients and their families is the most rewarding aspect of clinical work, working with students is the most rewarding aspect of teaching.”

Hoover, who lives in Ridgeland with her two 7-year-old miniature pinschers, doesn’t plan on slowing down anytime soon.

“My first retirement lasted two weeks, so I’m pretty sure I’m not reliable when it comes to predicting my next retirement.”