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LSU Interim Public Hospital

Gibson Receives Henning Award

New Orleans -- Gail Gibson, RN, MN, CPM, received the highest award the American Academy of Certified Public Managers (AACPM) presents to a fellow of the academy, the 2008 Henning Award, for exemplifying the AACPM vision of world-class leadership and public sector management during and in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.           

She is the director of maternal and child and medical surgical services for the Interim LSU Public Hospital. 

After the hurricane, when she and her staff were stranded by the flood, they cared for twenty babies and twenty-five women, a few of whom would soon be due. 

Gibson led her staff in the care of their patients even though many did not know the fates of their own families and homes.  At one point, her nurses had boarded rowboats, with babies in their arms, respirating the sickest by hand bagging, a technique for manually forcing air into the lungs, and traveled to Tulane University Medical Center for a rescue for their patients by a helicopter,  which was suddenly commandeered for another mission. 

Hope dashed, they returned to the dark and steaming hospital, where supplies were dwindling and the temperature topped 100 degrees, yet Gibson comforted them, keeping their focus on their patients.  “Our greatest concern was maintaining the health and well being of babies and mothers,” she said.

She and her staff did not lose a mother or baby during the ordeal or the transport out of the hospital five days after the storm though some moms and babies were sick and five babies were born.  On their last night in the hospital, the staff successfully delivered a twenty-three week old preemie using lights and medical equipment run by portable generators.

Gibson worked with hospital administrators to plan and implement the evacuation of not only the maternal child division but the entire hospital complex.  She was one of the last people to leave.

The award also recognizes her overall career accomplishment, leadership, and service to the academy, profession, and community.  Members of the AACPM Henning award selection committee were unanimous in their scoring and ranking of Gibson’s remarkable contributions.  She earned the CPM credential in 1994 and in 2004 received the Charles E. Dunbar Career Civil Service Award, Louisiana’s highest award for career public service.

She has served as the AACPM Louisiana Society as president elect, president, and past president, and has represented Louisiana in the academy’s House of Delegates since 2005.  Even in the aftermath of Katrina, Gibson demonstrated exemplary dedication to the Louisiana Society conducing society meetings by speakerphone and video conference, using every means possible to lead the society after the catastrophe and during rebuilding.

She earned her bachelor and master’s degrees in nursing from LSU Medical Center and has been on the hospital staff since 1986.

Gail Gibson

Gail Gibson, RN, MN, CPM, received the highest award the American Academy of Certified Public Managers (AACPM) presents to a fellow of the academy, the 2008 Henning Award