Honoring Mason Nurses Awardees Announced 


The CHHS School of Nursing is proud to announce three award winners to be recognized at its Honoring Mason Nurses: Past, Present, and Future event: 

  • Outstanding Nurse Champion Award: Ashley Frese, BSN '04, MSN '12 

  • Outstanding Nurse Innovation Award: Anna Norwood, MSN '18 

  • Outstanding Public Health Nurse Award: Kadija Conteh-Barrat, BSN '09, DNP '15 

“On behalf of the School of Nursing, we are so proud to honor these three outstanding nurses for their contribution to the DC-area and the world. Their perseverance and determination to excel in their practice has improved the quality of care and lives of patients,” said Cheryl Oetjen, interim Director of the School of Nursing. 

The April 28 event, hosted at Fairfax Country Club, recognizes the achievements and impact of Mason School of Nursing graduates, including Frese, Norwood, and Conteh-Barrat, for all they do to support the health and well-being of Northern Virginia residents and beyond. 

The College welcomes all alumni, students, and friends of the School of Nursing to attend this event. We hope you will join us to honor these nurses and all Mason nurses. Tickets are now available here for Honoring Mason Nurses. 

The College put out a call for colleagues, fellow alumni, friends, or family to nominate an outstanding Mason nurse. Once nominations were collected the Honoring Mason Nurses executive committee, comprised of School of Nursing alumna and faculty, reviewed each nomination by predetermined criteria to determine a winner. Learn more about the awardees below. 

Outstanding Nurse Champion Award: Ashley Frese, BSN '04, MSN '12 

Ashley Frese Alumna

The Outstanding Nurse Champion Award recognizes the exceptional courage and passion of a frontline nurse who breaks through barriers to advocate for patients, families, and their team while working on the frontlines of the health care industry.  

Ashley Frese serves on the frontline as the director of the Advanced Practice Provider (APP) Critical Care Fellowship at Inova’s Fairfax Medical Campus (IFMC), as well as the APP Director for the Medical-Surgical Intensive Care Unit. She has been a critical care nurse practitioner with the Medical Critical Care Services at IFMC for 10 years. Her areas of interest include hemorrhagic and distributive shock, with a focus on methodologies of massive volume resuscitation. Frese loves to teach and is the chair of the Education Committee for Critical Care at IFMC, and has been an adjunct faculty member at Mason since 2015. 

“She is a voice for advanced practice nurses, bedside nurses, and, above all, for our patients. Whether it be staying past her shift to ensure a plan of care is instituted correctly, taking time to educate a peer or staff nurse, or speaking on the behalf of nursing to administration, she is always tirelessly advocating for nursing and patients,” said one of the multiple people to nominated Freese. 

Frese graduated from the George Mason University/George Washington University Collaborative Nurse Practitioner program and will graduate with her Doctor of Nursing Practice in 2023. 

Outstanding Nurse Innovation Award: Anna Norwood, MSN '18 

Anna Norwood Alumna

The Outstanding Nurse Innovation Award recognizes a nurse who demonstrates innovation in creating a better workplace, patient care, device, or business opportunity to enhance the health and wellbeing of their community. 

Anna C. Norwood, MSN, RN, FNP-BC is a Board-Certified Nurse Practitioner and the founder and owner of Kinetic Medical Group, a physical medicine and rehabilitation group which serves over 15 skilled nursing facilities, long term care facilities and assisted living facilities in Virginia and Maryland. After graduation, Norwood worked in skilled nursing facilities where she developed a love for high-quality geriatric care. Seeing gaps in care, she started Kinetic Medical Group to improve orthopedic and pain management care at the facilities where she serves. She is a recognized expert and a successful nurse entrepreneur who has created an innovative medical group. 

“There is no doubt that Anna is the best candidate to receive the Outstanding Nurse Innovation Award as she truly demonstrates medical knowledge and compassion as a nurse and entrepreneurship by starting her own practice, and surpasses co-workers by taking additional time to educate staff and share current research in her field with other health care professionals,” said one of many people who nominated Frese for the innovation award. “I hope that you will consider celebrating this leader in the field of nursing, Anna Norwood, who is a true entrepreneur, healthcare hero, and inspiration to myself and so many others.” 

Norwood has advanced certifications in orthopedics, including advanced training in nerve blocks and intra-articular injections. She is a specialist in a range of conditions that impact physical function including musculoskeletal conditions, neurologic conditions, and end-of-life pain management. She is licensed to provide Suboxone treatment and has a passion for treatment of addiction. She completed her Bachelor of Science in Nursing at Virginia Commonwealth University and her Master of Science in Nursing from Mason with a Nurse Practitioner concentration. 

Outstanding Public Health Nurse Award: Kadija Conteh-Barrat, BSN '09, DNP '15 

Kadija Conteh Barrat

The Outstanding Public Health Nurse Award recognizes a nurse who makes outstanding contributions to the field of public health, including social justice, health equity, and the delivery of public health care and services. 

Kadija Conteh-Barrat is the founder and CEO of Manak Community Health Organization (MaCHO), founded in 2020 to advance health equity and drive better health outcomes in the most underserved communities in Sierra Leone. Conteh-Barrat’s work to help those in crisis and to increase access to quality health care in Sierra Leone was inspired by her life-changing experiences during Sierra Leone's civil war and as a refugee in Guinea. 

“Kadija's medical missions and community clinic are helping to address health care needs in Sierra Leone, advance health equity, decrease mortality, and improve health outcomes in these hard-to-reach communities,” said one of her nominators. 

In March 2022, Conteh-Barrat completed her second medical mission in Sierra Leone and established a health clinic in the Yurika community, serving 84 villages. She has partnered with US non-profits and the local health district to ensure sustainability, increase capacity, expand care in isolated communities, and provide lifesaving medications, ongoing chronic disease management, and maternal childcare.  

Conteh-Barrat is working toward a postgraduate certificate in Psychiatric and Mental Health at Mason and is an adjunct faculty member in the College of Health and Human Services. In 2021, she was recognized as an Emerging Leader in Healthcare by United Health Group.