Alum Dina Hewett Returns as School of Nursing Director
Leadership changes include Troy Heidesch as head of graduate students and Jane Anderson-Buffington as undergraduate programs chair
Brenau University appointed Dina McDade Hewett of Gainesville, Georgia, as director of the Brenau School of Nursing effective July 15.
Hewett’s appointment comes at a pivotal time in the growth and evolution of the nursing program at Brenau, which produced its first five Doctor of Nursing Practice degree recipients this year, said Dr. Gale Starich, dean of the College of Health Sciences. Starich also announced additional changes in the leadership structure of the school that will help allocate resources and initiative to growth in both the undergraduate and graduate nursing programs with Brenau’s strategic focus on development of professionally oriented health sciences education.
“Dr. Hewett will be outstanding in this role,” Starich predicted. “She certainly understands the culture of Brenau University, having been here twice previously as a student and a member of the faculty. But she has also worked in the profession, which gives her a great perspective on understanding the need for well-trained graduates as well as for highly experienced professionals who will help prepare those graduates for the real world.”
Hewett graduated from Brenau Women’s College in 1988 with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. She served as a nursing faculty member from 1999 to 2000, which included a role on the assessment committee from 1998-2000 and undergraduate committee chair for nursing from 1999-2000. Her teaching experience also involved work as an adjunct instructor in the Brenau Department of Psychology. She was the Brenau Outstanding Young Alumnae Award recipient in 1999. She earned a master’s degree as an adult clinical nurse specialist from Georgia Southern University and a Ph.D. in higher education from the University of Georgia.
Additionally she worked at St. Mary’s Healthcare System in Athens, Georgia, as the director of several departments.
Other changes in the nursing school include appointment of Troy Heidesch to the newly created Richards Chair of Graduate Nursing as well as the selection of Jane Anderson-Buffington of Gillsville, Georgia, as Chair of Undergraduate Studies.
Heidesch, a resident of Bishop, Georgia, joined the Brenau nursing faculty in August 2012. He has served as the family nurse practitioner coordinator since January. He is a “double” Brenau alumnus, having earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing with a minor in music in 1997 and a master’s degree as a family nurse practitioner in 2000. Heidesch also has a Doctor of Nursing Practice from the Medical College of Georgia.
He is the owner and CEO of Smart House Calls, LLC, an innovative telemedicine technology and staffing company that connects healthcare professionals with patients. He has multiple articles in the Advance for Nurse Practitioners online publication. He enjoys mountain biking, photography, business and music.
“Dr. Heidesch’s private sector management in tele-health, coupled with his commitment to his students and their learning, will bring ‘the future’ to the present in the graduate nursing programs at Brenau,” said Starich.
Appointed the Interim Undergraduate Chair in January, Anderson-Buffington joined the Brenau nursing faculty in August 2011. Previously she was the director of nursing at the Northeast Georgia Heart Center in Gainesville. She also held various positions at the Habersham County Medical Center and served as a critical care educator and nurse at the Northeast Georgia Medical Center.
She earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Brenau in 1990, and a master’s from the Georgia Baptist College of Nursing at Mercer University in 2006. Anderson-Buffington holds various professional awards, including the Nightingale Award at Brenau. She enjoys gardening and farming on her free time.
“Professor Buffington’s considerable critical care work experience at the Northeast Georgia Heart Center and her management acumen has already transformed the student experience and performance in the undergraduate BSN program,” said Starich.
The combined talents of Hewett, Heidesch and Anderson-Buffington “brings a higher level of management, health care experience and vision to the School of Nursing and the College of Health Sciences,” Starich added. “This is a team that not only will lead but will also transform nursing programs at Brenau into the leader in health care professional programs for the region.”
To learn more about Brenau University’s School of Nursing, visit https://www.brenau.edu/healthsciences/department-of-nursing/.