The amazing, landmark work started by Mary Breckinridge is leading our Pioneers for Healthcare toward 75 more years. Our graduates are taking Mrs. Breckinridge’s mission, passion and purpose into their own communities.

Frontier is changing the face of healthcare in the United States and is validating midwifery as a viable, healthy option for moms and families.

A look at what’s going on in the New Frontier:

Unbridled Service: Growing Up and Giving Back as a Frontier Nursing Service Courier, 1928-2010, is a new book by Dr. Anne Z. Cockerham. This book offers a unique insight into a largely unknown part of Kentucky’s history by telling the colorful stories of young people doing service on horseback through what was then known as the Frontier Nursing Service Courier program.

The eighth episode of the kNOwMORE Nonprofits educational television series features FNU as one of four nonprofits that are keeping Kentucky and our nation healthy. The episode, “Nonprofits Keeping Kentucky Healthy,” premiered in February 2014 on Kentucky Educational Television (the statewide PBS network).

The textbook Best Practices in Midwifery: Using the Evidence to Implement Change, written and edited by FNU faculty and alumni, was awarded a 2013 American Journal of Nursing Book of the Year Award.

New FNU leadership:

Drs. Marfell and Stone

Drs. Marfell and Stone

  •  Dr. Julie Marfell, DNP, APRN, FNP-BC, FAANP has been named as the new Dean of Nursing. As the Dean of Nursing, Dr. Marfell works closely with Frontier President Dr. Susan Stone, who has led the University for twelve years. Dr. Marfell led FNU’s family nursing program by serving as Department Chairperson of Family Nursing for a decade and as Associate Dean for Family Nursing for three years.
  • Dr. Lisa Chappell, PhD, RN, FNP-BC, has been named as the Associate Dean of Family Nursing. Dr. Chappell has been a certified family nurse practitioner for 18 years and a nurse for 38 years. She also has 16 years of teaching experience.
  • Dr. Anne Cockerham, PhD, CNM, WHNP-BC has been named as the Associate Dean of Midwifery and Women’s Health. Dr. Cockerham holds certification as both a nurse-midwife and women’s health care practitioner which uniquely positions her for serving in the role of Associate Dean for the midwifery and women’s health programs.

Frontier’s mission is carried out daily around the world by students, alumni, faculty and staff. Whether providing maternity care for women or primary care for families; attending a birth or assessing an adult or child health issue; serving in a city, rural community, or a remote region of the world… Frontier nurse-midwives and nurse practitioners are Pioneers of Healthcare.

Frontier stories:

  • 2011 graduate April Dobroth provides services to a community of approximately 5,000 of the Santo Domingo Pueblo Tribe as well as other tribes of the greater New Mexico area.
  • Dustin Spencer holds his Master’s and DNP degrees from Frontier and works as a nurse practitioner in emergency services. He provides emergency care to patients of all ages in a small rural hospital in Clare, Mich.
  • Cathi Duggan provides care to Nicaraguan refugees in an impoverished barrio near San Jose, Costa Rica. She works with refugees living at La Carpio, a squattersí community built on a garbage dump. Cathi also serves the underserved women of Costa Rica and families working as missionaries there.

Frontier graduates make healthier paths for the families they serve. FNU, as a whole, is leading the charge to better healthcare in our world. We are Pioneers for Healthcare.

Next: Honoring Mrs. Breckinridge’s Calling ››


For 75 years, Frontier Nursing University, with its heart in the mountains of Eastern Kentucky, has educated nursing and midwifery leaders who have touched the lives of children and families across the nation and around the globe. Our master’s and doctoral programs educate nurse-midwives and nurse practitioners in the primary care of women and families.


‹ Celebrating 75 Years

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‹ Frontier Honoring 75

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‹ Anniversary Events

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‹ Busting Midwifery Myths

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‹ FNU Featured in STORY Magazine

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‹ FNU Celebrating 75 Years

View full release (PDF) June 2014: Lexington, KY. – In 1939, Frontier Nursing University nurse-midwives set out on horseback over rough Eastern Kentucky terrain to care for women, attend births, and forever enrich the lives of rural families. Seventy-five years later, Frontier graduates travel by more modern means, from mobile health clinics to floatplanes in Alaska, […]

‹ Journey Into Wellbeing

In late 2012, Debra K, host and executive producer of The Journey into Wellbeing, learned of Mary Breckinridge…