For more than two decades, Dr. Ginette Ferszt, GNu’78 has focused on improving the health care of incarcerated women. A Professor at the University of Rhode Island and a Psychiatric Clinical Nurse Specialist, Dr. Ferszt was affiliated with the Rhode Island State Women’s Correctional Facility for 16 years. She continues to advocate for all states to establish legislation that prohibits the use of shackles and restraints with pregnant incarcerated women in US prisons and jails.

Dr. Ferzt was recently inducted as a 2017 Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing. She has received a number of awards recognizing her research and practice, including the Rhode Island Department of Corrections Volunteer of the Year Award (2007), Recognition Award from John Hazen White Center for Ethics, University of Rhode Island (2008), Community Outreach Award, University of Rhode Island (2007), Research Award, The International Society of Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing (2003) and a Robert Wood Johnson Award for the development of a grief pamphlet for women and men in prisons and jails (2001).

In 2013, Penn Nursing was proud to award Dr. Ferszt the Outstanding Alumni Award for Leadership in Nursing. She continues to credit Penn Nursing with providing her the tools and experiences to follow her successful career path.


“I chose Penn Nursing for a number of reasons – first being that it had an outstanding reputation and was very progressive. My graduate education at the School provided me with a solid theoretical foundation and opportunities to develop the clinical competence needed to begin practicing as an advanced psychiatric mental health nurse,” said Ferzt. “I was exposed to a global vision of nursing which opened many doors for me in my future career.”