Global caregiver

Susan Gennaro, John Welch, and Joy Moore
Science, Tech & Health / Nursing & Healthcare | June 27, 2018

Alumnus John C. Welch, winner of the Connell School of Nursing's 2018 Dean Rita P. Kelleher Award, is flanked by Connell School Dean Susan Gennaro and Boston College Associate Vice President for Alumni Relations Joy Moore. (Caitlin Cunningham)

John C. Welch, senior nurse anesthetist at Boston Children's Hospital and former chief clinical officer for Ebola response at Partners in Health, has received the Dean Rita P. Kelleher Award, presented annually by the Connell School of Nursing.

Welch earned a master of science degree in the Connell School's certified registered nurse anesthetist program in 2012. An Ohio native, he graduated from The Ohio State University with a bachelor’s degree in nursing science and worked as a flight nurse in Australia before enrolling at BC.

Inspired by Dr. Paul Farmer, a founder of Partners in Health and the subject of the best-selling book Mountains Beyond Mountains, Welch would go on to provide health care in some of the world’s most challenging settings after his BC graduation.

Welch spent a year in Haiti with PIH. He was then tapped by PIH to travel to West Africa to be part of a team addressing the Ebola outbreak. He served as chief clinical officer and clinical director for PIH’s Ebola response in Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Named after the school's first faculty member and former dean, the Kelleher Award recognizes a Connell School of Nursing graduate who is an accomplished nurse leader, an ethically aware scientist, and an inquisitive clinician. The award was presented to Welch by Dean Susan Gennaro at an event held during reunion weekend.

At the Kelleher Award event on June 2, Welch spoke about health care equity.

“Our work isn’t to provide charity care," he said, "but to create a new, more just social order. Our role is to turn and face injustice, to say ‘this is not right.’”