ETSU’s Dr. Retha Gentry is named to  Tennessee’s 2021 Rising Star Nurse Leaders

Published 12:38 pm Wednesday, February 24, 2021

JOHNSON CITY –  Dr. Retha Gentry, associate professor in East Tennessee State University’s College of Nursing, was recently named a 2021 Tennessee Rising Star Nurse Leader as part of the 40 Under 40 Nurse Leaders program.
Award selection was based on criteria determined by leaders from the Tennessee Action Coalition, Tennessee Nurses Association, and Tennessee Hospital Association. The honorees were chosen based on leadership among peers and others, professional growth and development, contribution to building a culture of health in their community, and commitment as a role model for health.
“It is a privilege to be selected as one of the 40 young nurse leaders in Tennessee. This is an opportunity to network with and be mentored by nursing experts in order to grow as a nurse leader. I am committed to improving the health of individuals in my community and across the state” said Gentry.
Gentry is an alumna of ETSU College of Nursing’s BSN-DNP Family Nurse Practitioner concentration. Now on faculty, she is a leader in research, teaching and service at ETSU and focuses on promoting health in the areas of dermatology education, breastfeeding, and child health promotion.
She is an award-winning nursing innovator and researcher, most notably in the area of dermatology education. Gentry is a team member and partner of InstructiDermTM, which is also comprised of Dr. Lisa Ousley and Dr. Candice Short of ETSU College of Nursing. In 2019, the InstructiDermTM team won first place for their invention, Instructional Dermatology Surface Models (IDSM), at the American Nurses Association’s NursePitch™ contest. Their invention, which was designed to improve dermatology education and clinical experience for students, also received the ETSU College of Nursing’s first-ever patent.
In addition to her research, Gentry has distinguished herself in clinical and classroom settings at ETSU. As a family nurse practitioner (FNP), she is a primary care provider at ETSU’s University Health Center. She also serves as a faculty facilitator for the ETSU Interprofessional Education program, a clinical preceptor for nurse practitioner graduate students, and as a chair of DNP and honors-in-discipline projects.

 Her community service includes outreach efforts with sun safety education at Niswonger Children’s Hospital, the UMOJA festival in Johnson City, the Coalition for Kids Fall Festival, and others.

 She currently serves on the Crossroads Medical Mission’s Board of Directors. She served as vice president of the Northeast Tennessee Nurse Practitioner Association and is a member of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, American Nurses Association and Tennessee Nurses Association.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

 As part of the 2021 cohort of Rising Star Nurse Leaders, Gentry will become a member of the Tennessee 40 Under 40 program’s learning collaborative, where she will engage in monthly learning and leadership opportunities. The aim is to engage and empower young nurses to lead the nursing profession and improve the health of Tennesseans.

 To learn more about ETSU’s College of Nursing, visit