Published on June 25, 2021

Silver Cross Healthy Community Commission Boosts Longtime Dream of Becoming a Nurse

Alisha TuningAlisha Tuning

By the time she approached graduation from Joliet West High School in 2012, Alisha Tuning, daughter of 13-year Silver Cross Environmental Services Tech Cynthia Tuning, had overcome obstacles on her journey to becoming a nurse, landing a dream job and pursuing her passion.

Deeply spiritual, Tuning said she knew God was guiding her on that path since she was a kindergartener. “All I had to do was listen to Him.”

The next challenge then was finding the right college, and even more difficult, finding a way to pay for it. She was accepted at Tennessee State University in Nashville, Tennessee, and got to work finding scholarships.

“She did that all on her own,” her proud mom reports. “She was always a go-getter.”

Among the scholarships that allowed Alisha to move on to college, and to Nashville, was a $1,000 Lebanon Baptist District Scholarship recipient, funded in part through a grant from the Silver Cross Healthy Community Commission (HCC).

Founded in 2008, the Silver Cross Healthy Community Commission is a community-based organization committed to creating a stronger, healthier future by providing support for education, workforce development training, and enrichment activities for youth, to improve the quality of life for the communities they serve.

Cynthia TuningCynthia Tuning

In addition to helping fund an Aunt Martha’s community health care center, and veteran’s housing and medical care on the former Silver Cross campus in Joliet, the HCC also has awarded $2.5 million in scholarships and grants to help organizations in low-income areas, including the Lebanon Baptist District, award scholarships as well.

Alisha said that scholarship and others helped give her the boost to move on to graduate school at Samford University, Moffett & Sanders School of Nursing, where she recently completed her Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program with concentrations in emergency medicine and family practice. She graduated at the top of her class with a 4.0 GPA for her entire three years.

For one of her graduation pictures, Alisha posed with a crayon drawing she made in kindergarten of her wanting to be a nurse when she grew up.

“My Dad Robert found that,” Alisha said. “I’m not sure how the idea came to me. But my parents are very caring people. My Mom for a while cared for an elderly couple in their home. She used to bring me along. I thought they were my grandparents!”

Cynthia remembers Alisha always seeming to be interested in health care, even watching television shows like “M*A*S*H.”

“We always told her education was important. Stay on track. And always be nice to people. I am so proud of our daughter.”

Alisha also credits her faith as a member of St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church and the spiritual guidance and leadership there of the Rev. Edward Martin and Pastor Bennie Yarbough, who’s also an HCC Board Member.   

She said she needed all of that faith moving to Nashville on her own when she was 18. But she found new friends who became like family as she studied toward her bachelor’s degree in nursing.

After working as an RN at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Alisha recently acquired a fellowship in Emergency Medicine as a Nurse Practitioner at Atrium Health Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Alisha isn’t sure of the next step after her one-year fellowship is over, but she knows she’s on a God-driven journey.

“There are a lot of opportunities out there. I just have to see where my path takes me.”

For more information about the Silver Cross Healthy Community Commission, visit silvercross.org

Physicians on Silver Cross Hospital’s Medical Staff have expertise in their areas of practice to meet the needs of patients seeking their care. These physicians are independent practitioners on the Medical Staff and are not the agents or employees of Silver Cross Hospital. They treat patients based upon their independent medical judgment and they bill patients separately for their services.