News & Events

Recognizing achievement: 2010 Legislative Awards & MNA Awards

From the Massachusetts Nurse Newsletter
November/December 2010 Edition

Special Recognition for Legislative Advocacy Award

Worcester School Committee member John F. Monfredo served as principal of Belmont Community School in Worcester for 20 years. Since his retirement, he has served for three terms as a mem­ber of the Worcester School Committee. Highly decorated through­out his career, Monfredo has been the well-deserving recipient of many awards such as the Youth Leadership Award from the Worcester Area Chamber of Commerce, the Thomas Green Award which is given to exemplary City of Worcester employees, and was selected to the Worcester Public Schools Hall of Fame. He received nationwide recognition for his “Books and Beyond” program for promoting literacy in his school. He and his wife Anne-Marie cre­ated “Worcester: the City That Reads” and together they collected over 60,000 books in the last three years and have given the books out to schools and social agencies for summer reading.

One of Monfredo’s primary objectives has been promoting children’s wellness because he fully understands the connection be­tween wellness and educational outcomes. In doing so, he has been a staunch ally of our Worcester Public School nurses. Monfredo maintains consistent contact with Worcester school nurses so that he remains informed about the issues that are important to them and often contacts them when he finds that issues in the school department require the nurses’ attention. He has welcomed the nurses at school committee meetings thereby making the environ­ment more comfortable and empowering for them. On several occasions, in his quest for student wellness and in his advocacy for school nursing, he has led the charge in fighting for a nurse in every school. This has meant that he has worked to educate other school committee members about the issues as well. His work resulted in the hiring of five additional school nurses in 2009. Monfredo maintains a column in the Worcester publication known as In City Times. He very often devotes his columns to school health and school nursing issues.

Special Recognition for Legislative Advocacy Award

Brian A. O’Connell was raised and educated in Worcester. He graduated from Worcester Academy and the College of the Holy Cross, and then from Harvard Law School. He has served as a member of the Worcester School Committee since 1984. He is the past president and currently a lifetime member of the Massachusetts Association of School Committees, and member of its Committees on Reso­lutions, on Legislation and on Advocacy. He is a member of the board of trustees of Anna Maria College, secretary of the Board of Trustees of Worcester Academy and president-elect of the 32,000 member Holy Cross College Alumni Association. He is currently the director of finance and administration and chief of staff for the Westerly, R.I., public schools and is managing partner of Sorrento Associates of Kennebunk, Maine.

O’Connell is a strong advocate for the nurses of the Worcester Public School system. He has attended the Worcester School Nurses Meet and Greet with School Committee members and used the in­formation he learned there to pursue improved nurse staffing in the Worcester schools. In 2009, this resulted in the hiring of five ad­ditional school nurses. He maintains ongoing communication and relationships with school nurses so that he can continue to advocate for the school nurses and the children of Worcester.

Freshman Legislator Special Recognition for Legislative Advocacy

Rep. James J. Dwyer is serving his first term as state representative for the 30th Middlesex District representing parts of Woburn, Reading and Stoneham. Dwyer and his wife, Mary Ellen, are lifelong Woburn residents, married for 33 years and are the proud parents of two daughters and two grandchildren. Dwyer is an extraordi­nary family man and public servant.

Dwyer has dedicated his professional life to helping others. Dwyer worked for over three decades as a juvenile probation officer in Middlesex County, most recently serving as assistant chief. Dwyer has served with distinction on the Woburn City Council for the last four years advocating for quality education, and affordable housing. Since he was elected to the legislature in 2008, Dwyer has been an MNA champion. As a member of the Judiciary Committee, he aggressively fought for the favorable and expedited release of our assault bill legislation. He wrote letters, spoke to his colleagues and went to the chairman of the committee-all before we even asked! This bill was, of course, ultimately signed into law in July of this year. In addition, Jim took a proactive stance on other MNA legislation. He actively lobbied his colleagues who sat on the Public Health Committee regarding our safe staffing bill and always asks if he can do more. Jim has gone above and beyond for the MNA and we are so happy to be honoring him today.

We are looking forward to having a long lasting friendship with Jim Dwyer. We are truly grateful for all his support and honored to present him with the Freshman Legislator of the Year award.

Freshman Legislator Special Recognition for Legislative Advocacy

State Rep. Michael D. Brady is a life-long Brockton resident who has served on the Brockton School Committee, Brockton City Council, Neighbor­hood Crime Watch, and other city business and service committees.

Brady has a long history of supporting and standing up for nurses and health care professionals. In 2001 Brady walked the picket line with the Brockton nurses numerous times during their 103 day strike. As a city councilor he worked to put pressure on hospital management for a fair settlement. Brady’s appreciation of nurses and health care workers developed some time ago after a serious injury he had as a young adult. It was the frontline, hands-on care givers that helped him recover physically, as well as emotionally. When you hear him talk about this experience you can still sense the emotion he has and there’s no doubt he understands the important work our members do taking care of patients.

The MNA endorsed Brady in his run for the House of Representatives in 2008. Brady and the MNA remem­ber that election very well—with the help of MNA members who worked on his campaign, he won his primary election by just 14 votes! As a state representative representing the 9th Plymouth district, Brady serves on the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies, Joint Committee on Public Health and the Joint Committee on Public Service. On numerous occa­sions in public hearings Brady has spoken out in favor of the need for safe RN staffing. He has often called the MNA to find out our position on issues that relate to health care to help him make deci­sions on legislation that would impact those workers who work on the frontlines. He was a particularly strong advocate for the safe staffing bill this session. We are excited to work with him and so pleased to present him with the Freshman Legislator of the Year Award.

Elaine Cooney Labor Relations Award

Elaine Cooney was a nurse who passionately believed in both the central importance of nurses in the health care industry and the role of collective bargaining in protecting the interests of nurses and pa­tients. When Elaine was hired into a staff position at the MNA, she became one of the first RNs in Massachusetts to negotiate contracts on behalf of RNs. The Massachusetts Nurses Association proudly remembers Elaine Cooney and her dedication to our members and profession by recognizing members who make significant contribu­tions to the professional, economic and general welfare of nursing. This award recognizes a Labor Relations Program member who has made a significant contribution to the professional, economic and gen­eral welfare of nursing.

Gloria Bardsley, OTR/L, is an active member of the MNA Labor Program at both the local and state level. As a 20-year state employ­ee for the Department of Developmental Service (DDS), Bardsley has used her leadership skills to motivate members to participate in a variety of advocacy activities to prevent the wholesale closings of DDS facilities, and to preserve her clients’ rights to have a voice in where they call home. Bardsley is articulate and uses her profession­alism and ability to inspire others in support of labor and patient care issues. Her efforts include testifying at the statehouse, lobbying representatives and participating in patient care events on behalf of her members and clients. Bardsley is a member of MNA Unit 7, the State Chapter of Healthcare Professionals, and she represents licensed healthcare professionals working for the commonwealth. Bardsley also serves as the chairperson of her local bargaining unit, and is a member of the Unit 7 Executive Board and is on the MNA Board of Directors. Bardsley recognizes the need for nurses to have a strong voice in Washington.

Vicki Emerson, RN, OCN, has been a member of the Leonard Morse-Metro West Medical Center bargaining unit for more than a decade. Vicki has quickly become one of Leonard Morse’s most active leaders, serving members both as co-chair of that unit and as the designee to Regional Council 2. Vicki is a conduit for informa­tion between her facility and the region. Vicki is a delegate to, and a vice president of, the Central Mass AFL/CIO Labor Council, and represents the MNA exceptionally well in the broader Central Mass labor community.

Emerson volunteers in a number of com­munity efforts including the Worcester Firefighters blood pressure clinics, food and toy drives, and holiday food basket assembly for those in need. Emerson brings the MNA to nurses in the workplace by coordinating events including MNA Day at Leonard Morse, and by participating in walk-throughs to keep the bargaining unit members informed of statewide efforts. She works tirelessly on the political campaigns of MNA-endorsed candidates and on MNA legisla­tive initiatives. Emerson is a deserving recipient of the MNA Elaine Cooney Labor Relations Award

Tami Jean Hale, RN, BSN, has impacted the labor movement in Central Massachusetts as a relatively new member of the Worcester Public Schools Department of Nursing. Hale has embraced lead­ership in various capacities. She serves as secretary of her MNA bargaining unit and as an MNA delegate to and a vice president of the Central Mass AFL/CIO Labor Council. Hale also brings a school nurse’s voice to the Mass Nurses Political Action Committee (PAC) as an elected member. Hale participates in the campaigns for MNA-endorsed candidates for elected office, and works hard to foster relationships with legislative leaders and members of other unions. She participates in many Regional Council 2 community service activities including health clinics, food and toy drives, and assembling holiday baskets for the needy. Tami readily lends her time and talent to promote the ideals and vision of the MNA and nursing. She embraces a belief in unionism and tenaciously stands her ground to promote social justice in nursing, labor and the com­munity.

Stacey McEachern, RN, CEN, is a respected leader and role model. As an emergency department nurse at Quincy Medical Center, McEachern has served as a committee member for a number of years. She is a strong advocate for professional practice, safety, and staffing issues. Furthermore, McEachern is assertive and confident when addressing nursing leadership, physicians, and supervisory staff. She is an active participant in labor/management and contract negotiations. Her energy and enthusiasm are inspiring, while her kindness and sense of humor cherished. McEachern consistently advo­cates for quality nursing practice and supports nurses throughout her facility by educating her peers. Through enforcing the contract, and advocating both for nurses’ rights and the rights of patients through her collaborative approach, Stacey advances both the image and the practice of nursing.

Ellen T. Smith, RN, has been a passionate labor leader as an advo­cate for both patients and nurses for many years. She is a dedicated labor champion on a local, statewide and national level. Smith serves as the vice chair of Regional Council 2, and represents Region 2 on the MNA Board of Directors. More locally, Smith helped maintain the integrity of the collective bargaining agreement as the grievance chair, and as a member of the negotiating commit­tee at UMass Medical Center – University Campus. Through her leadership and dedication to the MNA members, Smith impacted many difficult contract negotiations. As a strong proponent for the National Nurses United (NNU), Smith was instrumental in obtain­ing support for a national voice for nurses, and now represents the MNA nurses at that national level. Smith supports the labor com­munity as a vice president of the AFL/CIO Central Labor Council, and forges strong relationships with other unions.

James L. Tucker, RN, BSN, represents the registered nurses and health care professionals at Morton Hospital. The impetus for Tucker ‘s activism was the dangerous practice of mandatory overtime at that facility. Tucker completed tracks of MNA’s Labor School and imple­mented what he learned to effectively communicate the impact of mandatory overtime on nursing practice and patient care to other bargaining unit members. Through his efforts and persistence, the issue became a high priority at negotiations. Tucker became an effective leader in the effort to obtain strong contract language limiting man­datory overtime. Jim is known for his exceptional work and positive attitude. Tucker is able to effect lasting change, advocate for nurses’ and patients’ rights, and demand respect for the members of Mor­ton’s healthcare team through his role as a well regarded emergency department nurse and an elected member of the negotiating com­mittee.

Joyce Wilkins has served the members of Morton Hospital’s bar­gaining unit in a number of capacities. Her roles range from her in­volvement as a past grievance representative to her current position as unit chair.Her strength as a mentor and advocate is inspiring. Recent negotiations proved to be a true test of Wilkins’ leadership, and her strength and character taught the unit to “Stand Strong”. Because of her leadership, the Morton Hospital nurses negoti­ated a fair and decent contract that addressed mandatory overtime and saved a defined pension benefit. Throughout the process, Wilkins remained focused and conducted herself professionally, guiding her colleagues as they maneuvered the complications of a conten­tious battle. Wilkins provided the public with an accurate picture of the unit’s struggle and rallied public support, and in so doing, she provided a public voice for the nurses in local media outlets.

Kathryn McGinn Cutler Advocate for Health & Safety Award

Kathryn McGinn Cutler, RN was one of the main MNA union activists who united hundreds of nurses at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in the early 1990’s to speak about their respiratory and neurological illnesses associated with exposures to hazardous envi­ronmental agents at work. Although sick herself, she worked with others to coordinate meetings of other affected nurses, develop health surveys of their co-workers, and reach out to MassCOSH – among others – to identify a host of problems in the hospital that were causing their illnesses. Over time, more than 150 nurses left work due to occupationally related illnesses and most never returned to working in an acute care environment. This work is credited as the foundation of the MNA Division of Health and Safety. Kathryn McGinn Cutler is recognized in this award for her activism, courage and organizational skills. This award recognizes an individual or group that has performed an outstanding service for the betterment of health and safety for the pro­tection of nurses and other health care workers.

Dr. Thomas Fuller has tirelessly identified and addressed issues facing nurses and the healthcare work environment. He brought critical data to the members of the healthcare and occupational health community. This information will be used to assess and pre­vent nurses’ future adverse occupational health and safety effects. Fuller developed a “best practice” guide to minimize the spread of infectious disease agents; his many publications include a chapter in the 2010 edition of Modern Hospital Safety on Chemotherapeutics Drugs and an article on the hazards of shift work in nursing. He is currently researching the prevalence and impact of extended work hours and overtime in nursing. Fuller’s past efforts consist of the assessment of exposures and protection of nurses from hazard­ous ultraviolet germicidal radiation in healthcare. He has advocated for improved protection from x-rays in surgery and cardiology for nurses. He has prepared articles and training seminars on the pro­tection of nurses from infectious disease agents, and he has studied and reported on the effects of prolonged standing on the lower extremities.

Fuller has presented his work locally, nationally and internationally and is a recognized expert in his field of industrial hygiene. Having recently been named a contributing editor for the American Journal of Nursing, Fuller will continue to inform nurses about risks in the workplace and effective strategies to ad­dress these risks. Dr. Fuller has represented MNA members at a number of hospitals throughout the Commonwealth. His work will have lasting effects on nurses and healthcare workers across Massa­chusetts.

Judith M. Smith-Goguen, RN, BSN, cofounded the violence prevention committee at UMass Medical Center – University cam­pus where she supports and mentors nurses who have been injured by violence. Smith-Goguen fought vigorously for contract changes that dem­onstrate a zero tolerance policy for workplace violence, and provides support for nurses affected by workplace violence. Smith-Goguen’s campaign to aid nurses at UMass produced the health and safety forms used at that facility, and full compensation for those injured by violence on the job. She was instrumental in assuring that management developed education recognizing the effects of post traumatic stress disorder following an assault, and in assisting nurses to return to a safe workplace. Smith-Goguen has consistently demonstrated a commitment to nurses and establishing a work environment free of physical and verbal abuse. Her leadership has positively impacted nurses for more than a decade.

MNA Human Needs Service Award

This award recognizes an individual who has performed outstanding services based on human need, with respect for human dignity, unre­stricted by consideration of nationality, race, creed, color or status.

Deborah A. Perry, RN, CEN, S.A.N.E., renders aid to people in crisis both locally and globally. Perry delivers compassionate care in a challenging and chaotic environment as an emergency center nurse at Lawrence General Hospital. To meet the demands of her first position, Perry continues to increase and expand her knowledge base with dedicated self-education. Perry meticulously delivers expert and compassionate care to adult and adolescent victims of sexual assault as a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (S.A.N.E.) certified by the Mas­sachusetts Department of Public Health. She recently completed certification as a child passenger safety technician. One of her greatest passions is delivering aid to people in crisis across the na­tion and the globe. Recognized for an extraordinary amount of vol­unteered hours in the Disaster Medical Assistance Team warehouse, Perry has been involved in federal disaster for almost a decade. She has completed advanced training in emergency medi­cal response hazardous materials and acts of terrorism. Perry has responded to disasters and rendered care to victims of major hurri­canes and earthquakes. Most recently, she was deployed to Port-au-Prince, Haiti, where she cared for a number of victims. Individually, Perry completed a Boston to New York bike trip to benefit people with HIV/AIDS and a transcontinental bicycle trip for Multiple Sclerosis. She has participated in the Boston Marathon both as volunteer medical staff and as a participant. Perry truly deserves rec­ognition for her numerous humanitarian efforts.

Brooke A. Braaten has served marginalized populations through­out her career as an occupational therapist. Braaten currently coor­dinates and implements occupational therapy services in 22 group homes for the Northeast Region of the Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services. She researched the Perceptions of Home­less and Marginalized Community Residents Toward a Weekly Craft Group while earning her master of arts degree. Since 2002, Braaten has worked with patients ranging from school-aged children to geriatric, and a population with mood and personality disorders. Along with several colleagues, Braaten has been involved in the Father Christ­mas Project which has a mission to provide opportunities to the people of Uganda. The volunteers visited five orphanages where they painted, cleaned, taught and interacted with the children.

Dianne Hinckley, employed by the Department of Developmen­tal Services since 2003, coordinates health services for individuals living in Northeast Residential services afflicted with develop­mental disabilities. Hinckley coordinates the Father Christmas Proj­ect, which provides hope and care to orphaned children in Uganda. As the volunteer group coordinator, Hinckley spearheads months of planning, fundraising and collecting donated items to be delivered to Uganda at the expense of the volunteers. The group visited five orphanages where they painted, cleaned, taught and interacted with the children.

Vanessa S. Jerry, RN, has worked as an employee of the Depart­ment of Developmental Services since 2008 with developmentally disabled people, and those with behavioral problems who live in residential group homes. Jerry recognized the pain and suffer­ing worldwide and volunteered for the Father Christmas Project to provide much needed supplies for children in five orphanages in Uganda. The volunteers visited the orphanages where they painted, cleaned, taught and interacted with the children.

Male A. Kamya ventured beyond his role as an accountant for the Department of Developmental Services and participated in the Father Christmas Project, provid­ing hope and goods to orphaned children of Uganda. After months of planning, fundraising and collecting donated items, the Father Christmas Project volunteers travelled to Uganda to bring cloth­ing medical and school supplies and financial aid to purchase beds, mattresses, food, supplies, and school tuitions to the people of Uganda. The volunteers visited five orphanages where they painted, cleaned, taught and interacted with the children.

Kathryn Q. LaPlante brought hope, gifts, and knowledge to orphans in Uganda through her work with the Father Christmas Project. Working with fellow commonwealth staff members, LaPlante gave of herself beyond her role as the Hogan Regional Center. After months of planning, fundraising and collecting donated items, the Father Christmas Project volunteers travelled to Uganda to bring clothing, medical and school supplies and financial aid to purchase beds, mattresses, food, supplies, and school tuitions to the people of Uganda. The volunteers visited five orphanages where they painted, cleaned, taught and interacted with the children.

Katherine Morse volunteered with Unit 7 members and gave her time and skills to benefit orphans across the globe while working as an intern at the Hogan Regional Center and studying at the Uni­versity of Connecticut. Morse was a volunteer with the Father Christmas Project where she visited five orphanages, she painted, cleaned, taught, and interacted with the children. Morse has previously volunteered for Habitat for Humanity, where she par­ticipated in house builds, fundraisers, and Hire a Habitat programs.

Linda Morse has been employed at Northeast Residential Services since 2007. Described as humble and creative, Morse has worked tirelessly behind the scenes fundraising and spearheading the efforts to achieve nonprofit status for the Father Christmas Project. Proj­ect volunteers visited five orphanages where they painted, cleaned, taught and interacted with the children. Together with her daughter Kathryn, Morse will travel to Uganda with the Father Christmas project next month.

Keith J. Rando brings many years of experience working with marginalized populations to his role at the Department of Developmental Disabilities. As a psy­chological assistant, Rando is responsible for providing psychologi­cal services to 70 developmentally disabled individuals – many of whom have dual diagnoses. Rando has joined many of his colleagues in reaching internationally to aid the needy, and volunteered with the Father Christmas Project. After months of planning, fundrais­ing and collecting donated items, the Father Christmas Project volunteers travelled to Uganda and visited five orphanages where they painted, cleaned, taught and interacted with the children.

Stephen Segwanyi is a residential services director for the Department of Developmental Servic­es responsible for 10 state-operated residential programs providing support to individuals with disabilities. He has joined his colleagues in an effort to impact the lives of orphans living in Uganda who are in need of financial and material donations. As a part of the Father Christmas Project, Segwanyi contributed to the project mission to provide opportunities, open doors, give hope, educate, and share gifts for the benefit of needy children across the globe. After months of planning, fundraising and collecting donated items, the Father Christmas Project volunteers travelled to Uganda and visited five orphanages where they painted, cleaned, taught and interacted with the children.

MNA Image of the Professional Nurse Award

This award recognizes a member who has demonstrated outstanding leadership in enhancing the image of the professional nurse in the com­munity.

Bharathi Janaswamy, RN, BS, is a dedicated professional who is valued by her colleagues and patients. Janaswamy works as a medical-surgical nurse and case manager at Cooley Dickinson Hospital where she was identified for excellence in her practice. She has developed an expertise in wound care, and shares her knowledge and expertise with colleagues, nursing students, nurse practitioners, and physicians. Janaswamy consistently functions as a role model and as a source for innovation and progressive ideas. She continues to design, write and implement a series of protocols for approaches to wounds. Janaswamy exhibits genuine concern for her patients and a thirst for knowledge, consistently striving to enhance her nursing practice and patient care.

Doris Gagne Addictions Nursing Award

Established in 2008, this award recognizes a nurse or other health­care provider who demonstrates outstanding leadership in the field of addictions. While working in a long term care facility, Doris Gagne realized that she had a problem with alcohol. After attending her first Alcoholics’ Anonymous (AA) meeting she remained clean and sober for the rest of her life. As she continued with her recovery from alcoholism, she “worked the program” and through AA, began to help others around her. Gagne soon realized that her nursing skills and ability to help others in recovery combined to define into her life’s calling. Gagne served the nursing profession as a member of the Board of Registration in Nursing Substance Abuse Rehabilitation Evaluation Panel. Through the remainder of her life Gagne contin­ued to help and counsel people through their addictions both in and out of profession. Gagne realized her weaknesses and made them her strengths; with this power she was able to help those around her.

Susan C. Giambanco, RN, advocates for her patients’ rights at the Caritas Norcap Lodge on a daily basis. Having worked with Doris Gagne for more than 20 years, Giambanco epitomizes the essence of this award. As a strong advocate, she demonstrates leadership in the recognition and support of nurses with addictions problems. She shares her knowledge of the Substance Abuse Rehabilitation Pro­gram (SARP) with nurses, works with and provides education and support to patients and families. Sue is keenly aware that the disease of addiction affects the person – body, mind, and soul – and views the patient as a complete person. Sue is highly esteemed by her coworkers and seen as a resource for staff. She brings a unique per­spective when discussing patient care and shares her belief that all patients receive the same quality care. Misconceptions about addic­tion are ubiquitous in today’s society; Giambanco seeks to broadly educate about addiction and the barriers to treatment, both personal and cultural. Sue is a true professional and role model.

Kathlyn Logan has worked as a nurse for more than 30 years. As an MNA bargaining unit representative for over 10 years, Kathie exhibits a strong commitment to the field of addictions. She has caringly represented nurses at their most vulnerable moments while addressing their substance use disorders and their impacts on their nursing practices. Her professional dedication and commitment to her fellow nurses has gained Logan the respect of her nurse col­leagues and the MNA peer assistants. Logan has compassionately advocated for her nurse colleagues on numerous occasions. She is a recognized leader in her efforts to support fellow nurses toward beginning their road to recovery. She has negotiated with hospital administration to delay a nurse’s termination so that the nurse can seek the necessary treatment prior to losing his or her pension and medical coverage. She has, on more than one occasion, gone well beyond the call of duty to support her fellow nurse colleague by individually gathering donated “sick-time hours” from nurses to assist a nurse in need of recovery to maintain medical insurance while in treatment. Recently, Logan initiated a request for the SARP coordinator to provide an educational program for managers which teaches support for nurses in recovery. Her courage, compas­sion and activism for members in recovery make Logan a strong resource to the nurses in her bargaining unit at UMass Worcester and throughout the MNA.

Francyne Puopolo, CARN, is been committed to meeting the healthcare needs of one our most vulnerable and stigmatized populations- those with addictive disorders. Puopolo is a dedicated, organized, creative and excellent collaborator who works with other disciplines to plan and manage the care of patients. She is an excel­lent clinician who makes a human connection with a wide variety of patients. Her direct but empathetic style provides the founda­tion for strong treatment alliances. She is a resource to other staff members, and has earned the trust and respect of her patients and colleagues. Puopolo takes an active role in Cambridge Health Alli­ance’s academic mission, having taught countless trainees, includ­ing nursing students, psychiatry residents, and social work interns. Additionally, she has collaborated to coordinate a research study on the issue of suboxone diversion. Puopolo was a faculty presenter at Harvard Medical School’s annual Training the Addictions Confer­ence last year. Puopolo is active in community organizations including Somerville Care about Prevention and Everett’s Substance Abuse Coalition. She is a role model, mentor, and trailblazer in the field of addictions.

MNA Advocate for Nursing Award

This award recognizes the contributions of an individual, who is not a nurse, to nurses and the nursing profession.

Bristol County District Attorney C. Samuel Sutter has given nurses new hope. When District Attorney Sutter became aware of a long-standing court case that spanned several exhausting and frustrating years, he listened with great concern. The court case involved the appropriate placement of an assaultive patient within the Department of Mental Health (DMH). He displayed empathy for the assaulted nurse who was further assaulted by the continued legal maneuverings of the defendant’s attorney. Sutter’s team was able to negotiate a successful resolution and the patient was appropriately placed in a setting outside the DMH. Additionally, Sutter has agreed to meet with Taunton State Hospital’s ad­ministration to formulate a plan of cooperation between hospital staff, DMH and the district attorney’s office which will reduce the timeline for resolution of high profile assault cases. Sutter is ap­plauded for his willingness to intervene and we look forward to his continued advocacy on behalf of nurses. His work will ultimately lead to a major reduction in patient and staff assaults.

MNA Excellence in Nursing Practice Award

This award recognizes a member who demonstrates an outstanding performance in nursing practice. This award publically acknowledges the essential contributions that nurses across all practice settings make to the health care of our society.

Jose Felix Lopez-Carrasco, RN, has been an integral part of the Lawrence General Hospital’s emergency center staff for nearly two decades. He exhibits the highest performance level and nursing practice standards as he cares for patients in the third busiest emer­gency department in the state, while consistently maintaining an atmosphere of calm and control in a pressured and chaotic environ­ment. He searches for more progressive patient treatment ideas. Lopez-Carrasco encourages patients and families to engage in their own healthcare and to make informed decisions regarding their healthcare options. Concerned about the future of healthcare, Lopez-Carrasco contributes to the future of nursing as a critical care preceptor, providing guidance and instruction to students and his colleagues new to the emer­gency center. His commitment to nursing is evidenced by his belief in teaching students. Jose is truly a team player who is held in the highest esteem by all of his colleagues and well respected by his peers.

Karen M. Tremblay, RN, BSN, NCSN, epitomizes what it means to be a nurse in her role as a school health nurse in the Taunton Public Schools since 2000. Tremblay is committed to improving the health of the school population at the East Taunton Elementary School by establishing a “Fun and Fit Program” geared to teach­ing children healthy lifestyle choices. Students are encouraged to participate in a before-school exercise program coordinated by Karen. She influences the work of the school’s wellness committee and nutrition subcommittee through her expertise in school health and wellness. As a preceptor for new staff members and local nurs­ing students, Tremblay impacts the future of nursing by imparting her knowledge and experience to those eager to learn her craft. Tremblay has served as secretary, chair and co chair for the Taunton School Nurses’ bargaining unit, frequently called upon to articulate the needs of the school children to the superintendent and school com­mittee. Tremblay demonstrates poise in her interactions with parents, students, colleagues, and school administration.

Abigail Wertz, RN, has extensive experience in the realm of patient advocacy in support of human rights, battered women, and special education pre-school groups. As an emergency center nurse at Lawrence General Hospital, Wertz is highly regarded by her colleagues as the consummate professional. She has taken the lead to orient new nurses on her shift and serves as a preceptor for newly graduated RNs. Wertz seeks new and more effective methods to improve and enhance emergency nursing at Lawrence General. Her exceptional bilingual skills are invaluable and facilitate com­munication with the large Hispanic patient base in her facility. Her selfless attitude provides a positive example for all members of the emergency center staff as Wertz shows willingness to assist patients and staff alike.

Judith Shindul Rothschild Leadership Award

A past president of the MNA, Judith Shindul Rothschild was instrumental in the creation of today’s MNA. Rothschild is an advocate for nurses and the labor move­ment. She is recognized nationally as a voice for nurses working at the bedside. Her research interests include staffing and quality of care, and licensure and discipline of registered nurses. This award recognizes an MNA member who speaks with a strong voice for the nursing community at the State and/or National level.

Barbara Tiller, RN, BSN, is not stifled by the boundaries of her institution, but moves beyond her work environment at Tufts Medi­cal Center to the local, state, and national arenas to bring awareness of the healthcare issues to the public, and effect change. She is fight­ing an exhausting battle for safe staffing, has campaigned on Beacon Hill for legislation related to preventing violence against healthcare professionals in the workplace, and was integral to the process lead­ing to the successful formation of National Nurses United (NNU). As chair of her unit, Tiller rallied hundreds from the nursing community to participate in an informational picket held at Tufts and Boston Medical Center, educating the public about the unsafe practices implemented at these institutions under new patient care delivery models. She consistently lobbies for the members of her unit, and brings concerns to management, demanding change. Tiller creates ways to connect with nurses and support them; she maintains open communication with members in ways like the “Friday morning coffee and donuts” she established. Tiller’s leadership has empowered the membership at Tufts by creating a respected union, and fighting collaboratively for a higher standard in patient care. Tiller frequently visits the State House, and has educated local and state politicians on current issues in healthcare. She sat on the State House floor as a special guest to state Rep. Richard Ross as the assembly voted to pass legislation protect­ing healthcare workers against violence in the workplace, providing a safer environment for all nurses in Massachusetts. In this time when healthcare changes quickly, and the ability of nurse to provide good safe care to patients within economically constrained envi­ronment is challenged, Tiller continues to be a spokesperson for the nursing profession as an articulate, determined and unwaver­ing advocate for safe staffing legislation and good patient care.