Barbara Thoman Curtis Award - 2012

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2012 Recipient

Mary Jane Mongillo-Williams, PhD, RN
Connecticut Nurses Association

For nearly three decades, Mary Jane Mongillo-Williams has fearlessly advanced the profession of nursing through advocacy, education, and leadership. Williams has influenced a generation of nurses to become more civically aware and politically involved in policymaking.

As president of the Connecticut Nurses Association (CNA), Williams served as spokesperson and established CNA as the voice for nursing in the state. For more than a decade, she led the Government Relations Committee as chairperson and exerted her influence on issues of concern for nurses, with remarkable success. Her ability to articulate complex issues accurately and succinctly and her knowledge of the health care system have gained her the respect of medicine, policymakers, and the public alike.

Notably, she served as chief negotiator for the interests of nursing when the Nurse Practice Act was revised. With her expertise in the clinical and theoretic practice of nursing, she was able to negotiate and find consensus on proposed legislation. She has helped CNA develop and articulate its position on many issues, including access to health care, the role of nurses and allied health personnel in providing care, the environment and public health, the nursing workforce, and patient and nurse safety standards.

Successes include advocating to expand scope of practice for advanced practice registered nurses in Connecticut, helping to implement an assistance program for health care professionals, and obtaining increased funding for nursing and capacity in schools of nursing.

Nationally, Williams launched into a position of national leadership helping nurses from around the country by serving on the Steering Committee that created the national Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments and serving as co-chair of the policy and advocacy committee. In recognition of her contributions to the nursing profession and health care, in 2010, CNA established in her honor the Mary Jane Mongillo-Williams Award for Lifetime Achievement in Nursing.