UCLA School of Nursing Awards Honors Leaders, Organizations Advancing Health and Transforming The Profession

(LOS ANGELES – May 07, 2013) – Diana M. Bontá, RN, DrPH, president and CEO of The California Wellness Foundation and Children's Hospital of Los Angeles and Kaiser Permanente Southern California are among the recipients to be honored for their leadership in advancing health and their ongoing commitment to enriching the nursing profession at the third annual "Nurse 21" awards hosted by the UCLA School of Nursing. The awards will be presented May 9 at the Montage Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif. 

"These incredible individuals and organizations that we honor are visionary leaders in healthcare and are strong advocates for the role of nursing," said Courtney H. Lyder, dean of the UCLA School of Nursing. "Their impact has been enormous and will continue to be so as nurses play an increasingly important role in making sure that all individuals have access to quality care delivered with compassion and dignity."

Dr. Bontá will receive this year's Visionary Leadership Award. She currently serves as president and CEO of The California Wellness Foundation, a private independent foundation created in 1992 with a mission to improve the health of the people of California by making grants for health promotion, wellness education and disease prevention. The presentation of the award to Dr. Bontá honors her more than four decades of experience and dedication in healthcare, public policy and corporate health philanthropy. She is a former head of California's Department of Health Services where she oversaw one of the nation's largest anti-smoking campaigns as well as the state's Medicaid program.
Other award recipients are:

  • Community Health Leadership Award – Children's Hospital Los Angeles in recognition of its more than 112 years of providing care for patients in 47 nations across six continents. Consistently ranked by U.S. News and World Report in the top 1 percent of all hospitals in the United States, the hospital contributes more than $125 million annually in community benefits to the children and families of Southern California. In 2013 under the leadership of Chief Nursing Officer Mary Dee Hacker, the hospital received Magnet redesignation.
  • Corporate Leadership Award – Kaiser Permanente Southern California for nearly 70 years of working to redefine the healthcare industry. The organization has shown a dedication to improving the health of its members and the communities they serve by creating safe, healthy environments and working to eliminate disparities in health and healthcare. Kaiser has consistently advocated for nursing and for the critical role they play in providing healthcare across the continuum.
  • Global Leadership Award – Fred Hagigi, DrPH, MBA, MEd. Dr. Hagigi is Professor of Healthcare Finance & Management at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine and serves as the Director of Global Health Initiatives in the Department of Family Medicine. Dr. Hagigi consults locally and globally, examining organizational capabilities to respond to disasters and emergencies. He has led the establishment of the Africa Emergency Management System Collaborative, a coalition of academic, private, and public stakeholders seeking to improve the emergency healthcare needs of communities in sub-Sahara Africa.
  • 2013 Distinguished Alumnus Award -The Honorable Tricia Hunter, RN, MN '83. Hunter currently serves as executive director of the American Nurses Association of California and is a partner in the Government Relations Group. She is a former member of the California State Assembly, has served on the California Medical Assistance Commission, and is a past president of the California Board of Registered Nursing. She has been an influential national advocate for nurses and is the recipient of numerous awards including the Nurse Leadership Award from the California Nurses Association.
  • Emerging Leader Award – Benissa Salem, Ph.D., RN: Salem is a member of the Gerontology Society of America Emerging Scholars Global taskforce. For the past year Salem has provided nurse case management for recently released parolees from California prisons and has been instrumental in refining the vaccination protocol and linking the drug treatment program with community health centers so that healthcare can be facilitated for this forgotten population. A strong believer in the power of mentorship, Salem has mentored nursing and non-nursing students at all levels.

The UCLA School of Nursing is redefining nursing through the pursuit of uncompromised excellence in research, education, practice, policy and patient advocacy. For more information, visit http://www.nursing.ucla.edu.