Cheryl A. Fitzgerald Named the 2011 RI Nurse Practitioner of the Year
Warren, RI, – Cheryl A. Fitzgerald, MSN, RNP has been selected as the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) 2011 Rhode Island Nurse Practitioner of the Year. Ms. Fitzgerald is one of only 54 such recipients of the AANP State Award for Excellence named annually, chosen from more than 140,000 Nurse Practitioners- one from each of the 50 states as well as Samoa, Guam, Pacific Islands, and Puerto Rico.
This prestigious peer selected award is given to a nurse practitioner who demonstrates excellence in practice, research, NP education and community affairs; each of which Ms. Fitzgerald has been actively involved in. A formal awards ceremony was held in June, in Las Vegas, Nevada at the AANP Annual National Conference and a state awards ceremony was held in September at the Rhode Island Nurse Practitioner Council’s annual dinner meeting.
Cheryl has been a Nurse Practitioner since 1976 when she received her certification as an Adult Medical Nurse Practitioner from the University of Rhode Island. She graduated from the University of Rhode Island with her bachelors degree in 1967 then went on to earn her masters degree in nursing education in 1975. She began practicing as an NP with the VA Medical Center in Providence, RI as a medical and gerontological nurse practitioner. She has maintained practice in the field of gerontology since her certification as an NP.
Ms. Fitzgerald’s primary practice is located at Elmhurst Extended Care Facility where she currently serves as the Director of Clinical Services. Cheryl is also working with the Bayer Institute for Health Care Communication, Inc., which serves to advance the quality of healthcare by optimizing the experience and process of healthcare communication. She has been instrumental in various positions in the VA Medical Center throughout the many years of her career.
Ms. Fitzgerald served in both the US Army Reserve and Navy Reserve Nursing Corps including positions as Commanding Officer, Executive Officer and Training Officer. Cheryl is an Assistant Professor in the CON at URI and an Adjunct Clinical Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Health. She is member of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, National Gerontological NP Association, American Geriatrics Society, RI Aging 2000 Coalition, Rhode Island State Nurses Association, and the Rhode Island Nurse Practitioner Council. She is a highly regarded author and presenter and is truly an advocate for the importance of quality gerontological care in Rhode Island.
Marie Ghazal Named 2011 RI Nurse Practitioner Advocate of the Year
Providence, RI, – Marie Ghazal has been awarded the distinguished Rhode Island State Award for Nurse Practitioner Advocate 2011 through the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP). This honor recognizes the effects of individuals, other than NPs, who have made a significant contribution toward increasing the awareness and acceptance of the nurse practitioner.
Marie Ghazal is a proven leader in the health care field, highly respected for over 34 years of dedication and service to improving health care and reducing health disparities for Rhode Island’s most vulnerable residents. Throughout her career, Marie has demonstrated her commitment to the mission of providing health care access to all. Through her accomplishments as a registered nurse , health center director, administrator and now Chief Executive Officer of the Rhode Island Free Clinic (RIFC), Marie exemplifies a strong leader contributing to the national dialogue on collaborations, community partnerships and a healthy, robust, cost-effective health care delivery system.
As CEO of the RIFC, Marie leads the clinic’s volunteer provider/community partnership model; a model that dictates health care for more uninsured and working poor will be realized though increasing volunteers and strategic community partnerships and alliances. An investment in RIFC promotes healthy patients, active volunteer service, and health care professionals trained in a dynamic community based clinic. A compilation of Marie's experience includes:
- HealthCare Providers Leadership Council - 2011
- Rhode Island Quality Institute Board Member - 2006 to present
- RI Special Senate Commission Appointee to Study Costs, Containment, Efficiency and Transparency in the Delivery of Quality Patient Care and Access by Hospitals - 2011
- RI Medicaid Medical Care Advisory Committee – 2009 to present
- Leadership Rhode Island - 1995 Class
- American Academy of Nurse Practitioner 2011 Advocate Award for RI - national award for significant contribution to the status of health care delivery and practice of nurse practitioners in RI
- Top Nursing Alumni Award, University of Rhode Island - 2004
- President’s Award, Rhode Island State Nurses - 2003
- Semi-Finalist, Robert Wood Johnson Executive Nurse Fellow - 2002
- Vice President of Patient Care and Chief Nursing Officer for the Providence Community Health Centers (PCHC) for nearly 20 years
- Spear-headed major programs including the operation of the:
○ Health Center for the Homeless at Crossroads of RI
○ Dental Clinic for low- income children and women who are pregnant
○ MET School- Based Health Center
○ Rhode Island Sexually-Transmitted Disease Clinic
○ Family Planning Services and other programs for inner- city residents
- Director of the Central Falls Health Center, securing federal funding for the merger of the Central Falls and Pawtucket Health Centers, 1986-1990.
Marie has been instrumental in the advocacy for RI NPs and the members of the RI NP Council, in conjunction with the AANP, are so grateful for all her efforts and support. Thank you Marie and keep up the great work in our community!