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Highmark Foundation now accepting nominations for second annual Advancing Excellence in School Nursing awards

March 14, 2016 | Pittsburgh, Pa.

PITTSBURGH (March 14, 2016) — The Highmark Foundation is now accepting nominations for its second annual Advancing Excellence in School Nursing awards, which will be announced on National School Nurse Day, May 11. The Foundation created the award to recognize the vital role that school nurses play in adolescent health and wellness. Up to six nurses will be honored with the award throughout the regions that the Foundation serves throughout West Virginia and Pennsylvania (excluding Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia counties).

"The Highmark Foundation has been a long-time investor in schools and promoting children's health, and we understand the importance of the contributions school nurses make to keep kids healthy," said Highmark Foundation President Yvonne Cook. "We created the Advancing Excellence in School Nursing award because it's important that their efforts are recognized."

Administrators, colleagues, teachers, parents and even students can visit, create an account, and nominate a nurse whom they feel has made a significant impact on the students that he or she serves. All nominations must be submitted by Thursday, March 31, 2016 at 6 p.m. The nominations will be reviewed by a panel of judges that includes: Judy Dillon, community outreach coordinator, Department of Nursing, Penn State Hershey Medical Center; Christina L. Wilds, senior program officer, Highmark Foundation; Cathy McAlister, manager, corporate communications, Highmark Health; and Atiya Abdelmalik, director, community programs, Highmark Health.

Winners will receive $1,500 to be used for professional development or programs at their respective schools as well a custom-made award by Roland Metal Art in Johnstown, Pa.

In 2015, three Advancing Excellence in School Nursing award winners were selected:

  • Kathleen Macurak, South Fayette Township School District (McDonald, Pa.)
  • Carol Madden, Big Spring School District (Newville, Pa.)
  • Janet Allio, Kanawha County School District (Charleston, W.Va.)

The Advancing Excellence in School Nursing awards is a component of the Highmark Foundation's Creating a Healthy School Environment Grant and Award Program. The program also includes Building Sustainable and Lasting Changes in Schools grant funding of $5,000-10,000 per school district to support evidence-based programs that address one of four priority areas, bullying prevention, child injury prevention, healthy eating and physical activity or environmental health, and Meeting Healthy Needs through Supportive Services grant funding provided in $1,000 increments to support economically disadvantaged school districts and high-needs school with financial assistance to meet basic health requests.

Creating a Healthy School Environment Grant and Awards Program applications are available at: Create an account and follow the instructions to submit an application.

About the Highmark Foundation

The Highmark Foundation is a private, charitable organization of Highmark Inc. that supports initiatives and programs aimed at improving community health. The Foundation's mission is to improve the health, well-being and quality of life for individuals who reside in the communities served by Highmark Inc. The Foundation strives to support evidence-based programs that impact multiple counties and work collaboratively to leverage additional funding to achieve replicable models. For more information, visit


David Misner
Highmark Health