Ms. AnnMarie Walton, Gillings School of Global Public Health alumna and now doctoral candidate in nursing at University of Utah, has been selected as one of 10 nurses nationwide to receive the new Breakthrough Leaders in Nursing award, presented by the Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action, a joint initiative of AARP and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
The award celebrates nurse leadership and the importance of efforts by nurses to improve health and health care.
Ms. Walton, a clinical oncology nurse at the North Carolina Cancer Hospital, noticed that young Hispanic men, primarily farm workers, were being diagnosed with leukemia and dying in their 20s. She launched a study to understand how agricultural workers could better protect themselves in the field and what was preventing them from doing so.
She also advocated enhanced protections for health care workers handling hazardous drugs, such as chemotherapies. Her work led to policy changes in North Carolina, where the state now mandates compliance with NIOSH recommendations for the safe handling of hazardous drugs.