Distinguished Nursing Practice Award Recipients
2020-Constance Dahlin, MSN, ANP-BC, ACHPN, FPCN, FAAN
Educated and trained as a palliative advanced practice registered nurse, Constance has spent her whole career in hospice and palliative nursing. Constance is a palliative nurse practitioner at the North Shore Medical Center in Massachusetts. She co-directs the Palliative Care Advanced Practice Provider Externship, serves as national ELNEC faculty, and is a consultant to both HPNA, as well as the Center to Advance Palliative Care.
Constance has produced several versions of the Palliative Nursing Scope and Standards and served as the 2004 HPNA board president. She was editor of the 2nd and 3rd editions of the National Consensus Project for Quality Palliative Care Clinical Practice Guidelines. Constance served as a palliative care content expert on the Measurement Applications Partnership Post-Acute Care/Long Term Care, Clinical, and Patient and Family Care Workgroups as well as the Hospital Care: Outcomes and Efficiency Steering Committee. She was named a Cambia Health Foundation Sojourns Leadership scholar in 2016. Constance is a Fellow in Palliative Care Nursing and a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing.
2019 - Hallie Mason, MSN, CRNP
This award is given posthumously to Ms. Mason, who spent 17 years as a family nurse practitioner in palliative care at Summa Health System in Northeastern Ohio. She was the critical lynch pin in establishing robust palliative care consult services at Summa Health, which now helps more than 3,000 new patients and families each year. Ms. Mason developed a database of the service's first 10,000 consults for use in quality improvement, research, and internal advocacy. She advocated for and supported two palliative care units, helped establish one of the first ACGME-accredited HPM fellowships, and led the development of palliative care order sets and protocols to facilitate provision of effective palliative care.
As an educator, Ms. Mason published and presented findings nationally and internationally, was viewed as a role model for others, and served as a key member of Summa's Ethnics Committee, helping resolve many challenging issues, which arose in caring for patients with serious illness. She was diagnosed with a glioblastoma multiforme in 2017 just a few months before her death and was nominated for this award by her coworkers and colleagues. They recounted her profound and lasting impact on the development and practice of hospice and palliative care.
2018 - Jennifer Gentry, MSN, APRN, ACHPN
For more than three decades, Ms. Gentry has been a nurse in both acute and long-term care settings and has practiced in the field of palliative care for 15 years. She is a nurse practitioner serving as Director of Palliative Nursing Practice and Education for Duke Palliative Care, a clinical faculty member with the Duke University School of Nursing, and a member of the Duke Hospital Ethics Committee.
Ms. Gentry is a graduate ELNEC trainer and the recipient of numerous awards, including the ELNEC Award of Excellence from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, the Oncology Nursing Society Foundation’s End of Life Career Development Award, and the Friends of Nursing Award for Nursing Mentorship. She is an HPNA Fellow of Palliative Care Nursing, and was the 2012 recipient of the Advanced Certified Hospice and Palliative Nurse of the Year. She served HPNA on the Board of Directors from 2011 to 2016 and was HPNA’s President in 2014. Through her work with HPNA, Mrs. Gentry has been a tireless advocate for palliative nursing and advanced nursing practice.
2017 - Lolita Melhado,PhD, ARNP, FNP, BC
Dr. Melhado has been in nursing for nearly 25 years and has focused her clinical expertise and research in areas of moral distress and moral courage in oncology nurses, palliative care, and end of life care. She is a nurse practitioner on the Palliative Care Team at Lee Memorial Health System in Fort Myers, Florida, and is the co-chair of the hospital’s Ethics Consult Group. She served on the strategic planning committee and was involved in the startup of the palliative care program at Lee Memorial Health System, and is the founder and former president of the Southwest Florida Hospice and Palliative Nurses Chapter. Dr. Melhado serves on the Advance Directive National Work Group, and previously served as a PhD student representative on the HPNA Research Advisory Council. As an educational consultant, she served on the online education and curriculum development committee for the Center to Advance Palliative Care (CAPC), and was recently appointed as co-chair of the HPNA APRN special interest group.
Dr. Melhado has presented several topics in palliative care on both the regional and national levels, and is a guest lecturer with nurse practitioner students at Florida Gulf Coast University on topics in palliative care. She is the co-principal investigator and co-author of evaluating nurses’ perceptions of end of live care and co-developer of Perception of End of Life Care evidence-based tool.
2016 - Maureen Lynch, MS, ANP-BC, AOCN, ACHPN, FPCN
Maureen Lynch has an extensive clinical background in oncology and palliative nursing, has written numerous articles, and has presented both nationally and locally. She initiated the Pain and Symptom Clinic, which preceded the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (DCFI) Palliative Care Service in Boston, MA. For the last 16 years she has worked in the outpatient palliative care program at DFCI in Boston. She developed the Palliative Nursing Fellowship at DFCI/Brigham and Women’s Health Cancer Center (BWH), serves on national faculty for ELNEC, and is co-director of the Art & Science of Palliative Nursing course at Harvard Medical School.
Throughout her career, Ms. Lynch has contributed to the development of the inpatient consult service, the palliative care unit, and, more extensively, the outpatient oncology palliative care clinic. Recent projects have included coediting and authoring for the HPNA Core Curriculum for Advanced Practice Hospice and Palliative Registered Nurse, serving as faculty for Oncology Nursing Society regional pain and education projects, and developing a communication educational module for oncology nurses. Ms. Lynch is a former member of the HPNA Board of Directors. She served on the APN Mentoring Program Committee in 2009, the Board Leadership and Development Committee in 2009 and 2010, and the Palliative Nursing Leadership Institute Task Force in 2012. She was a member of the national faculty for the HPNA ELNEC Core course from 2008 to 2015 and, since 2014, has been on the national faculty for the HPNA Advance Practice Certification Review Course.
2015 - Kate Ford Roberts, MA, BSN, RN, CHPN
Kate Ford Roberts is Clinical Nurse Specialist in Palliative Care at the University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics. She has dedicated her professional life to caring for seriously ill individuals and their families near the end of life. She is the inaugural recipient of this honorary award given by the HPNA Board of Directors to an individual who has made a major contribution in the area of palliative nursing clinical practice.
In 1978, as a new graduate nurse, she became one of the founding members of HospiceCare, Inc., now Agrace HospiceCare, in Madison, WI. In those early years she worked full-time nights and volunteered her time at the hospice during the day. In 1986 she became involved in the Wisconsin Cancer Pain Initiative, and in 1994 she became an educator for the Cancer Pain Role Model Program. In 1991 she started the Center for Life and Loss Integration, a grief counseling center, and co-founded Pathways Through Grief, an aftercare/bereavement program for Gunderson Funeral Homes in Madison, WI.
In 1999 Ms. Roberts was involved in the initial development of the University of Wisconsin Hospital & Clinics Palliative Care Program, where she remains an integral member of the Interdisciplinary Palliative Care Team. Her colleagues describe her as the “heart of the palliative care team.” In 2011 Ms. Roberts received Agrace HospiceCare’s Excellence in End-of-Life Care Award.