Presidential Citation Award

The Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association Presidential Citation Award is strategically awarded to an individual who has made a significant impact on national policy and/or regulations that affect hospice and palliative care.  Nominees can come from various backgrounds, including but not limited to members of the media, legislators, community activists, and educators.  


  • Nominations for this award are made by the HPNA Board of Directors.
  • The recipient may or may not be a nurse and is typically someone from outside the hospice and palliative field. 

Presidential Citation Award Recipients

2020 - Senator Tammy Baldwin (WI)

Senator Baldwin was diagnosed with a serious illness at the age of nine and struggled for years not just with illness, but with not being able to obtain adequate health insurance because of her pre-existing condition. As an adult, she also served as caregiver for her aging grandmother for many years. These two experiences greatly impacted her and helped shape her desire for public service. 

Senator Baldwin currently serves on the Senate Appropriations Committee, which approves federal healthcare funding; and the Senate Health Committee, which reviews healthcare public policy reform. She championed the Affordable Care Act while in the U.S. House of Representatives, as well as the U.S. Senate and led the bipartisan effort to support family caregivers by sponsoring the RAISE Family Caregivers Act. 

As a lead sponsor of the Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act (PCHETA), Senator Baldwin has continued to advocate for those with serious illness.  This HPNA Presidential Citation award acknowledges Senator Baldwin's lifelong work on behalf of patients, the caregivers who support them, and the clinicians who provide their care. 

2019 - Carolyn Jones, Filmmaker and Author

Ms. Jones is a journalist, filmmaker, author, and storyteller. She is the director and executive producer of Defining Hope, a documentary film about what makes life worth living, which was broadcast on PBS stations nationwide and also won the Best Premiere - Documentary Feature Award at the Heartland International Film Festival. Our organization is proud to have co-sponsored both the Washington, DC screening and a Congressional Briefing and preview of the film in 2017, as well as support its release nationwide.

Ms. Jones wrote The American Nurse, chronicling the lives and work of 75 nurses across the nation, and was both director and executive producer for the film which was included in the U.S. Department of State's American Film Showcase. She also wrote Living Proof: Courage in the Face of AIDS, a book about people living positively with AIDS, and showcasing the astounding strength of the human spirit when confronted with illness, pain, loss, and death.  

2018 - The Honorable Susan Collins, United States Senator, Maine

First elected in 1996, Senator Collins is the most senior Republican woman serving in the Senate. She chairs the Senate Select Committee on Aging and the Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development Committee; and serves on the Appropriations Committee, the Intelligence Committee and the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. Her strong work ethic has given Senator Collins an enviable record – never missing a vote in her 20 years in office – and that amounts to more than 6,400 votes to date.

Her legislative record demonstrates accomplishments in many areas, including health care, homeland security, national defense, disaster response, education, business development and caring for our nation’s seniors. She was a key voice in the recent Affordable Care Act discussions and has worked tirelessly to increase funding for research and strengthen support for family caregivers.

2017 - The Honorable Joseph R. Biden, former Vice President of the United States

Joseph R. Biden has shown tremendous leadership in the battle against cancer by spearheading the Cancer Moonshot program within the federal government. The program, announced by President Barack Obama during his 2016 State of the Union Address, called on Vice President Biden to “lead a new, national Cancer Moonshot, focused on making a decade of progress in preventing, diagnosing, and treating cancer in five years, ultimately striving to end cancer as we know it.” The program directs the federal government to achieve the mission through a focused effort to leverage federal investments, targeted incentives, private sector efforts, and patient initiatives. Joseph Biden has been involved in the federal government since 1973, first serving as a United States senator from Delaware, and then as Vice President from 2008 to 2016. 

2016 - Sylvia M. Burwell, US Secretary of Health and Human Services

Sylvia Burwell was sworn in as the 22nd U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services in June 2014 after experience with large organizations in both the public and private sectors, and she oversees more than 77,000 employees. She has called for the department to operate under three guiding tenets: to deliver results on a wide range of complex issues, to strengthen the relationships that drive progress, and to build strong teams with the talent and focus needed to deliver impact for the American people.

Most recently Secretary Burwell served as director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), where she worked closely with Congress to help return to a more orderly budget and appropriations process. Prior to that, Secretary Burwell served as president of the Walmart Foundation in Bentonville, AR, where, during her tenure, the foundation surpassed $1 billion in total giving. She was president of the Global Development Program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in Seattle, WA, where she spent 10 years and served as the foundation’s first chief operating officer. During the Clinton administration, Secretary Burwell served as deputy director of OMB, deputy chief of staff to the president, chief of staff to the secretary of the Treasury, and staff director of the National Economic Council. She has served on the boards of the Council on Foreign Relations, MetLife, and the University of Washington Medical Center, among other organizations. 

2015 - The Honorable Emanuel Cleaver, II, U.S. House of Representatives, 5th Congressional District, Missouri

The Honorable Emanuel Cleaver, II, is a United Methodist pastor and a member of the US House of Representatives. Rep. Cleaver currently represents Missouri’s 5th congressional district, where he has served since 2005. In January 2010, Rep. Cleaver became Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus. He has received five honorary doctoral degrees augmented by a bachelor’s degree from Prairie View A & M and a master’s degree from St. Paul’s School of Theology of Kansas City.

Rep. Cleaver has been a strong advocate for patients and their caretakers. In the 113th Congress he introduced H. 1666, Patient Centered Quality Care for Life Act. This legislation seeks to create a patient-centered quality initiative for seriously ill individuals by establishing a national stakeholder strategic summit that includes an interdisciplinary advisory committee. It also forms a quality-of-life education and awareness initiative through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, provides funding for a healthcare workforce training program, and institutes a palliative care–focused research plan to lower cost and improve quality of care for patients with chronic conditions. Rep. Cleaver, a native of Texas, is married to the former Dianne Donaldson. They have made Kansas City home for themselves and their four children. 

2014 - The Honorable Lois Capps, RN, U.S. House of Representatives, 24th Congressional District, California

The Honorable Lois Capps (D-CA), a nurse and veteran member of the U.S. House of Representatives, has been a strong and vocal leader for the field of nursing on Capitol Hill since she was first sworn into Congress on March 17, 1998. She is a respected and effective leader, particularly on issues related to public health and patient care. As a Co-Chair of the Congressional Nurses Caucus, Lois Capps has fought to ensure that nursing has a “voice in the debate and seat at the table” for all major health care public policy debates and policy development on Capitol Hill and within the Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS). The Congresswoman and her health care public policy team in Washington, DC have worked with HPNA’s members and leadership to better educate members of Congress and their staff on issues involving hospice and palliative nursing. Most recently, Capps and her staff worked with HPNA to convene multiple Congressional briefings on Capitol Hill to promote the benefits and role of palliative nursing for patients and their families. These educational forums, attracting more than 50 Congressional offices and various federal agency officials, have allowed HPNA to highlight individual patient stories directly to key federal healthcare public policy decision-makers.

Working closely with Congresswoman Capps and her staff, HPNA has been able to garner support for many legislative and regulatory palliative nursing priorities, including co-sponsors for the Palliative Care and Hospice Educational Training Act (PCHETA). Given her rich history and background in the field of nursing, Capps is considered by many to be one of the top “go-to” healthcare leaders and experts in the U.S. Congress. She founded and serves as the Co-chair of the House Nursing Caucus. She also serves as Co-chair of the Congressional Heart and Stroke Coalition, the House Cancer Caucus, the Congressional School Health and Safety Caucus, National Marine Sanctuary Caucus, and the Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition. Capps is also honorary Vice-Chair of the LGBT Equality Caucus. We recognize her leadership and steadfast support of nursing and the patient community, and we look forward to continuing to work closely with the Congresswoman and her staff. 

2013 - Mary Lynn McPherson, Pharm.D. BCPS CPE

Mary Lynn McPherson is currently Professor and Vice Chair for Academic Affairs, Department of Pharmacy Practice and Science, University of Maryland School of Pharmacy, Baltimore, Maryland. She serves as a Hospice Consultant Pharmacist and is a Fellow in the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, American Pharmacists Association, American Society of Consultant Pharmacists and the American Society of Pain Educators. Dr. McPherson has had an active and long-standing program of research on the appropriate use of medications at end of life. Her passion for interprofessional education and research, particularly in pain management and palliative care, has contributed to her long-standing relationship with the AAHPM/HPNA Annual Assembly and HPNA. She has authored and reviewed many HPNA publications, participated in the development of medication-related policies for the association and with her engaging and witty presentation style has educated countless professionals through other HPNA educational symposiums. 

2013 - N. Burl Cain

N. Burl Cain was named Warden of Louisiana State Penitentiary (LSP) in January 1995 by the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections. Known for his approaches in prison management, Warden Cain holds a degree from Louisiana State University and a master’s degree in Criminal Justice from Grambling State University and has more than 30 years of experience in corrections. He is the longest-standing warden in the history of LSP. The Louisiana State Penitentiary (Angola) has a hospice program that is a part of the rehabilitation treatment offered to inmates. Angola was the second prison in the United States to start a hospice program. Since then, the program has grown to include dozens of inmate volunteers who go through a rigorous screening and training process. In their final hours, some inmates at Angola tend to the needs of other convicted criminals. Warden Burl Cain said it is a way for people known as “selfish takers” to finally give back. 

2012 - Donna E. Shalala, PhD

President Donna E. Shalala, PhD, has more than 30 years of experience as an accomplished scholar, teacher, and administrator. In 1993, President Clinton appointed her U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) where she served for eight years. In 2007, President George W. Bush handpicked Dr. Shalala to co-chair the Commission on Care for Returning Wounded Warriors, to evaluate how wounded service members transition from active duty to civilian society. In 2009 she was appointed chair of the Committee on the Future of Nursing at the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences. Dr. Shalala has more than four dozen honorary degrees and a host of other honors. In 2008, she was presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award; and in 2010 she received the Nelson Mandela Award for Health and Human Rights, which recognizes individuals for outstanding dedication to improving the health and life chances of disadvantaged populations in South Africa and internationally. 

2011 - The Honorable Carolyn McCarthy, U.S. House of Representatives, 4th Congressional District, New York

Currently serving her 8th term representing Long Island’s 4th Congressional District, Representative Carolyn McCarthy was first elected in 1996. A life-long resident of Mineola, NY, she has over 30 years experience as a nurse. Rep. McCarthy holds many honors. She is the first Congresswoman from Long Island and is included in Newsday’s 100 Long Island Influentials, Long Island Business News’ Long Island Top 50, Congressional Quarterly’s 50 Most Effective Legislators, Redbook Magazine’s Mothers and Shakers and the Ladies’ Home Journal 100 Most Important Women.

Congresswoman McCarthy successfully fought to have language included in the Higher Education Opportunity Act, signed into law in 2009, which addresses the nurse shortage crisis. The bill provides for increased numbers of nurse faculty to train new nurses, a loan forgiveness program for new nurses, and requires the Secretary of Health and Human Services to investigate constraints encountered by schools of nursing in admitting and graduating the number of registered nurses. The Congresswoman also introduced the Nurse Training and Retention Act. This bill would provide grants to help provide training to ancillary healthcare workers who are interested in becoming nurses. The bill also provides for continuing education for nurses. Congresswoman McCarthy was able to include this legislation as a part of H.R. 3962, the Affordable Health Care for America Act. 

2010 - The Honorable Lois Capps, RN, U.S. House of Representatives, 24th Congressional District, California

Congresswoman Capps has supported the HPNA mission by leading Congress on issues of public health, passing legislation to address the national nursing shortage, helping people improve their daily lives through quality health care, and providing immediate Medicare coverage to patients suffering from Lou Gehrig’s disease. Capps serves on the powerful Committee on Energy and Commerce and is the Vice Chair of its Health Subcommittee. She also sits on the Subcommittee on Energy and Environment. From these posts, Capps continues to focus on Medicare reform, the nursing shortage, and cancer.

During her 20-year tenure as a nurse and health advocate for the Santa Barbara School District, thousands of Santa Barbara’s children and families benefited from Capps’ personal care and leadership. Capps draws on this extensive healthcare background as founder and co-chair of the House Nursing Caucus. She also serves as co-chair of the Congressional Heart and Stroke Coalition, the House Cancer Caucus, the Congressional School Health and Safety Caucus, and the House Democratic Task Force on Health. Capps was born in Ladysmith, Wisconsin on January 10, 1938. After graduating with honors from Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington with a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing, she worked as a nursing instructor in Portland, Oregon. Capps earned a Master of Arts degree in Religion from Yale University while working as Head Nurse at Yale New Haven Hospital. In addition, she earned a Master of Arts degree in Education from the University of California, Santa Barbara and received honorary doctorates from Pacific Lutheran University and Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary.