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Local Nurse Earns National Leadership Award

Salt Lake City, December 4, 2014 — Utah nurse practitioner, Danielle Howa Pendergrass, has been selected as one of 10 nurses around the country to receive the inaugural Breakthrough Leaders in Nursing award. The award, created by the Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action, a joint initiative of AARP and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, honors nurses for their efforts to improve the health and lives of people in their communities.

Pendergrass was chosen for the award based on her work in Price, Utah, where she opened Eastern Utah Women's Health. Pendergrass now offers services to 20,000 women and girls in rural Utah. Pendergrass also helped change a Medicaid reimbursement policy that would not allow payments to be made directly to nurse practitioners; in the past the policy created a barrier between Utah women and girls and access to care.

"Danielle has worked tirelessly to improve access to care for women and girls," said Joan Gallegos, project coordinator at HealthInsight Utah and staff director of the Utah Action Coalition. "This award recognized the incredible progress Danielle's leadership has made in Utah."

As part of the award, Pendergrass will become a national spokesperson for the Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action. Pendergrass will help lead initiatives; meet with other states and action coalitions, to support the efforts of nurses to improve health and health care.

"I could not be more honored," Pendergrass said. "It's a really exciting award that comes with a ton of responsibility. I plan to continue to work with the Utah Action Coalition for Health in removing practice barriers that prevent nurses from working to the full extent of their education and training. I will also focus to involve more of the state's nurses on governing boards, councils, committees and in other positions of influence."

In addition to running Eastern Utah Women's Health Pendergrass is also a nursing instructor at Utah State University Eastern and provides clinical experience to nurse practitioner students from the University of Utah.

AnnMarie Walton, a PhD candidate at the University of Utah and oncology nurse in North Carolina was also selected for the award. All 10 awardees will receive a Leadership Development Program scholarship package from the Center for Creative Leadership.

For more information on the awards and other winners visit http://campaignforaction.org/breakthrough.

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