Darlene Curley, MS, RN, FAAN
Darlene Curley joined the Jonas Center for Nursing Excellence in 2009 as Executive Director, bringing extensive experience as a health policy leader, entrepreneur, leadership consultant, workforce expert and registered nurse.
Ms. Curley most recently served two terms in the Maine House of Representatives, where she established herself as one of the Legislature’s foremost experts on health policy issues. During her tenure, she was appointed to the Health Committee of the National Conference of State Legislatures and the State’s Long-term Care Oversight Committee.
Ms. Curley is a member of Sigma Theta Tau, Senior Advisor to the Center for Health Policy at Columbia University School of Nursing, a member of the New York State Steering Committee to implement the IOM Future of Nursing recommendations, and a fellow of the New York Academy of Medicine. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maine and a Master’s degree in community health nursing from the University of Maryland.
Claire M. Fagin, PhD, RN, FAAN
As Senior Advisor to the Jonas Scholars program, Dr. Claire Fagin provides overall guidance for the Center’s strategic planning and programs, offering a uniquely knowledgeable and experienced insight into nursing.
In June 2005, Dr. Fagin completed five years as Director of the John A. Hartford Foundation National Program (Building Academic Geriatric Nursing Capacity). This program, which she helped the Foundation develop, supports Centers of Geriatric Nursing Excellence, invests in other schools of nursing building their geriatric expertise, and supports pre-doctoral scholars and post-doctoral fellows.
Dr. Fagin served as dean of the School of Nursing at the University of Pennsylvania from January 1977 to January 1992. During her tenure as dean, the School developed landmark education and research programs, a privately funded research center, a PhD program, had the most faculty members of any nursing school in the American Academy of Nursing and the Institute of Medicine, and was ranked #1 by US News and World Report. Dr. Fagin served as the Interim President of the University from July 1, 1993 to June 30, 1994, the first woman to serve a term as Interim President of any Ivy League University. Presently she is Leadership Professor Emerita and Dean Emerita at Penn.
Dr. Fagin has served on four corporate boards (Daltex, Provident Mutual, Salomon, Inc. and Radian Guarantee, Inc.) and has been in elected and appointed positions with many professional organizations. Currently she is a member of the Board of the Visiting Nurse Service of New York, and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing, the Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences, the Expert Panel on Nursing of the World Health Organization, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Dr. Fagin has received 15 honorary doctoral degrees and numerous alumni, civic and professional awards. In recognition of her contribution to nursing education and leadership and her influence on health care policy, Dr. Fagin received the Honorary Recognition Award of the American Nurses Association, the most prestigious honor awarded in the nursing profession. Among her other awards are the first Distinguished Scholar Award given by the American Nurses Foundation, and the Hildegard E. Peplau Award (for her work in psychiatric nursing) from the American Nurses Association.
Dr. Fagin has published 15 authored/edited books and monographs and more than 100 articles. She received the Bachelor of Science degree from Wagner College, the Masters of Arts degree from Teacher’s College, Columbia University, and the Ph.D. from New York University.
William T. Bester, RN, MSN, NEA-BC, Brigadier General (RET)
Senior Advisor, Jonas Veterans Healthcare Program
Prior to taking his current position, Brigadier General Bester served as the Vice President for External Affairs at the Uniformed Services University (USU) of the Health Sciences. Before that, he was USU’s Acting President for six months and prior to that had a short assignment as the Acting Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs. Prior to his assignment as Acting PDASD, he served as the Vice President for Distributed Learning and as the Acting Vice President for External Affairs at USU. He also served as the University’s Acting Dean of the Graduate School of Nursing from July 2006 to December 2007. Following his retirement from active duty, he served as Professor of Clinical Nursing at the University of Texas in Austin and was also the Director of Nursing Practice with the Seton Family of Hospitals in Austin, Texas.
Bester holds a BSN degree from the College of St. Scholastica, Duluth, Minnesota and an MSN from the Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C. He is also a graduate of the U.S. Army Nurse Anesthesia Program at Madigan Army Medical Center.
His distinguished career in the US Army culminated in his selection as the 21st Chief of the Army Nurse Corps. While serving the Army as its Nursing Service Chief, Brigadier General Bester was also assigned as the Assistant Surgeon General for Force Projection and Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, Health Policy and Services (2000-2002) and as Commander of the Center for Health Promotion and Preventive Medicine (2002-2004).
Highlights of earlier assignments include sole anesthesia provider for the Cuban Refugee Operation at Fort Chaffee, Arkansas (1980); Chief Nurse of the 67th Combat Support Hospital during its deployment (1995) to Taszar, Hungary in support of Operation Joint Endeavor, later serving as Medical Task Force Commander with responsibility for all medical assets in Hungary and Croatia; and Commander, Moncrief Army Community Hospital, Ft. Jackson, South Carolina (1998-2000).
As a Professor of Clinical Nursing at the University of Texas, Brigadier General Bester was asked (2005) to be Director of Nursing for a health care team, organized by Project Hope, to assist the victims of the tsunami in Banda Aceh, Indonesia. He joined the Editorial Advisory Board of the journal “Men in Nursing” in 2006. A sought after lecturer on topics of nursing and health care leadership and disaster relief, Brigadier General Bester has been invited as a guest speaker to over 25 conferences, workshops, and meetings during the last 5 years. He is the recipient of the Luther Christman Award (2005) and 2 honorary doctorates; College of St. Scholastica (2001) and Seton Hall University (2003). His military awards include the Distinguished Service Medal, 3 Legion of Merits and 4 Meritorious Service Medals. He is a member of the California Nurses Association, the American Nurses Association, the Military Officers Association of America, Sigma Theta Tau International and the Association of the United States Army.
Catherine (Cathy) Rick, RN, PhD (h), NEA-BC, FAAN, FACHE
Senior Advisor for Nursing Leadership
Cathy Rick was the Chief Officer, Office of Nursing Services, for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) from 2000-2014. Ms. Rick provided leadership and guidance to VA’s 80,000 nursing personnel, who care for nearly six million veterans each year. As the Chief Nurse Executive for VA, she was responsible for the development, implementation and evaluation of national policy and strategic planning activities that support the missions of the Veterans Health Administration (VHA): clinical care, education, research, backup to the Department of Defense and emergency preparedness.
Ms Rick has over 35 years of experience in clinical, leadership, and executive healthcare roles. She is widely published and a highly sought after speaker on topics related to advancing nursing practice, patient care delivery models, and leadership principles for all nursing roles.
She has received are Numerous awards: Wisconsin Organization of Nurse Executives’ (WONE) 1997 Nurse Executive of the Year Award, 2004 Marquette University Distinguished Alumni Award, 2004 Presidential Meritorious Rank Award, 2005 McGovern Award: American Association College of Nursing and 2008 Outstanding Nurse Scholar award: Sigma Theta Tau Delta Gamma. Ms Rick has been an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Nursing at the Uniformed Services University and guest lecturer at the George Mason Health Policy Institute.
Ms. Rick is a member of Sigma Theta Tau, the American Organization of Nurse Executives, American Nurses Association, and American College of Healthcare Executives. She is on the Editorial Board for Nursing Administration Quarterly and Board of Directors for CNO Solutions. Ms Rick earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing from Alverno College in Milwaukee, WI and her Master of Science Degree in Nursing Administration as well as an honorary doctorate from Marquette University in Milwaukee. She is a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing and the American College of Healthcare Executives.
Kelly Mahoney, MPA
Director of Programs and Operations
Kelly Mahoney serves as the Director of Programs and Operations at the Jonas Center, overseeing the organization's national grantmaking programs. Most recently, Ms. Mahoney worked in fundraising at Malaria No More, helping to mobilize resources to end malaria deaths. Prior to joining Malaria No More, she spent two years as the lead health education volunteer with the United States Peace Corps in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and did post-tsunami field work for the United Methodist Committee on Relief in Aceh, Indonesia. She also worked at the National Center on Philanthropy and the Law at New York University and at Millennium Promise Alliance.
Ms. Mahoney received her master’s in public administration from New York University’s Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service and her bachelor’s degree in foreign service from Georgetown University.
Eliza Kaye serves as the Development Associate at the Jonas Center, managing the Center’s fundraising operations, including donation processing, prospect research, donor cultivation, special events and data management. Most recently, Ms. Kaye worked at Friends of Yad Sarah, fundraising for Yad Sarah, an egalitarian humanitarian organization in Israel, committed to addressing the home and health care needs of the elderly, people with disabilities, and children with special needs. Prior to joining Friends of Yad Sarah, she served as the Coordinator of Public Programs at the Institute for Human Centered Design, an international non-governmental educational organization (NGO) dedicated to enhancing the experiences of people of all ages and abilities through excellence in design, by balancing legally required accessibility with promotion of best practices in human-centered or universal design.
Ms. Kaye graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Rochester with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy, and earned a pre-law certificate at the Universiteit van Amsterdam.
Julianne Palomba serves as the Program Assistant at the Jonas Center, providing support on the Center’s day-to-day operations and directly supporting the Center’s leadership. Most recently, Ms. Palomba worked at Miller Buckfire, an internationally recognized investment bank focused on helping clients address complex transformational issues, where she provided administrative support to the firm’s bankers. Prior to joining Miller Buckfire, she served as the Development and Communications Associate at LIFT, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to help community members achieve economic stability and well-being by working to establish a new standard for holistic and enduring solutions in our country’s fight against poverty. She also worked at the American Cancer Society.
Ms. Palomba graduated from the University of Maryland with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English.