Ellen and Gary Bialis established the Bialis Family Foundation Award for Nursing Excellence in May 2006 to recognize outstanding performance in nursing practice in Santa Barbara County. The Foundation does not advertise, but word has spread rapidly among hospital staff, foundations, community leaders, and patients. In its first year, 17 nurses received the honor, which includes a $3,000 award. Because of the number of outstanding nominees, more than one qualified nurse was chosen in several months.
A brief glance at the first years’ awardees shows the breadth and range of nursing excellence in Santa Barbara County. Recipients include Carol Leidner, Donna Williams, Carol Henderson Nelson, Melinda Hoffman, Joanne Talbot, James Oulette, Gail Johnson, Suzette Hahn, Mimi Dent, Rosalie Romo, Lanette Perry, Daren Brandts, Gretchen Jansen, Fern Gebert, Kathleen M. Polischuk, Tracy Wilks, and Daina Moreno.
At least one deserving nurse will receive the Bialis Family Foundation Award each month. Nominations may be submitted by any patient or medical personnel who have come into contact with an outstanding nurse and wish to recognize him or her. Candidates must have a minimum of five years experience working as a nurse in Santa Barbara County. To nominate a candidate, request a form by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org or write to the Bialis Family Foundation, Award for Nursing Excellence, Attn: Selection Committee, P.O. Box 30570, Santa Barbara, CA 93130.