Massachusetts Association of Occupational Health Nurses (MaAOHN)
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2022 MaAOHN Awards

Posted 4 months ago by Penny-Allyson Clark

On Friday, December 2, 2022 MaAOHN held it's Annual Meeting during the NECOEM-MaAOHN Annual Conference.  During the Annual Meeting, MaAOHN presented the 2022 MaAOHN Awards to Marie Palermo and Nancy Clover.  See below for their write-up by Gail Carchietta.

                                                      Marie Palermo, RN, BSM, COHNC-S

MaAOHN’s Lifetime Achievement award is our most prestigious honor presented to a member of our organization, who is not only recognized for professional leadership and accomplishments in occupational health, but also for service to our professional organization.

Marie has served the workers of Massachusetts and across the nation for over 36 years with major contributions that included the establishment of an integrated EHS management program and “Critical incident Response Program” during her work with the Massachusetts Transit Authority.

At Liberty Mutual, she implemented a national safety and health program for corporate employees and 685 US based field offices.  During this time, she partnered with Benefits to successfully implement a disease management and wellness initiative for over 50.000 employees in four business units. 

Most recently at the Mentor Network, Marie successfully demonstrated how Occupational Health goals and business initiatives can work together.  She transformed the Workers Compensation, Auto liability and Safety programs, to significantly reduce claim exposure, achieving a 24-million-dollar savings over 7 years.

As a member of AAOHN for over 37 years Marie has served in numerous leadership roles in Central Mass, AAOHN, and MaAOHN and values this collaboration of nurses and her COHN certification.

Marie was first drawn to Occupational Health as a trauma nurse treating injured workers. She knew she wanted to prevent these illnesses through the facilitation of safe work practices.   Her passion for occupational health was supported by her competence, confidence, compassion, empathy, and commitment to our profession.

Marie’s leadership skills include her ability to listen, establish trust, maintain a vision for occupational health, and demonstrate integrity and consistency in care. 

Marie demonstrated courage by advocating for total worker health early her Occupational Health career, to ensure the basic right of a safe and healthy workplace.   Linking Occupational Health initiatives directly with business goals was one of her keys to success.

Maire understands the “hope for the future of our profession” is linked with ongoing engagement within our professional organizations; the desire to continue to grow in our field; and the pursuit of COHN certification.  Her willingness to mentor nurses comes naturally to Marie as she feels it is imperative that we help others to reach their potential and pave their own path to certification.

In closing, Marie exemplifies what we understand about Nursing - that it is a unique field that allows one to enjoy the reward of serving people while growing professionally and personally.

Marie thank you for your service and we are honored to present this award to you.

                                             Nancy Clover, RN, COHN-S, FAAOHN

Courage implies having the mental and moral strength to move though difficult times especially when facing the unknown.
Resilience requires that through these challenges, you maintain control without wavering from your commitment.
Creativity is marked by the power to create through deliberate or spontaneous thought.
Professional Caring is a human behavior that includes cognitive, affective, psychomotor, and administrative skills.
Nursing Leadership is the ability to influence and motivate nursing staff and other health care workers to work together to achieve their highest potential and collective organization goals.

Receiving a phone call late one Sunday night in 2019, Nancy was asked if she could help provide employee COVID testing and develop protocols for a local company that was working on a pandemic project.  It was imperative to the world that those workers remain healthy and continue to work. 

Without a playbook and after hours of scouring the CDC website, a plan began to form.  Most of her discussions took place during late nights and weekends.  These protocols that she helped to develop were later used by the CDC as a template to provide guidance to all workplaces to keep the country open during this critical time.

As these guidelines were being formalized, Nancy shifted gears to uncover staffing resources during a nursing shortage and at a time when nurses were at a premium.  Through her previous volunteer work at nursing schools, and her wide network of allied health professionals, she hired and trained workers to test, enter data, contact trace, and to keep themselves safe.   When our local resources were exhausted, she developed a remote workforce to support the needs of over 40 companies.  When at last the time came, Nancy’s nurses were among the first coordinating clinics and delivering COVID vaccines to our Massachusetts workforce. 

 During this time, Nancy introduced Occupational Health to over 100 nurses, students, and allied professionals that had not had prior experience in our field and then teamed them up with occupational health nurses.

Those who know Nancy have witnessed her drive and passion for occupational health nursing.  This rang true as through this all, she remained accessible to her students, nurses, clients, and professional organizations whenever they needed her regardless of what time-zone they lived in.

Nancy, in addition to the traits already listed, you embody the best of what nurses aspire to be and your most treasured traits are your generosity of heart and ability to bring people together and make them feel like family.  If Nancy is around, there is never a person sitting alone nearby – they are invited to her table and soon will learn about occupational health!

Nancy, it was your idea to honor the MaAOHN members with this award in 2020 during the pandemic for surviving and excelling during that time.  Today, we are honored to recognize your amazing contribution to occupational health nursing, to our state, country, and the world.