University of Nevada, Reno Early Head Start Health Coordinator Doreen Begley received the 2011 Northern Nevada Nurses of Achievement Award in the category of Community Health.
The award was one of 13 presented annually. More than 200 nurses were nominated, and the winners were chosen based on their contributions to the community beyond their normal roles and within their field. Begley was chosen for her involvement in community healthcare.
“Being able to provide services for those who cannot otherwise access healthcare has always been a part of my nursing career, which I find tremendously rewarding,” Begley said. “The award in Community Health Nursing acknowledges many years of dedicated service for my multiple contributions to our community. I believe that the award supports the mission of our land-grant institution to meet unmet needs in our community.”
Christine Cheney, dean of the University’s College of Education, felt Begley was deserving of the award as well.
“In addition to the usual Early Head Start responsibilities, Doreen has gone above and beyond the call of duty by developing and implementing the first state-funded, school-based immunization program within Early Head Start,” she said.
Begley established the immunization program, called Vaccines For Children, to address the issues and difficulties many families face when trying to access healthcare for their children. With support from many organizations, she made immunizations free and more easily available for the children and families who are uninsured or on Medicaid.
“Access to healthcare is a cornerstone to a healthy society,” Begley said. “I’m just trying to do my small part to get healthcare to our community.”
The University’s Early Head Start program provides early childhood education to families who fall below federal poverty guidelines. Workers monitor children from birth to 3 years old, performing required Well Child Checks and providing necessary immunizations.
Begley is serving her second four-year appointment to the Governor’s Nevada State Board of Nursing, and has been serving as president for the past three years. She also dances with the AVA Ballet Company, and refers to herself as a “movable prop,” due to her performing in various character roles in multiple productions.