Donley’s Work with Vulnerable Populations Garners ACAP Award

Sister Rosemary Donley, S.C., professor of nursing and the Jacques Laval Chair for Justice for Vulnerable Populations, was honored on May 7 with a Leadership in Advocacy Honorable Mention Award from the Association for Community Affiliated Plans (ACAP). The award recognizes individuals who advocate for Medicaid or other low-income health programs and the vulnerable populations these programs serve.

“I was overwhelmed because it was a total surprise,” said Sister Donley. “I feel like I should be giving our supporters at the UPMC Health Plan and UPMC for Life this award.”

UPMC Health Plan, an ACAP member, nominated Sister Donley for the award.

Sister Donley has earned recognition for her work as the Laval Chair, through which she focuses her energies on spearheading the School of Nursing’s community service efforts to provide healthcare services to vulnerable populations. Over the past four years, Sister Donley has coordinated the Rita M. McGinley Symposium to discuss the needs of the elderly, immigrants, veterans and children. The fifth annual symposium, Faces of Mental Illness, will be held Thursday, Oct. 23, and Friday, Oct. 24, at the Power Center.

“My job is to call attention to the vulnerable populations in Allegheny County who are seldom seen,” Sister Donley added. “I try to give them a face, because you cannot understand a person or his or her situation until you see his or her face.”

In addition to receiving the award, Sister Donley has been invited to attend ACAP’s CEO Summit in Washington, D.C., in June. An invitation-only event, the summit brings together chief executive officers of Medicaid-focused health plans and senior staff to discuss current issues facing Medicaid managed care in the post-Affordable Care Act environment.

“I am so excited to attend the conference because I will get to learn firsthand how we can help our vulnerable populations get access to healthcare through the Affordable Care Act,” explained Sister Donley. “It’s an issue that no one has really discussed, and I will be there in person to hear these conversations and be able to then bring this insight back to our students at Duquesne.”