CAMDEN — Finding better health care solutions for the global population is an important ongoing conversation, and two Rutgers University-Camden nursing scholars will now be at the forefront of the discussion among international health professionals.Marian Nowak and Patricia Sayers, both assistant professors at the Rutgers School of Nursing-Camden, have been appointed as United Nations delegates by the International Catholic Committee of Nurses and Medio-Social Assistants (CICIAMS).
As U.N. delegates, Nowak and Sayers will participate in numerous conferences and workshops centered on global health care, and will serve as advisers in the development of various projects to help address the United Nations’ eight Millennium Development Goals. Those goals are: to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger; achieve universal primary education; promote gender equality and empower women; reduce child mortality; improve maternal health; combat HIV, AIDS, malaria, and other diseases; ensure environmental sustainability; and create a global partnership for development.
“It’s a tremendous opportunity for us, but I’m especially excited for our students because this will show them that a nurse’s voice can be heard on an international level and they can make a real difference,” Nowak says. “It’s a point of pride for Rutgers–Camden and its students. We’re excited to bring professional nursing perspectives to health issues affecting people around the world.”
Nowak and Sayers are two of four United Nations delegates from the United States appointed by CICIAMS, which has 60 member countries and is headquartered at The Vatican. Other delegates include representatives from Africa, China, and India. The CICIAMS delegation will work to engage health care workers, religious leaders, and families around the world in a dynamic dialogue to help find solutions to important worldwide health issues.In November, Nowak and Sayers were among hundreds of healthcare professionals who traveled to Rome to participate in the 29th International Pontifical Conference of Healthcare Workers. The three-day conference provided the Rutgers-Camden scholars with an opportunity to meet with Catholic health leaders in a program planning effort and review current international research trends focused on assisting families with children who have autism spectrum disorder. Pope Francis delivered a keynote speech during the event.
During their stay at the Vatican, Nowak and Sayers shared the “Mind, Body and Spirit” online project developed collaboratively by faculty and students from the Rutgers School of Nursing-Camden and the Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine. This clinical software, titled the “Cultural/Spiritual Toolbox,” provides health care workers with a diverse cultural and spiritual reference to assist patient-centered bedside care.
“This is one of the highest honors in nursing, but it’s also a tremendous opportunity for the Rutgers School of Nursing–Camden,” Sayers says. “We hope to facilitate contributions from the global CICIAMS membership,” Sayers says. “In addition, a window of opportunity for our students has opened at the United Nations.”
CICIAMS was founded in Lourdes, France in 1933. Its mission is to promote Christian and professional values in nursing care. It serves as a U.N. Non-Governmental Organization, which contributes to information dissemination, awareness raising, education development, policy advocacy, joint operational projects, participation in intergovernmental processes, and in the contribution of services and technical expertise.
Sayers, of Bordentown, earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Miami; her master’s degree from the University of Texas; and her doctoral degree from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. A former first lieutenant of the United States Air Force Nurse Corps, Sayers is a leading researcher in preventative seasonal/extreme weather nursing care for elderly, chronically ill, and disparate populations.
She has appeared on numerous radio talk shows addressing issues related to bioethics and she serves on the Board of Directors for the National Association of Catholic Nurses and the Divine Mercy of New Jersey Health Ministry.
Nowak, a Cedar Brook resident, earned bachelor’s degrees from Richard Stockton College and Thomas Jefferson University; master’s degrees from Temple University, Thomas Jefferson University, and the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health; and her doctoral degree from Case Western Reserve University. Nowak speaks internationally as an expert in disaster nursing. During her nursing career, she developed community education programs, and innovative service projects, including the nation’s first student nurse public health emergency preparedness certificate program.
Nowak is one of six recent winners of Nurse.com’s National GEM (Giving Excellence Meaning) Award. She received the 2014 National Nurse of the Year GEM Award for Service and Volunteerism.