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Special Award for Werner
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Kitty Werner Honored with First Darlene Jelinek Award


To show our deep appreciation to Kitty, NONPF presented her with the first Darlene Jelinek Award for her Distinguished Service Contributions to NONPF.  Dr. Gilliss had the distant honor to present the award.



(Pictured:  Dr. Catherine Gillis; Francesca (Frankie) Donato; Kitty Werner; Dr. Anne Thomas)




Catherine L. Gilliss, PhD, RN, FAAN

April 22, 2017



In June of 1995, Kitty Werner joined the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties as its Administrative Director. I know, because I was there.


The previous month, as the newly appointed President of NONPF, I interviewed a young woman name Kathryn Werner for the position that would become the centerpiece of our organization for the next 20 years.  She impressed me as someone who could take on a young organization in need of infrastructure, policy development, membership services, financial oversight, and inter-organizational relationships.


At the end of the hour we spent together, an hour during which I was consistently calling this young woman Kathryn, she politely commented, “Dr. Gilliss, you can call me Kitty.”


And that moment has stayed with me because when you refer to “Kitty” everyone knows who you are talking about.


For 22 years, Kitty Werner has been the face of our organization. She served us well and longer than we would have expected. She represented us at policy tables, advancing fundamental issues affecting NPs and NP education so that NPs were well-prepared to care for the American public. It is hard to imagine NONPF without her. She came to us from the American Academy of Thermology and left us to go to the American Academy of Audiology. Maybe if we had incorporated “academy” into our name…?


So it is fitting that we gather here today to thank Kitty for her service to us and to wish her well.


And to show our deep appreciation to Kitty, we present her with the first Darlene Jelinek Award for her Distinguished Service Contributions to NONPF.


This eponymous award honors the founder of NONPF, Darlene Jelinek. Our founder and first President was born and raised in Kansas, and became a family nurse practitioner at the University of New Mexico in one of the first Primex Programs certificate programs. Darlene was a woman of great enthusiasms and commitment. She partnered with other early nurse practitioners to help create a community and give visibility to the developing community. Darlene was a member of the RWJ Primary Care Faculty Fellows National Advisory Committee, a group that oversaw the first RWJ Fellowship for nurses. That group, if which Darlene was a part, selected 100 nurses to become NPs or advance their work as NPs at one of four site: Colorado, Rochester, Maryland, and Indiana. That committee included Lee Ford, Claire Fagin, Rachel Booth, Ingeborg Mauksch. And the 100 RWJ’s and most of their faculty members became a pipeline for NONPF – The organization’s first members.


Darlene will forever be known as the heart of soul of NONPF.


Kitty – how fitting it is to present you with the first Darlene Jelinek Award for your distinguished Service to NONPF.


Catherine L. Gilliss, PhD, RN, FAAN

Helene Fuld Health Trust Professor of Nursing

Former Dean of the School of Nursing

Past President of NONPF