Mary K. Ousley Champion of Quality Award

​​​​​​​​AHCA/NCAL presents the Mary K. Ousley Champion of Quality Award to an individual that has made a significant national contribution to advancing quality performance in long term care. Recipients must consistently advocate for quality approaches and demonstrate the ability to educate and advocate for a system's approach to quality improvement. Recipients also display leadership in the development, promotion, and implementation of quality improvement initiatives that have resulted in measurable improvements in the quality of care and quality of life for individuals in long term care.​

​In 2011, the Friend of Quality Award was renamed the Mary K. Ousley Champion of Quality Award to honor the ongoing legacy and commitment to quality care dem​onstrated by its namesake, Mary Ousley, a licensed nursing center administrator and nurse who has dedicated her life to improve the quality in long term care.​​​

 Nomination Requirements

  • ​Nominations will be accepted from AHCA/NCAL members; AHCA/NCAL staff; AHCA/NCAL state affiliates; other individuals who work in the long term care field, including direct care, education, research, and resident advocacy.
  • Nominees must have made a national impact to advance quality care in the long-term care field: nursing centers, assisted living, or post-acute care.
  • Only one nomination is accepted for a candidate.  If multiple nominations are submitted for one person, the nominators will be asked to combine nominations, or the first nomination will be accepted.
  • Nominations may not be more than two pages. Nominations exceeding two pages will not be reviewed. 
  • NOTE: The nomination must clearly establish the national impact the nominee has had on advancing quality care.​​ 

 Nomination Submission Deadline: May 31, 2024

 Nominee Attributes

The following are examples of the types of contributions that are exemplified by strong candidates. Nationally recognized as any of the following:
  • A catalyst for adoption of innovative approaches that have resulted in measurable improvements in quality.
  • A leader in long term care research and/or interventions that have resulted in significant quality improvement.
  • A champion and leader of performance ​improvement at the national level in long term care: nursing centers, assisted living, and/or post-acute care.
  • An educator and advocate for systematic approaches to quality improvement.
  • An advocate for policy reform that improves the care of elderly in long term care.​

 Selection Process

  • Nominations typically due late May. 
  • June-July: The Champion of Quality workgroup meets​ via conference call to review the nominations and select the top two or three candidates.
  • Candidates are selected based on the attributes outlined above. 
  • Any candidates that do not demonstrate a significant national contribution to advancing quality performance in long-term care will not be selected
  • July: The top two or three candidates are distributed to the full Quality Improvement Committee, Mary K. Ousley and Chair of the AHCA Board of Governors for a vote. The candidate receiving a majority of the votes will be selected as the Champion of Quality recipient. 
  • July/August​: The award recipient will be notified.
  • All candidates and nominators who were not selected will be notified by AHCA staff.  ​​​​

 Past Recipients

  • Koko Okano
    Florida Health Care Association.​

  • Meera Riner
    Nexion Health Management, Inc.​

  • Dr. Nimale Stone
    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

  • Janet Snipes
    Holly Heights Nursing Center

  • Linda Kluge
    Alliant Quality

  • Maryruth Butler
    Kindred Nursing and Rehabilitation - Mountain Valley

  • Vincent Mor
    Brown University School of Public Health

  • Alice Bonner
    Executive Office of Elder Affairs, Commonwealth of Massachusetts

  • Jack Vetter
    Vetter Health Services​

  • Bernie Dana
    Evangel University 

  • Mary Jane Koren
    The Commonwealth Fund

  • Bonnie Kantor
    Pioneer Network

  • Dale Thompson
    Benedictine Health System

  • Mary K. Ousley
    Ousley and Associates

  • Barbara Baylis

  • Mary & Vivian Tellis-Nayak
    My Innerview

  • Edward McMahon
    Sunrise Senior Living