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Past Distinguished Alumni Award Recipient: Patricia Montoya

Photo: Patricia MontoyaClass of 1975

Patricia Montoya received the 1999 UNM College of Nursing Distinguished Alumni Award. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree in 1975 and a Master of Public Administration in Health Administration degree in 1983 at the University of New Mexico.

Patricia began her career as a pediatric school nurse. She eventually went on to serve as the Regional Director of the Health and Human Services office in Dallas as a presidential appointee under President Bill Clinton and as the Commissioner for Children, Youth and Families in Washington, DC. She was also the Cabinet Secretary of the New Mexico Department of Health under Governor Bill Richardson. Currently, Patricia is the Project Director for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Aligning Forces for Quality in Albuquerque, NM, as well as President of the New Mexico Center for Nursing Excellence.

Patricia has won various awards over the years in recognition of her loyalty and service to rural health and her commitment to reducing health disparities, including the National Hispanic Nurses Leadership Award. Patricia has dedicated her career to improving the health of children and families and always maintained a focused interest in improving health care access and reducing inequities.

She has volunteered her time and talent to numerous boards over her career. Patricia was one of the founding members of the Hispanic Nurses Association in New Mexico in the early 1990s. She was on the national board of the Mexican American National Association for Women and is currently serving as President of Con Alma Health Board. For many years, she has been an active member of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing. In addition to all of this, Patricia has been involved in the Democratic Party and has worked on various campaigns, from city council, mayor, state legislature, and governor to several presidential campaigns.

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