Photo: Nurse smiling. Message: Over 50 years of service. Photo: Nursing graduates in caps and gowns. Message: Outstanding students. Photo: Nurse in scrubs and mask. Message: Generating nursing science. Photo: Woman reading a book. Message: Educating leaders in healthcare. Photo: Nurses reviewing a medical chart. Message: Teaching critical thinking. Photo: Nurse holding stethoscope smiling. Message: Healing our community. Photo: Nurse examining child with stethoscope. Message: Advocating for patients. Photo: Nurse graduate in cap and gown. Message: Distinguished alumni community. Photo: Nursing graduate shaking hands with faculty in cap and gown. Message: Promising graduates.

Past Distinguished Alumni Award Recipient: Pearl A. Alonzo

Photo: Pearl AlonzoClass of 2002

Pearl Alonzo received the 2007 Distinguished Alumni Award from the UNM College of Nursing. She holds the distinction for being the first Ramah Navajo community member to receive her bachelor of science degree in nursing. The Ramah Navajo community, with a population of approximately 4,000 Navajo people, is in a remote and rural area of western New Mexico, 65 miles southeast of Gallup.

In 2002, with her BSN and RN in hand, Pearl was appointed Community Health Nurse for the Pine Hill Health Center. Two years later, she became a commissioned corps officer with the Public Health Service/Indian Health Service, continuing to serve her own people in that capacity at the Health Center. The Health Center is a tribally owned and operated clinic as well as an ambulatory family practice facility, which contracts with the Indian Health Service for some of its operating income. It’s also the only source of health care, including a 24/7 ambulance service, in a 50 mile radius.

Pearl supervises the Field Health Department, consisting of five community health representatives. They make home visits to the elderly, disabled and impoverished people of the community. More than half of the population has no electricity or running water, so much of the field work involves door-to-door inquiries and word-of-mouth referrals to those in need of care. During 2006, Pearl and her staff drove more than 111,000 miles and made more than 6,000 home visits. She accommodates patients needing specialized assessments, immunizations, medical check-ups, pre- and post-natal visits and numerous other types of nursing services.

In a new leadership role with the Women’s Health Team, Pearl has worked diligently to improve the awareness of breast and cervical cancer, serving as the guiding light for a very successful “Mammography Day for Women.” Traveling to other locations within New Mexico and Colorado, she has extended the awareness of women’s health issues, resulting in the production of a video in Navajo called “Healthy Navajo Women Walk in Beauty.” Several years ago in collaboration with the UNM School of Public Health, Pearl was part of a team presenting a paper to the National Cancer Convention in Atlanta on capacity building in native communities. Pearl is a young woman who set a goal for herself, worked hard to reach it, all the while raising a family and enduring hardships. She continues to maintain an amazingly steady course.

UNM College of Nursing Alumni Facebook Badge

College of Nursing Site Search