Awards for exceptional work on behalf of ONS are presented each year at ONS’s annual Congress. This year, AnnMarie Walton, PhD, MPH, RN, OCN®, CHES, received the ONS Advocacy Award for her extraordinary efforts in promoting health policy awareness at the federal and state levels. She is a postdoctoral fellow in the University of North Carolina School of Nursing and a staff nurse on the inpatient hematology oncology unit at UNC Hospitals. 

Walton was active in advocating for the passage of HB644 in North Carolina to mandate compliance with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health recommendations. Unfortunately, the rulemaking process did not go as hoped. However, advocates in North Carolina will take up the charge again in the 2017 state legislative session. 

Walton has served as “Nurse of the Day” at the North Carolina General Assembly where was both the healthcare provider on site and received a literal seat in the well of the state chamber to watch the legislative debate. Walton has also educated legislators and staffers at the national level about the need for laws to protect healthcare workers who handle hazardous drugs. 

Walton is also active on the Nurses on Boards Coalition at the state and national level to place 10,000 nurses on boards and commissions of influence by 2020. Her research focuses on minimizing occupational exposures to carcinogens, including minimizing hazardous drug exposure for healthcare workers. She’s an American Cancer Society County Advocate, served as the legislative liaison to the Triangle Oncology Nursing Society for three years, and she speaks nationally about nurses as advocates. ONS congratulates Walton for her activism and as the 2016 Advocacy Award recipient.