Vera Waltman Mayer, Esq., who served as a consumer member on the DC Board of Nursing from 2003 through 2009, describes her tenure as “an enormous learning experience and a great joy.” Vera will be missed at Board meetings. Ms. Mayer’s contribution to the Board, and to the DC community, have been truly outstanding. In addition to retiring from the Board this year, Ms. Mayer is also retiring from her position as Senior Advocate at Iona Senior Services Center here in the District.
DC NURSE would like to publicly thank Ms. Mayer for all her hard work toward ensuring the health and wellbeing of seniors in DC. When she was awarded the “Public Citizen of the Year” award by the DC Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers in 2009, the organization described Ms. Mayer as “the epitome of a true and sincere champion of the under-served and vulnerable.”
DC NURSE: What has been the most memorable or meaningful thing that has happened during your tenure as a member of the DC Board of Nursing?
VERA MAYER: The recent work of the Coalition [DC Coalition on Long Term Care] with the Board of Nursing to create a model for the training of Nursing Assistive Personnel in a wide range of vital healthcare settings. This model, when implemented, will improve the training of these important workers and it will give them an opportunity to advance and acquire additional skills which are desperately needed in our community to improve and maintain health and wellbeing. I think when the Board promulgates these rules, it will be the first of its kind in the country to include training for Nursing Assistive Personnel in a wide range of healthcare settings.
DC NURSE: What is something people don’t know about you?
VERA MAYER: I was born on April 1, 1931, in New York City and, therefore, did not learn to drive until I was 35 years of age. I graduated from the University of Chicago with a master’s degree and thought I wanted to do research in history. I got a job researching a book on civil rights with a wonderful history professor, but I soon realized I wanted to work with people and on current public policy. This led me to work for the Congress, for the Senate Subcommittee on Anti-Trust and Monopoly, and subsequently with public interest groups on Medicare, the minimum wage and migrant farm labor.
Accomplishments at a Glance
Awards: June 2007, DC Primary Care Association “Never Say Die Award” in recognition of superlative persistence in advocacy and dedication to the District’s health care community; May 2004, Laura Lisner Award, for enhancement of the quality of life of the aging population of the District of Columbia; November 2000, Mid- Atlantic Non-Profit Healthcare Association (MANPHA) for skill in knitting together networks and coalitions into powerful coalitions to improve the quality of life of others; April 2009, Public Citizen of the Year, National Association of Social Workers, DC Chapter.
Recent Positions: Coordinator, DC Coalition on Long-Term Care: organized consumers, advocates and health care providers to work with the District on expanded options for long term care services for low-income District residents with chronic care needs; Senior Advocate, IONA Senior Services: developed and sought implementation of public policies and programs to advance the health and wellbeing of seniors in the District; Consumer Member, District Board of Nursing: represented consumer interests in rule making and the disciplining of nurses; Biomedical Ethics Consultant to the Probate Division, DC Superior Court: led interdisciplinary team in the investigation and analysis of biomedical ethical problems in guardianship cases when requested by judges; Board Member, Disability Rights Council of Greater Washington: develop strategies to further the implementation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Past Positions: Northwest DC Long Term Care Ombudsman (1987-1995); Staff member, DC Superior Court Multi-Door (1984-1985); Mediator, DC Superior Court Citizens Complaint Center (1981-1984); Staff Attorney, Neighborhood Legal Services, (1966-1967); Executive Director, Physicians Committee for Health Care through Social Security (1962- 1964); Executive Director, National Consumers League (1958-1961); Staff Member, Senate Subcommittee on Anti-Trust and Monopoly (1956- 1958).
Education: Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees, University of Chicago; Law Degree, the George Washington University Law School.
This article was originally published in the District of Columbia NURSE Magazine, Vol. 7, No. 1, January 2010. View it here.