Why we're celebrating Mattia Gilmartin (PhD `99), Cassie O'Malley (BSN `11), and Dawn Jones (BSN `89)

Gilmartin Distinguished Alumni Award

Honoring outstanding contributions to the nursing profession
Mattia Gilmartin (PhD ‘99)
Executive Director, Nurses Improving Care for Healthsystem Elders (NICHE)
New York University’s Rory Meyers College of Nursing

Named NICHE’s executive director in 2016, Mattia Gilmartin has more than two decades of first-hand experience as a clinician, researcher, and teacher, and joined New York University’s College of Nursing as a senior research scientist in 2011.

Established a quarter century ago, NICHE provides principles and tools to stimulate change in clinical practice to ensure that patients 65 and older receive sensitive and exemplary care. Based at NYU’s Meyers College of Nursing, NICHE partners with more than 500 hospitals and healthcare facilities throughout North America and, under Gilmartin’s leadership, has become the leading nurse-driven program helping hospitals and healthcare organizations improve the care of older adults.

Gilmartin’s ability to bridge the worlds of research and practice has fortified her ability to design and teach leadership and organizational development programs for nursing and general management audiences. Before joining the NYU faculty, Gilmartin managed an interdisciplinary research group at INSEAD, a leading French business school, and designed and implemented a three-semester specialty track for Hunter-Bellevue School of Nursing’s Clinical Nurse Leader master’s program.

In addition to earning a PhD in nursing from UVA, Gilmartin earned a bachelors and master’s degree in nursing, as well as an MBA, from the University of San Francisco. She completed a post-doctoral fellowship at Cambridge University’s Judge School of Management and, in 2000, received the Raven Award for outstanding achievement and service to UVA.   

Chair for the Academy of Management’s Health Care Management Division, and a Fellow of the New York Academy of Medicine and the National Academies of Practice, Gilmartin was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing in 2018.


Cassie-OMalley Decade Award

Recognizing a recent graduate’s outstanding nursing career
Catherine O’Malley (BSN ‘11)
Program Director, New Graduate Residency and Nursing Retention
University of Maryland Medical Center

When Cassie O’Malley began a career as an oncology nurse at the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC) after graduating from UVA, it wasn’t long before she was tapped to be nurse manager for the Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center Stoler Pavilion’s Outpatient Oncology unit, at the helm of 80 employees. That’s no surprise to O’Malley’s nominators, who recall the passion and drive of the Daisy Award recipient who was recently named program director of UMMC’s New Graduate Residency and Nursing Retention.  

According to nominators Page Dunbar (BSN ’11, MSN ’17) and Katelyn Overstreet Rybicki (BSN ’11, MSN ’16, DNP ‘17), “not only is Cassie an exceptional student in the classroom, she is clearly a compassionate and skilled clinician in the healthcare setting.” Dunbar and Rybicki both recall O’Malley “coming back from her practicum experience in the Emily Couric Cancer Center during her fourth year and describing how oncology nursing was her passion, so it was no surprise to see her flourish in this specialty area.”

O’Malley earned an MSN from the University of Maryland, Baltimore, where she is currently pursuing a Doctor of Nursing Practice and doing work focused on the retention and resilience of new graduate nurses through the creation of retention workgroups and mentorship programs. For her final capstone project, O’Malley is implementing an Oncology Evaluation and Treatment Center pilot program within the Cancer Center, focusing on urgent symptom care management to reduce emergency department use and readmission geared for oncology patients at UMMC. 


“The most important lesson the UVA School of Nursing taught me is to care—whatever the context. Nursing is part of who I am, not just what I did, and it’s been pivotal to the legal work I’ve done and continue to do.”

Attorney and nurse Dawn Jones, winner of the Alumni Achievement Award for 2018

Dawn-Jones Alumni Achievement Award

Honoring alumni who have shown superior achievement in a field other than nursing
Dawn M. Jones (BSN ‘89)
Attorney, the Firm of Dawn M. Jones, LLC 

After graduating from UVA, Dawn Jones spent 14 years as a critical care nurse across a variety of urban ICU settings before starting a second career in law. Formerly a senior attorney at King & Spalding, and associate general counsel for Atlanta-based Grady Health System, Jones established her own firm in 2014 to combine her love of nursing, medicine, and science with the practice of law. Today, Jones works on behalf of clients and families who’ve suffered injuries due to malpractice, slips, trips, and falls, car accidents, trucking collisions, nursing home negligence, wrongful death, and other tort-related matters.  

“The most important lesson the UVA School of Nursing taught me is to care—whatever the context,” says Jones. “Nursing is part of who I am, not just what I did, and it’s been pivotal to the legal work I’ve done and continue to do.”

Active in local and state bar and non-profit activities, Jones is a sought-after speaker on expert witnesses, product liability, nursing and physician malpractice, and professionalism to audiences throughout Georgia. Repeatedly lauded for her service and dedication to the legal profession and to the community at large, Jones received the 2015 Thomas R. Burnside Excellence in Bar Leadership Award from the Georgia State Bar, the 2012 Attorney A. T. Walden Legacy Award from the Gate City Bar Association Judicial Section, the 2012 Leadership Award from the Atlanta Bar Association, the 2010 Barbara A. Harris Award for Service to the Community from the Georgia Association of Black Women Attorneys, the 2010 R. Pruden Herndon Service Award from the Gate City Bar Association, and the 2010 Seth D. Kirschenbaum Diversity Award from the Multi-Bar Leadership Council, among others.

Jones—who earned a BSN from UVA in 1989—earned a law degree from Georgia State University College of Law and an MSN from Georgetown University, where she was a student of Dean Fontaine’s. She has served on the School’s Advisory Board since 2016.