Mary Lee Bell, MPA, BSN, RN, RN‑C of Seattle received her Bache­lors of Science in Nursing from the Univer­sity of Washington and her Masters in Public Admin­is­tra­tion from Seattle Univer­sity. She is nation­ally certi­fied by ANA in Nursing Admin­is­tra­tion and has a certifi­cate in Commu­nity Mental Health Systems from the Univer­sity of Washington. Mary Lee has been a committed member of WSNA for over thirty years.

Mary Lee provided Public Health nursing services to high risk, low income families for 39 years and for the past 15 years, Mary Lee has been Personal Health Services super­visor for more than thirty Public Health nurses, regis­tered nurses, nutri­tion­ists, and social workers for the Seattle-King County Depart­ment of Public Health. Prior to her recent retire­ment, she nurtured, devel­oped, and enhanced several commu­nity projects, including the teen parent project, Children with Special Health Care Needs, the City Child Care Program, Women Infant and Children supple­mental nutri­tion programs, Mater­nity Support Services, Mater­nity Case Manage­ment, and Senior Services.

Mary Lee was known for nurturing and devel­oping leader­ship skills in her nurses and made sure everyone had the oppor­tu­nity to learn, to lead, and to experi­ence new ideas and projects. She taught hundreds of Public Health Nurses how to provide compe­tent, cultur­ally appro­priate care and promoted diver­sity in the workplace by hiring minority nurses that were reflec­tive of the commu­ni­ties they served. She exuded a quiet strength in support of her staff and found the time for the smallest to the greatest events in the careers of her nurses.

Mary Lee taught and modeled a leader­ship of empow­er­ment with a belief in the core princi­ples of nursing. She encour­aged nurses to work toward further educa­tion and devel­op­ment. As a result, most of her staff have become active leaders in the programs and commu­ni­ties they serve and her programs continue to stand alone in quality.

Region X was constantly looking at methods to stream­line nursing case manage­ment and document flow. Mary Lee made sure her staff were aware, involved, and instru­mental in making the needed changes required by the state and federal block grants. She gave the nurses all the time and support they needed to do their jobs well and never separated herself from the change process. She worked closely with the Region X Standards to imple­ment the changes needed throughout the Health Depart­ment by providing an atmos­phere of profes­sional support that brought out the best in everyone without excluding anyone’s contribution.

Mary Lee is also a quiet force on several commu­nity boards. Recently she served on the South­east Seattle Economic Devel­op­ment Board to help promote quality health centers, housing and economic devel­op­ment for families in South­east Seattle.

Mary Lee is a strong patient advocate, especially of adoles­cents and pregnant teens. She promoted legis­la­tion that would allow them to remain in their public schools. She’s worked tirelessly for laws to protect public health, to prevent child abuse, and to control commu­ni­cable diseases.

It’s amazing the number of changes and programs Mary Lee has juggled in the past several years. She speaks of her love for nursing, public health and her commu­ni­ties. This is where her heart is-in nursing and the differ­ence it makes in individual as well as commu­nity lives.