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.