Mary M. Kontos Care Champion Award

The Kontos Award, created in 2014, recognizes the contributions of nonphysician members of a care team who demonstrate a passion for excellence and commitment to care of individuals with cystic fibrosis.

The Mary M. Kontos Care Champion Award is given by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation each year to a member of a care team in recognition of distinct dedication to their work. The care team member(s) chosen for this prestigious award displays a passion for excellence, a commitment to care and advocacy for individuals with CF, and a leadership role in the CF community.

This award is given in honor of the late Mary Margaret Kontos, pediatric nurse practitioner and CF nurse coordinator who exemplified these characteristics. In addition to her devotion to people with CF, she played a key role in her center’s team functioning. She was regarded as a pioneer in advanced practice nursing and was an author of many articles about CF. She played key roles in the CF Foundation efforts to advance quality improvement locally and nationally and in its annual North American Cystic Fibrosis Conference; thus, she mentored and inspired a generation of CF nurses and care team members.

2023 Recipients

The 2023 recipients of the Kontos Award are:

Jana Yeley, NP
Program Coordinator, Nurse Practitioner
Indiana University Medical Center - Adult

Shine-Ann Pai, BSRC, RRT
Pediatric CF Respiratory Therapist Program Coordinator
Central Texas CF Program QI Coordinator
Dell Children's Medical Center of Central Texas - Pediatric

  • Nominees must have an active, ongoing affiliation with an accredited CF Care Center that will continue through the award year
  • A non-physician care team member
  • A minimum of five years of experience in CF clinical care team participation
  • Professional development demonstrated through continuing education or certification in the individual’s disciplines.
Evaluation Criteria

Each year, the award is granted to the nominee(s) who best exemplifies the following qualities and practices:

  • Demonstrates commitment to individuals with CF and strives to continually improve the quality and efficiency of clinical care processes.
  • Possesses leadership qualities as evidenced by effective communication and problem- solving skills, teamwork and developing partnerships with others both in and outside the clinical team.
  • Takes initiative to inform and educate people with CF and their families about CF and adapts teaching style and educational opportunities to individual patient/family needs. Generously shares own successes and best practices in CF clinical care. Helps educate and/or mentor clinical team members at a regional or national level on topics particular to best practices in the individual’s medical discipline or multidisciplinary team functioning. Participates on regional or national committees and projects that support the work of the CF Foundation.
  • Has a demeanor that consistently reflects enthusiasm, passion, and dedication to the CF Foundation and its mission.
Selection Process
  • A request for nominations is emailed to all CF Care Centers and Program Directors and is posted on the individual discipline listserv including patient / family list serv search spring, as well as distributed through the CF Foundation’s Community Voice and Patient/Family listserv.
  • Care teams, individuals with CF, and caregivers are encouraged to collaboratively select a nominee.
  • Nominations are submitted via an online application and should include comments or quotes from individuals with CF and families. Separate letters of support should not be submitted.
  • Nominations are evaluated by a CF Foundation committee including past Kontos recipients, adults with CF and parents of children with CF, past CF Center Director from Mary Kontos CF center, and CF Foundation staff
  • Notification about the nominee’s status will be communicated to the main contact on the application in early August.

The award recipient is announced in the fall, usually at the clinical plenary session at the North American Cystic Fibrosis Conference.

Previous Recipients

Kate Barnico, BSN,RN
CF Center Nurse Coordinator, Boston Children's Hospital

Sue Gray, MSN, RN
Adult CF Program Coordinator, MUSC Adult CF Center

Dee Acquazzino, BS
Pediatric Program Coordinator, University of Nebraska Medical Center — Pediatric

David Young, Professor of Pharmocotherapy
Intermountain Cystic Fibrosis Center, University of Utah — Adult

Jamie L. Cary, BA, CCLS
Certified Child Life Specialist, Golisano Children's Hospital Cystic Fibrosis Center

Dawn Selhorst, BS, RRT-NPS
CF Respiratory Therapist, Nemours/Al duPont Hospital for Children

Barbara Jansma, CRNP, PNP-BC
Nurse Practitioner & CF Center Co-Coordinator, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia

Kathleen Richards, RRT
Respiratory Therapist & Pulmonary Function Lab Supervisor, Intermountain Cystic Fibrosis Center

CF Nurse Practitioner & CF Learning Network Quality Improvement Consultant, Children's Hospital of Alabama

Ruth DeVoogd, MSN, CPNP-AC/PC
Advanced Practice Provider & CF Program Coordinator, Children's Hospital Colorado

Debbie Benitez, RN, MSN, ACNP-BC
Nurse Practitioner/Nurse Coordinator Anton Yelchin Cystic Fibrosis Clinic Keck, Medical Center of USC

Catherine "Katie" McDonald, PhD, RDN, CSP, Clinical Dietitian
Primary Children's Hospital, Intermountain Cystic Fibrosis Pediatric

Ginny Drapeau, BSN, RN, CCRPCF
Nurse and Clinical Research Coordinator, Connecticut Children's Medical Center

Karen Maguiness, MS, RD, CSP
Registered Dietitian
Riley at Indiana University Health

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