Wakefield Returns Home After Detour at George Mason

Posted: November 30, 2001 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Patty Snellings

When Mary Wakefield left her native state of North Dakota to accept a three-year position on Capitol Hill, she never intended to be away for almost 16 years. Following an extended stay in Washington, Wakefield came to George Mason in January 1996 as director of the Center for Health Policy, Research, and Ethics in the College of Nursing and Health Science (CNHS). Next month, she leaves George Mason and heads to the University of North Dakota to begin work in a rural health center at the Grand Forks campus.

“After all these years in the Washington, D.C., area, I’m going home,” says Wakefield. “I’m looking forward to applying what I’ve learned to my home state.” But she won’t be a stranger to George Mason. “I’m involved in several ongoing projects and will continue to serve on the CNHS advisory board and as an adjunct faculty member,” she adds.

Under her direction, the center has become a highly visible contributor to the formation of health policy at the state and federal levels through health services research. “We’ve cultivated good relationships with state legislators and congressional delegates, and our name, reputation, and what we do is out there,” she says.

“Recruiting Mary Wakefield to George Mason was a coup d’etat that has paid off both for the College of Nursing and Health Science and the university,” says CNHS Dean Rita Carty. “Mary brought the expertise and know-how to elevate the Center for Health Policy, Research, and Ethics to national and international standing while providing a framework for research in health policy, health services, and health care ethics. These accomplishments are central to our academic programs and have opened the way for faculty and students to firmly establish a research focus for the college.”

Wakefield says she is very appreciative of the support she has received from the university, calling it “an endorsement of the quality of our work,” and says the unique location of George Mason provides “an opportunity to broker information to Capitol Hill.” She describes the university as “an innovative, encouraging environment that allows you to drive yourself crazy pursuing a wide range of health policy opportunities.”

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