U.S. Rep. Lois Capps (D-Calif.), RN, BSN, MA, will be presented the 2014 Diane F. Cooper Lifetime Achievement Award June 27 during Nurse.coms Nursing Excellence Awards Gala for the California Region at the Hilton Los Angeles/Universal City.
As an RN and congresswoman, Lois Capps has represented Californias Central Coast since being sworn in as a member of the 105th Congress in 1998. A respected and effective leader in Congress, especially on issues related to public health, she is committed to helping people improve their daily lives through quality healthcare, a cleaner environment and better schools.
She has successfully spearheaded and passed legislation to address the national nursing shortage, improve mental health services, curb underage drinking, provide emergency defibrillators to local communities, detect and prevent domestic violence against women, bring CPR instruction to schools, and improve Medicare coverage for patients suffering from Lou Gehrigs disease. She has been at the forefront of work to protect the environment, heading efforts to prevent new oil and gas drilling off the California coast and on public lands and to protect consumers from shouldering the financial burden of cleaning up water pollution in their water supply.
Capps extensive healthcare background informs her work in Congress, where she founded and serves as the co-chair of the House Nursing Caucus. She also serves as co-chair of the Congressional Heart and Stroke Coalition, the House Cancer Caucus and the Congressional School Health and Safety Caucus, among others. She also serves on the powerful Committee on Energy and Commerce and sits on the Health, Energy and Power, and Environment and the Economy subcommittees, where she focuses on Medicare reform, the nursing shortage, cancer, mental health, the protection of air and water and more.
During her 20-year tenure as a nurse and public health advocate for the Santa Barbara school district, thousands of Santa Barbaras children and families benefited from her personal care and leadership. Capps founded and served as the director of Santa Barbara Countys Teenage Pregnancy and Parenting Project and the Parent and Child Enrichment Center, where she supported countless young parents and encouraged them to stay in school, while providing them with critical child development skills to ensure that their children would grow up in healthy, loving environments.
A graduate of Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Wash., with a BSN with honors, she worked as a nursing instructor in Oregon and later earned an MA in religion from Yale University in New Haven, Conn., while working as head nurse at Yale New Haven Hospital. She also earned an MA in education from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and she is the recipient of honorary doctorates from Pacific Lutheran University and Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary.