Dr. Marie Hilliard is an individual of extraordinary learning and academic experience. She has a nursing degree, a Masters in Maternal Child Health Nursing, a Masters in bioethics, and is a licentiate in canon law and a Ph.D. in Professional (Nursing) Higher Education Administration.

She is also a retired Colonel of the Army Reserves and has contributed to the provision of health care globally through the services offered by the Army Reserves at times of crisis.

She regulated over 62,000 licensed nurses when she was the Executive Officer of the Connecticut Board of Examiners for Nursing and was the lobbyist for the Connecticut Catholic Conference to attempt to ensure that state laws fully respected the dignity of the human person from conception until natural death.

In her most recent professional role, she was the Director of Bioethics and Public Policy at The National Catholic Bioethics Center which provides ethics counsel domestically and to various Catholic organizations around the world as well as official offices of the Catholic Church in Rome. The Center is a research and education Center dealing with ethical issues arising from developments in medicine and the life sciences. Through its auspices Marie has published and lectured extensively.

Marie was responsible for the education of hundreds of nurses through her time as the tenured division director of St. Joseph University nursing program (Connecticut) and other health care professionals as an adjunct faculty member of the University of Connecticut School of Medicine. She has had an impact on global health as the chair of the Ethics Committee of the International Catholic Committee of Nurses and Medico-Social Assistants (CICIAMS) which has status as a consultant to the World Health Organization and is an NGO with representation at the United Nations.

Through such licensing and educational activities of nurses, Marie has helped bring the healing of modern medicine to countless individuals throughout the world.

Marie is also a member of the Sovereign Military and Hospitaller Order of St. John of Jerusalem, of Rhodes and of Malta, one of the largest international relief agencies in the world. The Order dates from the early Middle Ages and was perhaps the earliest association to begin providing organized health care, first to pilgrims to the Middle East and today to wherever there is a need.

Marie also oversaw the consultation services of The National Catholic Bioethics Center which provides free consultation services on ethical issues in health care 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Furthermore, the Center provides ethics consultation to the Order of Malta as well as Catholic Relief Services, another major international relief agency. In fact, when the Order of Malta responds to global crises, such as the earthquake in Haiti in 2010, its health care professionals will not infrequently contact The National Catholic Bioethics Center for ethical guidance. Marie has always been actively involved in such consultations.

Despite her many academic degrees, teaching positions, and military rank, Marie has always been first and foremost – a nurse.

When difficult medical ethical questions would come to the Center where Marie was Director of Bioethics and Public Policy, she would immediately take on the persona of an engaged nurse. These are never abstract, theoretical questions that she dealt with. She would always become personally involved with the person seeking guidance and would compassionately accompany them in their struggle.

She also provides volunteer services to retired sisters in the Philadelphia area and is constantly concerned with their well-being. Indeed, her co-workers at The National Catholic Bioethics Center could not avoid her solicitude if they ever became ill, required medical attention – or even simply did not look well on a given day! Marie’s personal and professional self-understanding and her relating to all those around her was always and thoroughly as a nurse, ready always to bring advice, counsel and more direct nursing interventions if appropriate.

Nurses With Global Impact is deeply honored to recognize Marie at the International Nurses Day at the United Nations, May 11, 2018.