The Jonas Nursing and Veterans Healthcare National Advisory Committee and Staff connect some of the country’s most prominent advocates for healthcare investment with leaders, innovators and experts from the worlds of business, philanthropy and education. Together, they are turning their passion for improving healthcare into tangible results where it matters most.
Our Nursing Program Staff
Wanda Montalvo, PhD, RN is Executive Director of Jonas Nursing and Veterans Healthcare at Columbia University. She is a recognized national executive nurse leader in addressing health disparities in primary care by specifically working with federally qualified health centers, professional trade associations, public health and federal agencies. In 1999, she served as Northeast Cluster Director for HRSA’s National Health Disparities Collaboration (HDC) where she worked with >200 federally qualified health centers from Maine to West Virginia and Puerto Rico to improve the care of patients living with chronic conditions. In 2007, she served as Chief Program Officer at Community Health Center Association of New York State and later joined NYSHealth Foundation as Clinical Director for the NYS Diabetes Campaign. Her collaborative work to address health disparities in asthma was recognized in 1997 with a C. Everett Koop Surgeon General National Health Award and childhood obesity in 2008 with a U.S. Surgeon General Healthy Youth for a Healthy Future Champion Award. In 2015, Dr. Montalvo was the Associate Director at the Weitzman Institute, located in Connecticut, to help promote innovation in primary care through research and quality improvement.
In 2004, she was selected as a Robert Wood Johnson Executive Nurse Fellow, a transformative professional experience that emphasized the importance of leadership in nursing and lifelong learning. In 2011, the IOM Future of Nursing Report influenced her decision to pursue a doctoral education. In 2012, she began her PhD studies at Columbia University School of Nursing and was selected as a Jonas Nurse Leader Scholar. Dr. Montalvo graduated in 2015 with a research focus on leadership, organizational politics and mentoring in nursing. In 2013, her Jonas Leadership Project on how to develop transformational nurse leaders led her to host a meeting in New York City where she collaborated with several nursing organizations. The mentoring of emerging nurse leaders was selected as a key strategy and an online pledge resulted in 177 leaders pledging to identify and mentor an emerging nurse in leadership and health policy. In 2018, Dr. Montalvo was selected as a Fellow of the prestigious New York Academy of Medicine, where a diverse set of fellows across disciplines work on critical healthcare issues, she will be joining the Nursing Section.
Over the years, Dr. Montalvo has served on several federal advisory committees for the CDC, NIH and HRSA. She currently serves on the Alex & Rita Hillman Foundation Innovations In Care advisory committee. Prior advisory committee service includes Northwest Health Foundation Partners in Nursing and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Future Nurse Scholars Initiative.
Dr. Montalvo is a frequent speaker and has several peer reviewed publications. She believes nurses should leverage the use of social media to engage with and advocate for healthcare policy. One of her favorite quotes is by Anita Roddick “If you think you’re too small to have an impact, try going to bed with a mosquito.”
Althea Hicks serves as the Grants and Programs Manager for Jonas Nursing and Veterans Healthcare at Columbia University. Throughout her career, she has managed grants from various private and government organizations. She has also worked with several community based organizations to obtain funding for their programs. As a result, she is familiar with the entire realm of grants management including identifying funding opportunities, applying for and maintaining the grant, providing deliverables, and completing the closeout process.
Althea has supported a plethora of medical researchers at prestigious medical institutions by assisting them in understanding and following through the grant application process. In addition, she has worked with National Cancer Institute’s Cancer Information Service for several years providing cancer information to patients, health professionals and the general public, which provided the opportunity for her to participate as an author on publications discussing the communication of behavioral health messages. She also served on a Quality Improvement Committee for a local Home Health Care agency. These opportunities have reinforced her understanding of the importance of patient care.
Althea holds a Doctorate of Education degree from St. John’s University, along with a Master’s Degree in Public Health from the City University of New York- Hunter College and a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Health Education from Temple University.
Mary Fiore joined the Jonas Nursing and Veterans Healthcare program (JNVH) of Jonas Philanthropies in the fall of 2018 as the Development and Partnerships Manager. Mary is responsible for raising funds for this signature program, focusing on scholarship support for nursing leaders, engaging Jonas Scholar alumni, as well as developing and maintaining support from donors, partner foundations, and corporate sponsors. Mary joins JNVH after a six-year tenure at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health where she worked to create engagement programs and events for donors, prospects and alumni . Prior to joining Columbia University, she was the founder and president of Mary Fiore & Co., a firm specializing in high-level fundraising projects and engagement events. Mary has over 25 years of development experience in the non-profit sector as a program and event specialist, and has raised tens of millions of dollars for the numerous charities at which she has worked or has been fortunate to serve as clients. Mary has been a member of the Board of Directors for the Greater New York Chapter of the Association of Fund Raising Professionals, continues to serve on the committee to produce Fundraising Day in New York, and has chaired AFP’s National Philanthropy Day celebration. She is a founding board member of The Nyack Tower Fund, and holds a dual B.A. in History and Art History from Syracuse University and its Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs.
Maggie Gelwix serves as the Executive Assistant for Jonas Nursing and Veterans Healthcare. She is responsible for overseeing, coordinating, planning and organizing the day-to-day support operations for the grantmaking, financial and communication functions, and managing relationships with consultants and outside vendors. Ms. Gelwix has several years of experience serving in various managerial and administrative roles. Ms. Gelwix received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Telecommunications and Film from the University of Alabama.