Cheryll A. Jones has dedicated her long career to championing the role of nurse practitioners, advocating for children's health care, and helping others through her committed involvement in service organizations.
A native Iowan, Jones received a B.S. from the University of Iowa College of Nursing in 1969, followed by a certificate from the UI Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Program in 1973. Today, she is a health services coordinator for the Ottumwa Regional Center, one of the University of Iowa Children's Hospital's Child Health Specialty Clinics throughout the state.
As an advanced practice nurse for 35 years—and one of Iowa's first pediatric nurse practitioners—Jones has practiced, taught, and mentored students, and advocated to enhance the role of nurses within the medical profession. The fact that Iowa is today considered to be one of the most advanced states in the nation in the professional role of nurse practitioners is due in great measure to Jones's significant efforts in advancing this cause.
The UI graduate's most heartfelt role is as an advocate for young people. Jones has worked tirelessly to improve medical care for Iowa children, particularly those with special health care needs. One UI pediatrics medical expert said of Jones's work, "When you talk about quality medical care for children in the state of Iowa, you cannot do so without mentioning Cheryll Jones." Her work contributed significantly to the fact that Iowa recently ranked as the number one state in the nation for its services to children.
Jones's lifetime dedication to this cause is evidenced by numerous awards and honors, from a 1979 March of Dimes Nurse of the Year Award for contributions to maternal and child health in Iowa, to a 1992 Outstanding Volunteer Award from the Iowa Chapter National Committee for the Prevention of Child Abuse, to a 2004 American Academy of Nurse Practitioners State Award for Excellence—and many others in between.
Committed to ensuring that improvements to rural and children's health care are long lasting, Jones has served on national, state, and regional organizations advocating for better health care delivery, and she is currently a working member of 11 state or governmental committees, including the Iowa Board of Health.
She is an original member of Iowa Senator Tom Harkin's Nurses Advisory Committee (NAC), established in 1985 to provide guidance in shaping statewide health policy. Most recently, she has been appointed by Iowa Governor Chet Culver to the Public Health Work Group of the Recovery Iowa Commission, to the Prevention of Disabilities Council, and to the Governor's Task Force on Nursing. In all of these roles, she has helped to write legislation, rules, and regulations that will have a positive impact on the future of health care for Iowans.
Senator Tom Harkin says of Jones, "I respect Cheryll as one of the most dedicated, thoughtful advocates for rural healthcare and children's health that I have met. She has dedicated herself to broadening access to quality health care for all citizens, especially in our rural communities."
The University of Iowa is honored to recognize Cheryll Jones for her exemplary and caring record of service, activism, and advocacy.
Jones is a member of the UI Alumni Association's Old Capitol Club.