Norma Small Outstanding Coordinator Leadership Award

Recognizing a distinguished Health Ministries Coordinator, HMA Member, who directs a regional network or program within a health system.  The nominee demonstrates a resourcefulness to implement change through significant innovative teaching strategies which respond to diverse needs within faith communities and health systems.  This award was established in 2018 to be given in honor and memory of Norma Small, PhD, RN.

Nomination Form


*Nominations for 2019 are now closed.

Awards Criteria

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  • A pro-active leader responsive to the health care needs of faith communities and the community at large.
  • Demonstrates resourcefulness and a creative approach to implement change and ongoing transformation while working with health ministry networks.
  • Recognized for leadership skills when engaging faith community members, health care ministry team members and health care professionals in conceptually transforming whole-person approaches within health care.
  • Demonstrates leadership as an HMA Member in good standing.
  • If a nurse, membership in the American Nurses Association (ANA) preferred but not required.
  • Demonstrates a pro-active response to health care needs of faith communities and the community at large.
  • Advances health ministry knowledge through coordinating documentation and data retrieval among health ministry networks.
  • Demonstrates professional competency and leadership through participative ongoing education.

Susan Taylor, RN – 2019 Norma Small Outstanding Coordinator Leadership Award

Susan Taylor’s leadership role in Health Ministry began in 1993 with the local Mercy Hospitals, now part of Dignity Health. She was a founding member of the Nor Cal FCN Education Network, established in 1999 to provide education and support to FCNs in Northern CA. Susan coordinates Dignity Health’s Mercy Faith and Health Partnership for the Greater Sacramento Service Area. Also, under her leadership the Greater Sacramento Health Ministry Network was established as an independent 501(c)(3). This Network provides meetings, workshops and seminars for the region.

Susan and another Nor Cal founding member, Sylvia Miller, co-authored “A Documentation Approach for Faith Community Nursing” which was published in Creative Nursing in 2010. Susan currently teaches documentation content in Foundations of Faith Community Nursing courses. She also served on the HMA Documentation task force.

Susan is a lifetime member of HMA; she has served in national HMA leadership roles for nearly a decade, most recently as Vice President. In this role Susan served on the executive committee and spearheaded the work resulting in the development of many of HMA’s policies and procedures. Susan was part of the leadership team with Norma Small that recommended structural changes for the HMA Board of Directors which were adopted in 2011.

Susan is active in her local faith community, St. John’s Lutheran Church in Sacramento. She serves on the Congregational Care Team as a Faith Community Nurse and as a Stephen Leader.


Cynthia Wacker, MSN/Ed, RN – 2018 Norma Small Outstanding Coordinator Leadership Award

Cynthia Wacker, MSN/Ed, RN has been selected as the recipient of the 2018 Norma Small Outstanding Coordinator Leadership Award which is given for the first time this year by the Health Ministries Association.

As a pastoral nurse at Northern Churches Care, a consortium of churches in Colorado Springs, Cynthia addressed a broad range of social, emotional, health and spiritual needs of low-income people, and built a foundation for her innovative work.  Since 2007 she has served as the Community Outreach Coordinator for Ministry and Mission of Penrose-St. Francis Health Services.  She manages a team of five Faith Community Nurses (FCN) serving seven community-based agencies.

Cynthia was instrumental in developing Penrose’ s Healthy Church Initiative, helping faith communities throughout the Pikes Peak region become more adept in identifying and addressing physical and spiritual health needs of members. Her leadership responsibilities recently expanded and she is now interim director for Mission and Ministry, with oversight of the chaplains at Penrose Hospital and St. Francis Medical Center.

When Penrose-St. Francis received a Magnet designation for excellence in nursing from the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), the FCN program received special mention as an innovative program.  Her program has implemented immunization programs for difficult-to-reach populations through collaborations with Emory University and the county health department.  For the past two years the nurses have received grants from a community foundation, recognizing the important contribution of their work on behalf of the medically-underserved.

Cynthia serves on numerous community boards.  Cynthia has done presentations to national groups including the American Public Health Association, the Association of Community Health Nurse Educators, the Health Ministries Association, and the Westberg Symposium.  Her personal warmth and compassion are key elements of her success in developing a strong team, where mutual support through teamwork and prayer help them be in relationship with individuals and families experiencing crisis and loss of hope.