By Sharla Hooper
Award recognizes Dr. Sun Jones’ community contributions and advocacy during the pandemic
University of Phoenix College of Nursing faculty Sun Jones, DNP, RN, FNP-BC, who serves as the Systematic Plan for Evaluation and Curriculum leader, was recognized along with her sister, Sun Wright, DNP, FNP-C, as recipients of the Arizona Governor’s Volunteer Service Pandemic Response Award, for their work organizing COVID-19 vaccination clinics serving Arizona minority communities during the pandemic, at the 19th Annual Governor’s Volunteer Service Awards event held on Monday, May 2 by the Governor’s Office of Youth, Faith and Family (GOYFF).
Presented in partnership with the Governor's Commission on Service and Volunteerism, the Volunteer Service Awards recognize individuals and groups committed to meeting critical needs in Arizona communities through service and volunteerism. Awards were given for the following categories: Lifetime Achievement (25+ years of service), Inspired Adult Leadership, Inspired Youth Leadership, Group/Business Service to Community, AmeriCorps Member/Volunteer, and Pandemic Response.
“As a family nurse practitioner, I saw the challenges my Korean community members experienced in accessing healthcare, especially with the COVID-19 vaccination in the early months of this year, and I had to take action,” states Jones.
Underserved Asian and Hispanic communities in need of COVID-19 vaccines were challenged by language and technology barriers in early 2021. Jones initiated an effort by writing a letter to the Governor’s office and reached out to the Maricopa County Department of Public Health (MCDPH) with help from her sister, a family nurse practitioner at the MCDPH, to explain the needs of the Arizona minority communities in receiving COVID-19 vaccines and provide solutions to reach those minority community members. Jones helped coordinate the effort by creating an easy access registration form in different languages, identifying vaccine administration sites at local supermarkets frequented by community members, and provided translations to explain the vaccine information.
With the collaboration of minority communities’ leaders, 10 vaccination clinics were organized and provided vaccines to more than 2,300 community members. Communities served and translations provided included the following: Korean, Chinese, Tai, Lao, Pacific Islanders/Native Hawaiian, Vietnamese, Filipino, Indian and Hispanic/Latino.
“Dr. Jones’ heart for nursing and community guided her to take action and save lives,” shares Raelene Brooks, Ph.D., RN, dean of College of Nursing at University of Phoenix. “This award helps shine a light on so much of the challenging work and individual passion that helps public health measures succeed and save lives.”
In 2020, at the onset of the pandemic when personal protective equipment was much needed and in extreme shortage, Jones, a founding member of the Arizona Korean Nurses Association and then president of the Overseas Korean Nurses Association, coordinated an effort with 12 state associations and a team of international volunteers to distribute an order of over 20,000 KN-95 masks that had been donated by the Korean Nurses Association in South Korea to nurses working in the frontline.
Jones has 27 years of nursing experience and has been a family nurse practioner for 21 years. She earned her Doctor of Nursing Practice at Arizona State University in 2010.
Jones has been a faculty member with the University of Phoenix since 2011.
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