By DON McINTOSH
Oregon Nurses Association has hired a new executive director following an eight-month nationwide search. Anne Tan Piazza, 51, started at ONA in April after nearly 25 years at the Washington State Nurses Association, where she led on health policy and political advocacy and served as assistant executive director.
Born in Shanghai, her parents both doctors, she emigrated to the United States with her family in 1980 and settled in the Midwest. After earning a degree in political science from Grinnell College in Iowa, her first job was as a canvasser and later lobbyist for Minnesota Citizens Organized Acting Together, an organization founded by Minnesota senator Paul Wellstone that advocated for a single-payer health system.
Now she’ll serve 15,000 nurses and health care professionals across Oregon, at a time of crisis in the profession.
“Nurses feel like they are pushed to the limits,” she told the Labor Press. “And some of them have to make some very heartbreaking choices to to leave their work as a nurse. For employers to simply say, ‘Well, there’s a nursing shortage, there’s nothing we can do about staffing,’ is a concept that I absolutely do not accept. I believe very strongly that it’s a shortage of nurses willing to work at the bedside under the current conditions that are unsafe for our nurses, and unsafe for our patients.
“This is a nurse-led organization,” Tan Piazza said. “Nurses are leading the way for safe, quality care for patients. Nurses are leading the way for health equity so that people’s zip code doesn’t dictate their life expectancy more than their genetic code.”
At the end of June, she and her husband Angelo and their children, 11 and 15, will move from Seattle to Wilsonville, near ONA’s Tualatin headquarters.