Marie Palermo began her career as a trauma nurse in the 1980s. As she watched a steady stream of patients move through the emergency room with serious injuries day in and day out, she became increasingly troubled by a slew of work-related issues that appeared to be easily preventable.
A self-described “big-picture person,” these experiences motivated Palermo to identify the underlying causes of workplace injuries and dedicate her vocation to occupational health nursing with an emphasis on prevention.
After years forging a path in what was then an emerging professional sector in clinical nursing, and various positions in risk management, safety and insurance spheres, Palermo made her way to MITRE’s Bedford, Massachusetts, campus in 2021. She’s now the senior manager of occupational health and wellness programs.
Palermo is a registered nurse, a certified case manager, and certified occupational health nurse-specialist with a bachelor's in management from Lesley University. She brings to MITRE the same optimism she began her career with—believing the workplace can and should “offer a healthful, safe, and productive, environment for all employees.”
Marie is beyond dedicated to MITRE and her craft as a preeminent expert in occupational health.
Her commitment to the profession was recently recognized by the Massachusetts Association of Occupational Health Nurses (MaAOHN), where Palermo serves as vice president. In December, she received the Dorothy Reid Lifetime Achievement Award—an accolade granted to outstanding leaders in the field.
The award reads: “Marie’s leadership skills include her ability to listen, establish trust, maintain a vision for occupational health, and demonstrate integrity and consistency in care.”
MITRE’s Director for Total Rewards and Wellbeing, Phil Abrams, echoes MaAOHN’s sentiments. “This award could not have gone to a more deserving individual,” he says. “Marie is beyond dedicated to MITRE and her craft as a preeminent expert in occupational health.”
A Well-Informed Lens into Employee Health
Palermo manages four on-site nurses and administrators in the company’s Bedford and McLean, Virginia, clinics, where a confidential, open-door policy is maintained.
From emergency triage to critical assessment of injury or illness, providing immediate clinical treatment, or referring employees out to specialists, Palermo, and her team of nurses provide an extensive spectrum of healthcare and wellness needs.
In addition to a variety of occupational clinical duties and programs, the team offers resources to promote wellness. Palermo designates their most critical function as being health advocates who maintain confidentiality and professionalism. It’s a happy medium achieved through objective assessments and clinical evaluations of every employee who walks through their clinic doors.
“It goes beyond the injury or issue that gets presented to us. We look at each person holistically and explore risk factors and solutions meeting the employees' specific needs,” she says. “For most, prevention of illness begins with health and wellness education.”
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