Announcing 2022 Queen Silvia Nursing Award Winner

Juana Gallegos Queen Silvia Nursing Award University of Washington School of Nursing 2022UW STUDENT SELECTED AS 2022 QUEEN SILVIA NURSING SCHOLAR 

UW School of Nursing student Juana Gallegos has been selected as the second United States recipient of the UW Queen Silvia Nursing Award (UWQSNA) for dementia care.   

Gallegos is a Master of Nursing student in the UW Tacoma School of Nursing & Healthcare Leadership. The Tacoma campus’s nursing degrees are accredited as part of the tri-campus UW School of Nursing.

Gallegos’s idea involves a smart video app that uses AI to interface with an individual living with dementia by learning trusted family members’ pre-recorded responses. Individuals living with dementia will be able to ask questions and receive immediate responses from their AI family member, which can contribute to increased feelings of assuredness about the care they receive.

“This progressive idea has incredible potential for harnessing the power of technology to reorient and enhance interactions between individuals living with dementia and their healthcare team and family members. Being able to hear voices from loved ones more frequently can provide familiarity and comfort for individuals living with dementia in an environment that can oftentimes be disorienting and anxiety-provoking.”” said Azita Emami, Executive Dean of the UW School of Nursing.


The QSNA was established by Swedish Care International in 2013 as a birthday gift for Her Majesty (HM) Queen Silvia in recognition of her long-term commitment and dedication to elderly care and the quality of nursing for people with dementia. The award featured innovative ideas and solutions to improve quality of care for older adults and people living with dementia. 

Last year was the first time the award was open to nursing students in the United States. The launch of the UWQSNA in the US in 2020 coincided with the World Health Organization’s celebration of International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife in honor of the 200th anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale. Last year’s winning idea by Brooke Tamble involved developing an interactive app to address the daily needs, memory loss, isolation from family, and the need for mental stimulation during the COVID-19 pandemic.  


Dementia is a profoundly challenging health care issue that affects an estimated 5 million people in the US, cared for by 15 million family and/or friend care partners. There is no known cure. The impact of dementia is personal, emotional, economic, and systemic. 

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on older adults with dementia, especially those in memory or other care facilities, has drawn increasing concern from healthcare providers, caregivers, and family members. Those who live with dementia suffer acutely from isolation, disruption to their daily routines, and confusion when care and communication are moved online. Additionally, this population is at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19, as they tend to be older adults and often have severe underlying medical conditions. 


The UW School of Nursing has long ties to Sweden. Before joining UW, Executive Dean Azita Emami was an endowed professor in elderly care research at Sweden’s Karolinska Institute (KI). In 2019, UW and KI signed an agreement to strengthen collaboration in teaching and research areas impacting population health. The five-year agreement details a range of possible collaborative projects and activities to explore, including faculty and student exchanges, joint research activities, and individual faculty partnerships.