Holding considerable expertise in nursing administration, neonatal nursing, mental health advocacy, and nursing education, Margaret Lou Moore Konefal Gallagher, PhD, RN, attributes much of her success to the example set by her parents, particularly her father, Dr. James Moore, who was a military physician who attained the rank of brigadier general. Embarking on her studies at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, from 1958 to 1960, she earned a Bachelor of Science in nursing at the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, Texas, in 1961. She subsequently obtained a Master of Science in nursing from the Catholic University of America in 1969 and began her career as a clinical nurse specialist and clinical coordinator of newborn services at the Children’s National Hospital in 1972.
A certified nurse administrator and registered nurse, Dr. Gallagher became the associate director of nursing at the Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters in 1977 and an assistant professor at Norfolk State University in Norfolk, Virginia, in 1982. During her tenure at Norfolk State, she furthered her studies at Old Dominion University, graduating with a Doctor of Philosophy in urban services in 1991. She went on to serve as the director of critical care nursing at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio; an adjunct faculty member at the Ohio State University; the director of Memorial Children’s Hospital in Savannah, Georgia; and the director of clinical education and performance development for the Memorial Healthcare System between 1991 and 1997.
Establishing herself in Houston, Texas, Dr. Gallagher was the administrative director for pediatrics at the Child and Adolescent Center of the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center from 1997 to 1999 and the senior manager and health care industry leader of internal audit services for the Gulf Coast area for Ernst & Young LLP from 1999 to 2000. From 2000 to 2006, she was the director of the women and infant services at Ben Taub Hospital, later serving as the associate chief nursing officer from 2006 to 2008. From 2008 until her retirement in 2012, she was the principal with Margaret Gallagher and Associates Healthcare Consulting and also spent time as adjunct faculty at Texas Woman’s University from 2009 to 2011.
Having accomplished much over the course of her career, Dr. Gallagher is particularly proud of having expanded the Resource Mothers Program to reduce infant mortality among pregnant teenagers and establishing a family centered program at the MD Anderson Cancer Center. She has also done work with NAMI Homefront, a program with the National Alliance on Mental Illness designed to help caregivers and friends of military service members and veterans struggling with mental illness. In order to keep abreast of developments in her field, she maintained professional affiliation with the American Nurses Association, the American College of Healthcare Executives, the Houston Organization of Nurse Executives, the National Association of Neonatal Nurses, the National Perinatal Association and the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetrics and Neonatal Nurses.
Over the course of her career and education, Dr. Gallagher was deeply impacted by the people who supported her. She is deeply grateful to Lillian Williams, a nurse administrator who set an example of excellence and taught Dr. Gallagher to excel as a mentor herself; Dorothea Orem, a nurse theorist and professor who helped her to plan her career path; and Mary Keegan, who established a food bank in Houston, Texas. An active volunteer herself, Dr. Gallagher has contributed her skills to the March of Dimes, the American Red Cross and the Greater Houston chapter of the National Association of Mental Illness. She has also contributed numerous articles to professional publications. She hopes to leave a legacy as someone who cared and helped others to grow and reach for higher heights.