Geraldine “Polly” Bednash was appointed executive director of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) in December 1989. In her role as chief executive officer, she oversees the educational, research, governmental affairs, publications, and other programs of the organization that is the national voice for baccalaureate and graduate-degree education programs in nursing – the nation’s largest health care profession. Prior to serving as executive director and CEO, Bednash headed the association’s legislative and regulatory advocacy programs as director of government affairs. In that post she directed AACN’s efforts to secure strong federal support for nursing education and research, coordinated new initiatives with federal agencies and with major foundations, and co-authored AACN’s landmark study of the financial costs to students and to clinical agencies of baccalaureate and graduate nursing education. Bednash serves as the chair of the Nursing Alliance for Quality Care, a member of the Sullivan Alliance to Transform the Health Professions, and a member of the Quality Alliance Steering Committee. She has been appointed to the Secretary’s Academic Affiliations Council of the Veteran’s Administration. Bednash earned her BSN from Texas Women’s University, her MSN from The Catholic University of America, and a doctorate in higher education policy and law from the University of Maryland.