Pam Galbraith would be quick to tell you, “I’ve had a magical life.”
Pam was born on March 6, 1948 and raised in Cheboygan, Michigan. From an early age, Pam knew she wanted to be a nurse, and after graduating, completed her degree in nursing at North Central Michigan College in Petoskey. She began her career in Cheboygan at Community Memorial Hospital, the hospital where she was born.
In 1972, she and a friend headed west in two Volkswagen Bugs filled with all their possessions, including two cats, Charlie and Dammit. They ran out of money in Albuquerque, and the day after she arrived Pam went to work at the Bernalillo County Medical Center (BCMC), later becoming the University of New Mexico Hospital.
Passionate about serving her community, Pam had arrived in the perfect place. She spent 33 years working at UNM hospital, held 17 different positions, including overseeing the emergency department and children’s psychiatric hospital. She retired as a hospital administrator who had helped UNMH become the only Level One trauma center in New Mexico and a National Cancer Institute-designated center, as well as a leader in Rural Health initiatives.
Pam thrived in chaos and excelled in fixing things. Her passion and service at UNM Hospital brought her to the notice of Governor Bruce King, who asked her to help save the Guadalupe County Hospital, a frontier hospital in Santa Rosa. She was able to raise a team of like-minded colleagues, find supplies and get funds to save the hospital. She moved onto help save rural hospitals in Truth or Consequences, Deming, and Mountainair.
She finished her career at UNM hospital working in mental health. When she retired in 2005, she moved on to become CEO at Value Options, an organization that provided behavioral health care for the state of New Mexico.
Because of her work in mental health, Attorney General John Ashcroft appointed her to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services National Advisory Committee on Violence Against Women. She was also elected to the governing council of the American Hospital Association Section of Psychiatric and Substance Abuse Services. In 2003 Pam received the Governor’s Award for Outstanding New Mexico Women and was inducted into the New Mexico Women’s Hall of Fame.
Pam’s magical life was possible because of the people of New Mexico and Michigan. The Pamela M. Galbraith Foundation will further her legacy and passion for providing medical care and mental health support as well as educational support.