Black History Month events recap
The School of Nursing and College of Health Professions offered several lectures and events in recognition of Black contributions to health and healthcare during Black History Month.
From a closer look at Black leadership in today’s health care settings, to professional organizations reckoning with a complicated past, to acknowledging the remarkable accomplishments of a history-making alum, the month-long series celebrated the achievements of African Americans and recognized their central role in the history and future of nursing and healthcare. Revisit highlights from this month’s program through the events recap below.
Voices for Change – Best Practices & Innovations in Advancing Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging
An author, frequent speaker, and internationally sought-after diversity, equity and inclusion expert, Adrienne Lawrence shared elements of her personal story as a Black woman and as someone who identifies as being on the Autism spectrum. In her lecture, she emphasized looking at diversity holistically and understanding that there is variation among groups. Using her personal experiences as an example, she shared that she does not view herself as having a disability. Just as is the case with other elements of her identity, being on the Autism spectrum is a way that she contributes to the diversity of the teams and organizations she is a part of. She believes that organizations will be better for celebrating diversity in all of its forms, including neurodiversity.
Memories of a Tuskegee Airmen Nurse and Her Military Sisters
“Just think, if they [the Black nurses at Tuskegee AirField] had not done well, and if the Tuskegee airmen had not performed well, that we may not have had an integrated military. President Truman, by an executive order in 1948 integrated the military […] These women, they were able to prove themselves and that laid the foundation for future African American nurses in the military.” –Pia Winters Jordan, author, describing the experiences of her mother, alumna Louise Lomax Winters (’42/St. Philips), in a segregated U.S. Army as a nurse and First Lieutenant at Tuskegee Army Air Field from 1942-1946
Black Excellence in Healthcare Leadership
Black Excellence in Healthcare Leadership was the second of a three-part webinar series offered through partnership between the National Association of Health Services Executives (NAHSE) and the VCU Department of Health Administration. Featuring two alums, Michael Elliott (PharmD ‘02/SOP; MS ‘07/CHP), PharmD, MSHA, FACHE, the inaugural Chief Operating Officer of VCU Health and and Chelsea Perry (MHA ‘17/CHP), the panel discussed the unique challenges experienced by Black leaders in healthcare and their personal journeys to achieving success in the field.
Truth, Reckoning, and Reconciliation: Nursing’s Past, Present, and Future
“We did a survey on racism in nursing. This is a survey conducted last year […] Half of nurses feel there is a lot of racism in nursing. More than half of nurses say that racism has impacted their professional well-being. Three-quarters of nurses say they have witnessed racism in the workplace. Clearly, we have a lot of work to do.” –Katie Boston-Leary, Ph.D., RN, NEA-BC, the Director of Nursing Programs at the American Nurses Association overseeing the Nursing Practice and Work Environment Division, delivering her lecture Truth, Reckoning, and Reconciliation: Nursing’s Past, Present, and Future on understanding “nursism,” racism, and its role in the history of nursing