The National Black Nurses Association hosted its 20th Annual National Black Nurses Day on Capitol Hill on Thursday, February 14, 2008, The Washington Court Hotel on Capitol Hill, 525 New Jersey Avenue, NW, Washington, DC. The theme of the event was “Black Nurses and the Presidential Health Agenda”.
Over 200 nurses and nursing students attended the sessions. U.S. Representative Donna Christian Christensen, chair, Congressional Black Caucus Health Brain Trust was the Congressional host.
Featured speakers were Dora Hughes, MD, MPH, Health Policy Advisor, Senator Barack Obama; Leecia Eve, JD, MPA, Senior Policy Advisor to Senator Hillary Clinton; Maryland State Delegate Shirley Nathan Pulliam; and, Caroline Powers, Deputy Director, Office of the Governor, State of Massachusetts (invited).
In honor of the 20th Anniversary of National Black Nurses Day on Capitol Hill, the NBNA launched its National Obesity Initiative. During its conception it called on each of its 79, now 90 chapters to collectively lose 360 pounds or more by August 4, the beginning of the NBNA 36th Annual Conference. Each chapter held continuing education sessions on obesity and chronic diseases, reflecting the theme of the Conference, “Nursing Practice: The Prevention and Management of Chronic Diseases”. And, each chapter hosted a community based physical activity program, testing a variety of exercise programs including: line dancing, neighborhood walks, yoga, water aerobics, Pilates and tai chi. NBNA collaborated with other organizations to host health and wellness activities around obesity.
States NBNA President Dr. Debra A. Toney, “NBNA chapters have provided fantastic health screenings and health education programs in their communities. We now want to get to the heart of our health care disparities, being overweight and obese. Obesity is a preventable disease. We need to make sure that all of us have healthier lifestyle habits. We are going to start with our membership and in the communities where we live and work.”
The NBNA mission is to provide a forum for collective action by African American nurses to “To represent and provide a forum for black nurses to advocate for and implement strategies to ensure access tot he hightest quality of healthcare for persons of color”.