Who We Are
The National Black Nurses Association is fortunate to have great nursing leaders among its leadership in a variety of areas. The summary below is just an example of the signature programs and activities that draw African American nurses to NBNA. These programs help NBNA members grow stronger as they seek to provide culturally competent health care services in our communities.
The National Black Nurses Association (NBNA) was organized in 1971 under the leadership of Dr. Lauranne Sams, former Dean and Professor of Nursing, School of Nursing, Tuskegee University, Tuskegee, Alabama. NBNA is a non-profit organization incorporated on September 2, 1972 in the state of Ohio. NBNA represents 308,000 African American registered nurses, licensed vocational/practical nurses, nursing students and retired nurses from the USA, Eastern Caribbean and Africa, with 114 chartered chapters, in 34 states.
The NBNA mission is “to serve as the voice for Black nurses and diverse populations ensuring equal access to professional development, promoting educational opportunities and improving health.” NBNA chapters offer voluntary hours providing health education and screenings to community residents in collaboration with community-based partners, including faith-based organizations, civic, fraternal, hospitals, and schools of nursing.
For more information, visit www.nbna.org. #NBNAResilient.
NBNA salutes the Black Nurses who laid the foundation to establish the National Black Nurses Association: Dr. Lauranne Sams, Betty Jo Davidson, Gertrude Baker, Barbara Garner, Dr. Mary Harper, Mattiedna Kelly, Phyllis Jenkins, Florrie Jefferson, Judy Jourdain, Geneva Norman, Dr. Betty Smith Williams, Etherlrine Shaw, Anita Small, Doris A. Wilson, and Gloria Rookard.
NBNA has had 12 presidents in its 50 years history: Dr. Lauranne Sams, 1973-1977; Dr. Carrie Rogers Brown, 1977-1979; E. Lorraine Baugh, 1979-1983; Ophelia Long, 1983-1987; Dr. C. Alicia Georges, 1987-1991; Dr. Linda Burnes Bolton, 1991-1995; Dr. Betty Smith Williams, 1995-1999; Dr. Hilda Richards, 1999-2003; Dr. Bettye Davis Lewis, 2003-2007; Dr. Debra A. Toney, 2007- 2011; Rev. Deidre Walton, 2011-2015; Dr. Eric J. Williams 2015-2019; Dr. Martha A. Dawson 2019-2023; Dr. Sheldon D. Fields 2023 - Present.
Collaborative Community Health Model
Since its inception, improving the health of African Americans through the provision of culturally competent health care services in community-based health programs has been the cornerstone of the National Black Nurses Association. NBNA is proud of its Collaborative Community Health Model developed by Dr. Linda Burnes Bolton and Dr. C. Alicia Georges, NBNA past presidents. This model is the basis for the collaborative partnerships and health programs that are the hallmark of the National Black Nurses Association. The 114 chapters are the primary mechanism through which the national, state and local community-based programs are successfully implemented. African American nurses who are direct members (in cities where no chapters are established) also assume leadership roles in mounting community-based programs. NBNA chapters and direct members provide a host of preventative health screenings and health education including high blood pressure, blood glucose, cholesterol, HIV, COVID-19, cancer, sickle cell and mental health.
Working in partnership with community-based organizations, corporations and other organizations, NBNA has sponsored health fairs and health education and outreach for national organizations such as the National Urban League, NAACP and Progressive National Baptist Convention. NBNA has collaborated with the Black Women’s Health Imperative; Adult Vaccine Advisory Committee; Rare Disease Diversity Alliance; Sickle Cell Disease Advisory Alliance; National Nursing Community; Nurses on Boards Coalition; Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Center to Champion Nursing; the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids; Black Women for Positive Change; Movement is Life Caucus; and, the Association of Black Cardiologists.
In 1998, the National Black Nurses Association became one of the five founding organizations of the National Coalition of Ethnic Minority Nurse Associations, along with Asian American/Pacific Islander Nurses Association, Inc., National Alaska Native American Indian Nurses Association, Inc.; National Association of Hispanic Nurses, Inc.; and, the Philippine Nurses Association of America, Inc. This collaboration gives voice to over one million nurses of color. Dr. Betty Smith Williams was the first NCEMNA president and a past NBNA president. The current NCEMNA president is Dr. Debra A. Toney and a past NBNA president.
Its goals include support for the development of a cadre of ethnic nurses reflecting the nation's diversity; advocacy for culturally competent, accessible and affordable health care; promotion of the professional and educational advancement of ethnic nurses; education of consumers, health care professionals and policy makers on health issues of ethnic minority populations; development of ethnic minority nurse leaders in areas of health policy, practice, education and research; endorsement of best practice models of nursing practice, education, and research for minority populations.
NBNA holds membership on various national and federal advisory committees. NBNA was represented on the National Nursing Council of the American Red Cross and the National Advisory Board of the Center to Champion Nursing at AARP.
NBNA Signature Programs
NBNA’s signature programs and services make NBNA a superb organization to join.
NBNA Institute and Conference
NBNA annually hosts its Institute and Conference. Over 1,200 nurses and nursing students obtain state of the art clinical instruction on such subjects as cardiovascular disease, cancer, children’s health, diabetes, end of life, HIV/AID, kidney disease, research and women’s health. Over 100 exhibitors showcase their services and products. Continuing education units are provided by the Pennsylvania State Nurses Association.
Outstanding Opening Ceremony keynote speakers have included Sandra Evers-Manly, CEO, Northrup Grumman Foundation; Dr. C. Alicia Georges, National Volunteer President, AARP; Dr. Anne Beal, COO, PCORI; Dr. Beverly Malone, President and CEO, National League for Nursing; Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, President and CEO, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation; Dr. Freda Lewis Hall, Senior Vice President, Medical Affairs, Bristol Myers Squibb Company; U.S. Charles Rangel; Marie Smith, President, AARP; U.S. Surgeon General David Satcher; Ron Williams, President and CEO, Aetna; and Kevin Lofton, President and CEO, Catholic Healthcare Initiatives and past Chairman, American Hospital Association.
Closing Ceremony keynote speakers traditionally are NBNA members, have included Dr. Ora L. Strickland, Dean, Florida International University School of Nursing; Dr. Courtney Lyder, Dean, UCLA School of Nursing; Dr. C. Alicia Georges, Chair, Department of Nursing, Lehman University and past NBNA President; Dr. Stephanie Ferguson, Associate Professor and Director, Community Nursing Organization, Virginia Commonwealth University School of Nursing; Dr. Loretta Sweet Jemmott, Professor, University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing; and, Rita Wray, Deputy Executive Director, Mississippi Department of Finance and Administration.
NBNA presents nursing awards in nine categories and Life Time Achievement Award and Trailblazer Awards. Scholarships are offered to nursing students at all levels and chapter awards are presented for community service; service to youth; and for chapter recruitment and retention.
In 2011 NBNA launched two new programs. The Under 40 Forum was developed by and for NBNA members who are under the age of 40 years old to help them build and sustain the base of younger members. And, to help fuel the pipeline, the NBNA Summer Youth Enrichment Institute was held for young people aged 9-18. Both programs were headed by NBNA President Dr. Debra A. Toney.
In 2012, through the vision of the then NBNA President, Reverend Dr. Deidre Walton, the Diversity Institute was launched. This four hours CEU session provides state of the art information on innovations related to nursing and health care by diverse providers to diverse populations to enhance health outcomes.
National Black Nurses Day on Capitol Hill
Since 1988, NBNA has hosted, National Black Nurses Day on Capitol Hill, to educate the U.S. Congress on the nursing shortage, the nursing profession and health care disparities. Over 300 nurses and nursing students attend the event.
The NBNA Day on Capitol Hill was the brainchild of Dr. C. Alicia Georges, NBNA past president, Representative Louis Stokes and William “Larry” Lucas, formerly of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America. The NBNA Congressional hosts have been U.S. Representatives Louis Stokes and Donna Christian Christensen. Both Members of Congress served as the Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus Health Brain Trust.
In 2012, a high-level White House briefing was held with U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin, Senior Presidential Advisor Valerie Jarrett, Dr. Nadine Gracia, Director of the Office of Minority Health, Acacia Bamberg Scaletta, HHS Office of Faith-based Initiatives and HRSA Administrator Dr. Mary Wakefield. The NBNA Day on Capitol Hill featured stakeholders who shared information on the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Almost 600 nurses, nursing students and stakeholders attended the all-day event. NBNA celebrated its 34th NBNA Day on Capitol Hill anniversary on Thursday, February 2, 2023.
Journal of the National Black Nurses Association
Published twice annually, the Journal of the National Black Nurses Association contains peer refereed health research-based articles. Dr. Joyce Newman Giger, former Professor and Lulu Wollf Hassenplug Endowed Chair, UCLA School of Nursing, has been the editor of the Journal since 1997. Dr. Hilda Richards, NBNA immediate past president, was the previous editor. The Journal was initially supported by contributions from Kaiser Permanente during the tenure of the Ophelia Long, the 4th NBNA President.
National Black Nurses Association Newsletter
The 40-88 pages NBNA eNewsletter is published quarterly. It is filled with information on the membership and articles written by NBNA members, NBNA partners and sponsors on a variety of nursing and health issues. Themes have included men’s health, COVID19, sickle cell disease, public policy, aging and research. In 2005, NBNA published a special issue on “Surviving the Storms: Katrina, Wilma and Rita”. The articles were written by NBNA members as survivors and caregivers. In 2009, NBNA produced a 56-page newsletter on global health. A 50-page newsletter was produced on public policy issues in December 2010. In February 2012, NBNA published the newsletter focusing on men’s health care and written by male nurses. In 2020, the newsletter focused on COVID-19 and sickle cell disease.
Based on an article that she wrote for the Newsletter in 2006, Cynthia Hickman, Member, Fort Bend County Texas Black Nurses Association and St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital, Houston, Texas, received a $50,000 leadership award from Johnson and Johnson.
Dr. Jennifer Coleman is the Editor-in-Chief.
In July 2020, NBNA was awarded $50,000 from Sandra Evers-Manly in support of the work of the NBNA Ad Hoc Committee on Global Health. Funds were given to 17 NBNA chapters to help support their work community efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In June 2020, NBNA was awarded $50,000 by the Entertainment Industry Foundation for the work on the EIF FirstRespondersFirst Program to provide mental health services to frontline nurses.
In May 2020, NBNA was awarded $1 million from the Pfizer Foundation to offer mental health hotline and mental health services to nurses on the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic and to communicate to the nurses and the communities that they serve about the need for flu and pneumonia vaccinations.
Since 2017, NBNA has participated in the NIH All of Us Research Program, which has provided financial support to 21 chapters that offer live sessions and webinars on the value of precision medicine in making contributions to finding treatments and cures for diseases. This program focuses on enrolling 1 million U.S. residents into the program. NBNA focuses on educating nurses, other health care providers and communities about the program.
In October 2013, NBNA received a $100,000 grant from the United Health Group for scholarships and supportive services for 12 scholars.
In August 2012, NBNA received a grant, “The Preventive Health Action Team”, from The Coca Cola Company to promote health and wellness through 15-18 NBNA chapters.
In April 2011, NBNA partnered with the U.S. Office of Minority Health and other organizations to create a consensus report entitled “Pathways to Integrated Health Care: Strategies for African American Communities and Organizations”.
In October 2010, NBNA and the National Medical Association released a consensus report on Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) in premature infants. The report was sponsored by MedImmune.
Memorandum of Understanding
In 2011, NBNA signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the National Mentoring Cares Program, headed by Susan Taylor, formerly Editor-in-Chief of Essence Magazine.
In 2011, NBNA signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the American Red Cross to help provide nursing services in times of natural and man made disasters. In 2006, NBNA representatives participated in several American Red Cross workshops on diversity. The purpose of the workshops was to craft curriculum that would help Red Cross volunteers to provide services in a culturally competent manner. For the past 5 years, NBNA has hosted blood drives at the NBNA Annual Institute and Conference.
NBNA Diversity Institute
Under the leadership of Reverend Deidre Walton, NBNA President, NBNA launched a Diversity Institute focused on racial and ethnic diversity, gender issues and issues in the workplace. The Institute was held during the NBNA 40th Annual Institute and Conference, July 25-29, 2012, in Orlando, FL.
NBNA Founders Leadership Institute
Under the leadership of then NBNA President Dr. Debra. A. Toney, NBNA launched the NBNA Founders Leadership Institute during the 2009 NBNA Conference in Toronto, Canada. NBNA selects 20 nurses to learn how to enhance their leadership skills, helping them to achieve the next level of leadership on their jobs, within the NBNA, as volunteers and or paid advisory board members. In 2020-2021, NBNA hosted a series of leadership development webinars leading up to the NBNA Founders Leadership Institute at the NBNA 2021 Annual Institute and Conference.
At the NBNA Conference, NBNA offers scholarships to student nurses at all levels. The NBNA chapters also provide scholarships. Other corporations that I have given generously have been VITAS Healthcare, Children’s Mercy Kansas City, FIGS, Trusted Health and Arizona College. Individuals have made contributions to the NBNA Scholarship Fund including Sandra Evers-Manly, CEO, Northrup Grumman Foundation; NBNA Member Barbara Julian; an endowed scholarship by NBNA Member Margaret Pemberton; and, an endowed scholarship by the family of George McGuire.
In 2012, the Tuskegee Airmen Scholarship Foundation provided the Della H. Raney Nursing Scholarship for $2000. The scholarship is named after the first chief nurse assigned to the Tuskegee Air Field. In 2013, a new scholarship, Mrs. Lynne Edwards Research Scholarship, was supported by Dr. Linda Burnes Bolton, past NBNA President and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and given to a PhD candidate.
Over $150,000 in scholarships have been given to PhD candidates. In 2020, a record number of scholarships were given, 32 scholarships and over $68,000 in scholarships. In 2023, a record number of scholarships were given: 57 scholarships and over $257,000 in scholarships.
NBNA Nursing Awards
NBNA recognizes nurses who have made major contributions throughout their nursing career and are honored with the NBNA Lifetime Achievement Award and the NBNA Trailblazer Award. Awards are also provided in nine other categories. The awards are made at the NBNA Conference. The Nurse of the Year Awards were launched during the tenure of NBNA President Dr. Hilda Richards.
In collaboration with other organizations, NBNA has offered certification programs on HIV/AIDS, end-of-life-care and Mental Health First Aid USA.
In June 2009, the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association awarded the National Black Nurses Association its National Award for NBNA’s participation in the Power to End Stroke Campaign. NBNA recruited over 90 ambassadors and reached thousands of individuals about stroke prevention.
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Who We Are - October 24, 2013