AARP pres-elect to headline Tuskegee’s spring nursing symposium

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Tuskegee, AL- Chicken soup may be a common remedy for the cold or flu, but at its upcoming annual spring symposium on April 20, Tuskegee University’s School of Nursing and Allied Health suggests treating the mind, body and spirit requires a healthy dose of soul food.

The school’s spring symposium, themed “Providing Health-Promoting ‘Soul Food’ for the Whole Person across the Lifespan: Mind, Body and Spirit,” is scheduled for Friday, April 20, on the university campus. Combined, the 31st annual Dr. Mary Starke Harper Lecturer Series and 34th annual Scholar Events Research Symposium will offer continuing education credits for currently licensed nurses, and is open to all nursing and health-care professionals, clinicians, students, faculty, school alumni and community members. It will showcase student and faculty scholarship through poster sessions and presentations that highlight contemporary nursing and allied health topics.

Providing the symposium keynote as the Dr. Mary Starke Harper lecturer will be Dr. Catherine Alicia Georges, president-elect of AARP. In addition to helping lead this nonprofit membership and advocacy organization of more than 38 million members ages 50 and older, she is a nursing professional and educator herself. She will speak to symposium attendees about the social, physical and cultural influences that promote good health for all.

“Having someone of Dr. Georges’ caliber only underscores our symposium’s focus on providing nursing professionals, students and faculty with information vital to the nursing practice,” said Dr. Constance Hendricks, dean of Tuskegee’s School of Nursing and Allied Health.

In addition to her role as AARP’s incoming president, Georges serves as a professor and chair of the Department of Nursing at Lehman College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. She also is president of the National Black Nurses Foundation and a past president of the National Black Nurses Association.

The symposium also will feature a panel presentation by nursing professional and industry association leaders, including:

  • Dr. Eric J. Williams, who currently serves as the first male president of the National Black Nurses Association. Williams is the assistant director/faculty leader and professor of nursing for Santa Monica College in Los Angeles.
  • Priscilla Murphy, a registered nurse and president of the Chi Eta Phi Sorority Inc., a professional nursing organization with a chapter on the Tuskegee campus.
  • Jacqueline McCarroll, a 1971 Tuskegee University graduate, registered nurse and current president of the Tuskegee University National Nursing Alumni Association (TUNNAA).

Hendricks, who was appointed to the dean’s post in January 2018, looks forward to the symposium elevating the school’s profile and opportunities for its students. Top on her list is re-establishing a campus chapter of the National Black Nurses Association, thereby providing its students, faculty and alumni with a unique opportunity to be the chapter’s charter members.

“To produce well-rounded graduates, we must introduce our students to professional networking, advocacy and continuing education opportunities before they graduate,” Hendricks said. “The National Black Nurses Association is an excellent conduit to engaging our students professionally before and after they graduate.”

NBNA was organized in 1971 under the leadership of Dr. Lauranne Sams, Tuskegee’s second dean of nursing. It is a nonprofit organization with more than 150,000 African-American registered nurses, licensed vocational/practical nurses, nursing students and retired nurses through 92 chapters in 35 U.S. states as well as the eastern Caribbean and Africa. Those on campus or in the community interested in helping to charter the university’s NBNA chapter should contact the Dean’s Office at 334.727.8382.

Online registration will begin once symposium logistics are finalized. Registration fees, payable online, will include symposium sessions, lunch and materials. Those registering will receive follow-up details about the symposium by email, including event locations and parking information. Those interested in learning more about the progress of online registration can contact the school’s Dean’s Office at 334.727.8382.

The annual Dr. Mary Starke Harper Lecture Series, established by Dr. Rosetta Ford Sands, the university’s third dean of nursing, honors the illustrious and innovative work of this Tuskegee nursing graduate. Through this ongoing event, her vision has provided opportunities for faculty and staff to interact with clinicians, clinical researchers, administrators and educators to establish a forum discussing major health care issues.

Tuskegee University’s nursing program dates back to 1948, when Dr. Lillian Holland Harvey established what was then the state’s first baccalaureate degree in nursing program. Today, nationally accredited programs in Tuskegee’s School of Nursing and Allied Health lead to bachelor’s degrees in nursing and health sciences, or a master’s degree in occupational therapy. For more information about the school and its offerings, visit www.tuskegee.edu/sonah.

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