Pearls of Excellence

Album 2

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SAN DIEGO BLACK NURSES ASSOCIATION, INC. (SDBNA)
“PEARLS OF EXCELLENCE IN NURSING EDUCATION”

Laura Johnson, Contributing Writer

Beautiful yellow daffodils have burst into bloom signaling the arrival of spring – time to clean up, fix up, clean out, change and move forward.  Another perennial event occurred on Saturday, April 8th at the beautiful Admiral Baker Clubhouse setting.  SDBNA celebrated their 41st Annual Scholarship Awards Program.  Three member RNs enrolled in advanced degree programs were awarded scholarships:

Karen Mitchell-Keels, committee member of both the Annual Prayer Breakfast and the Scholarship Awards Program.  Karen is the Emergency Department Clinical Nurse Educator and Outreach Manager at UC San Diego.  She serves on the California Board of Registered Nurses and is a sought after public speaker.  In 2014, she was invited to speak at the Sigma Theta Tau International Annual Research Conference in Hong Kong.  She is currently in Doctoral Studies at Grand Canyon University (GCU).

Geri Zollicoffer has worked primarily in Clinical Research and Utilization Review Management, currently employed at Naval Medical Center San Diego, conducting research on influenza and flu-like symptoms.  As a SDBNA member, she has served as Recording Secretary, 2nd Vice President and Prayer Breakfast Committee Chair for many years.  Geri is in the Master’s Program at GCU.

Michelle Booker-Stewart was first an accountant, then a cosmetologist before pursuing nursing studies.  She has been SDBNA Treasurer for 5 years and Chair of the Finance Committee and is very active in the Girl Scout Community of San Diego. She is in the GCU Master’s Program as well.

SDBNA has awarded over $200,000 in scholarships since 1976.  This year SDBNA received assistance for funding from Platinum Sponsors, Sharp Health Care, and Azusa Pacific University, and Gold Sponsors Kaiser Permanente and UCSD Health Care. Additionally, Grand Canyon University, and SDBNA member Barbara Jo Smith provided scholarships. In addition, text book scholarships from several SDBNA members were presented. Scholarships were presented by Beverly Johnson, Barbara Jo Smith and Jules Sneddon of GCU.

The theme of the program was portrayed through a creative writing for the program book by member Laura Johnson, comparing the process of the development of natural pearls to the development and cultivation of the nursing education process.  All members were color coordinated in red with pearls.  The table center pieces were red rose bunches roped with pearls designed by Jackie Jones.  The cake frosting even contained small edible pearls.

Dr. Barbara West, 1st Vice President, Program Chair and Mistress of Ceremonies welcomed guests and program participants. Vocalist extraordinaire, Dale Fleming led guests in the Negro National Anthem and a 2nd musical rendition that got a standing ovation.

Dr. West introduced the keynote speaker Dr. Eric J. Williams, President, National Black Nurses Association (NBNA).  Dr. Williams spoke to the theme, the heart of which he reviewed eight “pearls of inspiration,” to help not only nurses, but everyone to enhance their lives and careers; to reach their goals and live “your best life.”

An additional highlight of the program was the announcement by President Ethel Weekly-Avant of the “2016 Nurse of the Year.”  President’s choice, held in secret, given to the member who has made the greatest contribution to SDBNA that year.  Dorothy Munns, Past President (twice), active fundraiser, donator and health educator received the award for her foresight and suggestions in 2015 that SDBNA would benefit greatly by establishing community partnerships with related organizations and businesses.  As a result, SDBNA has nine partners: Live Well San Diego, Excelsior College, UC San Diego Health, Jobing.com, Be There San Diego, Health Services Advocacy Group (HSAG), Grand Canyon University, San Diego Black Health Associates and 4th District Senior Center.

President Weekly-Avant also bestowed special recognition of appreciation on nine SDBNA members: Syvera Hardy, Flu Clinic Coordinator; Barbara McCorkle, Revision of Bylaws & Constitution and Volunteerism; Carole Norman, Grant Writer and Flu Clinic Assistant; Iris Roberson, Hospitality and Sunshine; Barbara Jo Smith, generosity of scholarship funds and general hard work; Dr. Barbara West, always available above & beyond her duties of Vice President and her attention to detail; Vicki Wheaton-Young, Community Health projects; Honorary Member Photographer, Mike Norris, great pictures and great friend; and yours truly, Laura Johnson, SDBNA writer.

Celebrating with SDBNA was our newly established SDBNA Advisory Board Members: Dr. Ana Navarro, USD Professor, Department of Family Prevention and Public Health and Director of Bachelor of Science in Public Health Advance Practicums; Ms. Marlene Ruiz, recent retiree as Director of Education and Counseling Services at Kaiser Permanente SD.  A strong advocate for nursing in the San Diego Area for the past 49 years, involved in preparation of nurses through affiliations with SD colleges and universities; Attorney Megan Garland, Founder and Owner, Garland Law APIC, SD, CA. Named one of San Diego’s Best Attorneys and “Metro Movers To Watch.”  Attorney Garland is new to SDBNA while both Dr. Navarro and Ms. Ruiz have long term working relationships with SDBNA.

Also present:  Dr. Jimi Benson, President, National Medical Association San Diego; Pastor Chadwick Ricks, President, L.A. Council BNA with several members; Representatives of the Hispanic and Philippine Nurses Associations; Excelsior College and the United States University; Elizabeth Bustos, Director, Be There San Diego. She was recently honored by KPBS as it 1st Community Hero for her work with racial justice and equality.

SDBNA recently engaged a new medical director, replacing the late Dr. Richard Butcher.  Dr. Robert Gillespie, MD, FACC, FASE, FASNC, Cardiologist, Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Group.  He is Board Certified in Internal Medicine and Cardiology.  He is active in the community, providing educational programs for local organizations and churches.  Recently honored by the American Heart Association, receiving the Lifesavers Distinction for his work focusing on reducing cardiovascular disease.

A special thanks and appreciation to the Awards Committee: Dr. Barbara West, Chairperson, SDBNA President Ethel Weekly-Avant, Barbara Jo Smith, Denise Alston, Jackie Jones, Karen Mitchell-Keels, Jackie Kersey-Hardrick, Beverly Johnson, Monique Shaw and Clara Davis.

A special “Thank You” to all supporters, friends and collaborators and all program participants.  See you right back here next April.  Please join us August 21, 2017 for our 4th Annual Health & Wellness Expo at the Educational Cultural Complex (ECC).

Ethel Weekly-Avant, RN
President
San Diego Black Nurses Association, Inc.
(619) 571-0788
2013 Lifetime Member

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