The San Diego Black Nurses Association, Inc. (SDBNA) was organized in 1976, in response to the national call to provide a professional nurse organization for African-American nurses, has worked in collaboration with other healthcare and professional organizations to advocate for change and provide education to the community and nurses. SDBNA has been a pillar in the community and aided nurses as they strive for personal and professional excellence and growth. Known for many contributions which include, health screenings, flu clinics, and now an annual health fair in the San Diego area, SDBNA continues on toward the goal of being a premier provider of health education and health promotion. Recognized in 2015 as a Live Well San Diego partner that has been serving the San Diego area for over 39 years, SDBNA is a leader in patient advocacy, decreasing healthcare disparities, and networking with area nursing schools and hospitals. SDBNA continues to provide resources for the community, assistance for students, and opportunities for nurses.


On August 2, 2015, Dr. Williams was installed as the first male and 12th President of the National Black Nurses Association. Currently, Dr. Williams, is  the Assistant Director/Faculty Leader and Professor of Nursing at Santa Monica College, Santa Monica, CA. He is recognized as being the first African American male faculty member where he began his appointment in 2001. Dr Williams earned a BSN degree in 1986 from William Carey University, Hattiesburg, MS. He worked as a staff nurse and charge nurse in a variety of settings such as medical – surgical, emergency room, and the intensive care unit. While teaching in a practical nursing program, at the age of 24, Dr. Williams pursued a Master’s of Science Degree in Nursing with a focus in Adult Health from the University of South Alabama, Mobile, Alabama and graduated in 1991. Upon completion of the MSN degree, Dr. Williams was appointed as an Assistant Professor of Nursing at Dillard University, New Orleans, LA, where he worked for ten years. He was the first male faculty member to be hired as a nursing faculty member since the inception of the nursing program in 1942. In 2007, Dr Williams earned a Doctorate of Nursing Practice Degree from the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing at Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH.

Dr. Williams has presented locally and nationally on a variety of health relate topics. He was featured in a CNN segment on health Care Reform entitled “A Nursing Professor Rejoices.” Also, he was featured in Minority Nurse regarding NBNA 40th Anniversary. Dr. Williams’’ research interest is centered on levels of cultural competence among nursing students.  He was listed as a pioneer in nursing by St. Louis University.

He served in the NBNA Board of Directors on two occasions and held the position as first and second vice president. Dr. Williams is a past board member of the American Assembly for Men in Nursing. He is current member of the Technical Expert Panel for Education for the Agency on Healthcare Research and Quality. Currently, He serves as a board member of the Haiti Nursing Foundation. Also, Dr. Williams was inducted into the William Carey University Hall of Fame on March 28. 2015. Dr. Williams received several awards including the Great 100 Nurses of New Orleans (1992); Outstanding Young Men of America (1987), and Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities (1986). He  was featured as a local leader by Working Nurse Magazine in 2015. Also, Dr. Williams received the 2011 National Black Nurses Association Trailblazer Award.


Dr. Robert Gillespie, born and raised in Gary Indiana, received his undergraduate degree from UCLA and his medical degree from the University of Chicago, Pritzker School of Medicine.  He completed his internship and residency at Loyola Medical Center in Chicago and completed his fellowship in cardiology at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles.  He is board certified in internal medicine, cardiology, nuclear cardiology, echocardiography and cardiac computed tomography.  He is director of the Nuclear Imaging Department at Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Group.  He has been with the group for 24 years.  He has recently began teaching fellows at University of California, San Diego as an assistant professor.

Dr. Gillespie has lectured frequently to his colleagues both on a local and national level on a variety of topics including congestive heart failure and multiple topics related to cardiac imaging. He most recently has been lecturing on heart failure in multiple cities across the United States. He is a member of several professional societies including the American College of Cardiology, National Medical Association, American Society of Echocardiography, American Society of Nuclear Cardiology and he is Chairman of the Board for the Association of Black Cardiologists (ABC).  He is past co-chair of the heart failure and acute coronary syndrome committees at Sharp Memorial Hospital, as well as a number of other of other hospital committees.

Dr. Gillespie remains very active in clinical research.  His primary research interests have been related to imaging the heart with echocardiography, nuclear and CT.  He has published in a number of journals such as American Journal of Cardiology, and Heart.  He previously co-authored a statement regarding cost effectiveness of stress myocardial imaging for the American Society of Nuclear Cardiology.   He has been primary investigator or co- investigator on a number of clinical trials particularly in the area of congestive heart failure that have been published in Circulation, The Journal of the American College of Cardiology and others. He was recently co-first author on an article published on July 29, 2014, addressing the 2014 hypertension guidelines. This article went on to be chosen as the most influential article on hypertension in JACC for 2014. He then co-authored another article in JACC in 2015. He was a co-author on a chapter in the book titled “Cardiovascular Disease in Racial and Ethnic Minorities” published in September 2009. He has been on the Best Doctors list since 2007.  He was recently featured on ACCEL, the prestigious podcast produced by the American College of Cardiology (ACC).  He has chaired sessions at both the national meetings for the ACC in 2015 and 2016.  He has been featured on multiple media segments on San Diego news as well as other Sharp Healthcare segments for local media.

Dr. Gillespie remains active in his community.  He frequently provides educational programs for local organizations and churches on topics ranging from patient empowerment to hypertension.  His most recent emphasis has been to train members in the community on cardiovascular disease so that they can be empowered to share their knowledge with others to decrease the devastating risk factors that plague the African American community.  He was recently awarded a Community Pillar Award by Sharp Healthcare for a project that trained 45 members in the community to be heath advocates. He was also recently honored by the American Heart Association receiving the Lifesavers distinction for his work in the San Diego community focusing on reducing cardiovascular diseases.

 He is an active member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity and is president for his local chapter of Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity.

He is married to Lisa Gillespie and has two children, Jayden age 17 and Morgan age 16.

Advisory Board for SDBNA

Meagan Garland

Marlene Ruiz

Dr. Ana Navarro