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.

Samantha Gambles Farr MSN FNP-C CCRN RNFA DNP/Ag-ACNP (c)

President San Diego Black Nurses Association, Inc. (2019- Present)

Samantha Gambles Farr is a Board-Certified Family Nurse Practitioner with a career in nursing for over 20 years. Her specialties include surgical, cardiothoracic, neuro-critical intensive care and those critically injured in traumas.

She currently works as the Surgical Intensive Care Nurse Practitioner for UC San Diego Health in the Department of Trauma, Burns, Surgical Critical Care and Acute Care Surgery. Ms. Farr has also worked at several prestigious hospitals including Loma Linda University Medical Center and Stanford Healthcare. In addition to working in various ICUs, Samantha is a Registered Nurse First Assist and retains certification to assist surgeons in the operating room. In addition, she works as Clinical Faculty at the Hahn School of Nursing for the University of San Diego. In an effort to further her education, she continues her  journey to obtain a Doctorate of Nursing Practice with post Masters Adult Gerontology- Acute Care Specialty from University of Arizona. Upon graduation in 2020, she will become a double board certified, doctoral prepared Nurse Practitioner with certification in acute care and family management.She is very active in her professional and personal volunteer activities:

  • Past President for California Association for Nurse Practitioners: North County Chapter
  • Health Policy & Practice Committee member for California Association of Nurse Practitioners
  • Immediate past Member-At-Large (2017-2019) for Society of Critical Care Medicine on the Nursing Steering Committee
  • Recipient of Presidential Citation 2018 for Society of Critical Care Medicine
  • 2018 Advance Practice Nurse of the Year Award for the National Black Nurses Association, Inc
  • Current Health Policy Chair of the North County San Diego NAACP Chapter
  • Honored as a Recipient of the Distinguished Woman Award for community service
  • Member of Neuro-Critical Care Association
  • Member of National Nursing Honor Society: Sigma Theta Tau/ Beta Mu Chapter
  • Member of the National Leadership Honor Society: Omicron Delta Kappa
  • Advisory Board Member of The Sepsis Coalition for 2016-2017
  • A member of North County African American Women’s Association
  • Mentor for Becoming A Global Citizen, a mentoring program for middle school girls
  • A member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.- Psi Tau Zeta Chapter, North County San Diego Chapter
  • Interface~ main focus of the mission trips is to provide cleft lip/palate and other plastic reconstructive surgeries to under-served children and adults internationally

With multiple research projects, research poster and presentations, book contributions Samantha remains busy educating others in nursing and public forums with invited podium educational presentations. Her mission is to provided evidence based care to all she has the privilege to care while providing mentorship to others interested in all levels of medicine and nursing.

She also has a daughter Kai who lives in Rome, Italy and is completing her degree in International Business with a focus on fashion.



Dr. Martha A. Dawson is the President of the National Black Nurses Association, Inc. She is an Associate Professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Nursing Dr. Dawson is a dynamic health care leader, sought-after lecturer, and workshop and seminar leader focusing on health care leadership.  In 2019, Dr. Dawson was inducted into the Alabama Nurses Hall of Fame.  Dr. Dawson was the chief nursing office and VP of Clinical Operations the university that developed the   drive thru Flu Shots. A model for mass immunization that is being used by CDC to mass testing.




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

Dr. Ana Navarro

Marlene Ruiz