What is your role within the GNYC-BNA?
I am the President of the chapter. I was previously Vice President from 2017-2019 then became President.
How long have you been with the organization?
Since its inception in 2017
Who is the GNYC-BNA?
We are the Greater New York City Chapter under the overall umbrella of the Black Nurses Association.
What is your organization’s goal?
To make healthcare changes in local neighborhoods such as offering healthcare screenings to local communities in all five boroughs. We take blood pressure measurements, do diabetes screenings, medication assessments etc. We support black women in childbirth with an aim to eliminate racial inequalities in childbirth and in healthcare overall. We also produce and drive forward empowerment pieces for nurses. We are currently running a ‘Diaper Drive’ to support lower-income families.
We recently partnered with a lower elementary school in the Bronx and gave a simulation of someone having an asthma attack. We teach children about healthcare and let them know we can support them in becoming a healthcare professional and help them apply for a scholarship.
We have spoken in local town halls about Covid-19 before any testing centers were set up and we lobbied for more accessible testing centers in the five boroughs. All testing centers initially were in Manhattan where a) our communities would not go to get tested and b) they were all drive-through testing centers and most people in our communities don’t drive.
We have also spent time educating the black community about Covid-19 vaccines. The GNYC-BNA supplied black nurses to vaccination centers to encourage the black community to get their vaccine. We have supported senior citizens to fill out vaccine forms or make appointments for their vaccine.
Our goal is to achieve:
- healthcare equity among black communities and access to high-quality healthcare
- safe workplaces for healthcare professionals
- Education equity
- Serving the black community in any way possible
How do you become a member?
You can go along to one of our chapter meetings or online. You can become a non-nurse member too.
What are the member benefits?
Being part of our network will give you access to:
- the camaraderie
- job opportunities
- scholarship opportunities for every level from BSN, to Masters and Doctorates
- receiving support for growth within the profession
- awards and recognitions
- executive leadership growth
During the pandemic, we gave out emergency scholarships to help while times were hard.
What is most challenging for nurses right now?
During this current pandemic, having to stay up on their feet and continuing to put one foot in front of the other to care for their patients. For black nurses, knowing their community has been hit hardest and caring for so many of their own community. Many have lost family, friends and colleagues. Now that the vaccines are being rolled out, many of the black community are hesitant to receive them due to having bad experiences of receiving inadequate healthcare in the past. Now they are being encouraged to take the vaccine as their community was hit hardest forcing the black community back into the spotlight, following on being in the spotlight after the George Floyd tragedy.
What’s next for the GNYC-BNA? What are your plans for 2021?
- Continuing to support the vaccination clinics with black nurses will hopefully encourage more people in the black community to take up the vaccine. Three clinics are being set up in Manhattan (Harlem), Queens and Brooklyn.
- Expanding on our scholarship programmes.
- Outreach programmes: trying to ensure funding from grants actually reaches the communities they are intended for.
Dr Johnson would like to note that he is very thankful to each and every one of their members and the Board, especially for all their continued hard work and support during the pandemic. He hopes their Chapter and organization can continue to grow. And to always live by their mission ‘For the greater good.’
Thank you to Dr Johnson and everyone at the GNYC-BNA for the amazing work you do to support the Greater New York City area.
You can read more about the GNYC-BNA and sign up to become a member here.