Media contact: Hannah Echols
University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Nursing associate professor, and alumnus Blake K. Smith, MSN, are making a difference in the future of nursing by serving on the National Commission to Address Racism in Nursing.Martha A. Dawson, DNP,
The commission launched in January 2021 by the American Nurses Association, the National Black Nurses Association, the National Coalition of Ethnic Minority Nurse Associations and the National Association of Hispanic Nurses.
“The commission is a professional nursing commission that was organized to address racism in nursing and the lack of progress to diversify in the profession of nursing, to better represent the diversity in America, and to better meet the health care needs of our Black and Brown populations,” Dawson said. “This commission’s vision is to ensure the nursing profession creates an antiracist praxis and environment.”
Dawson, who was recently re-elected president of the National Black Nurses Association Inc., serves as one of five co-leads. There are an additional 23 other members of the commission who serve in leadership roles of major nursing organizations in the United States.
The commission will use listening sessions with nurses of color to understand the impact of systemic and institutional racism and to develop an action-oriented approach across the spectrum of education, practice, policy and research.
“The commission’s goal is to not only highlight racism in nursing, but also be actionable about the issues within our society and examine how we can positively impact nurses and the nursing profession going forward,” said Smith, who is also president of the American Association for Men in Nursing. “We hope that the scope and standards of practice we develop help us not only right now, but far into the future in the nursing profession in the direction that best suits all persons.”