Faculty, alumna team with NBNA

Photo of Lee and Coleman

By Erica Techo

A University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Nursing faculty member and alumna are leading a project for the National Black Nurses Association to create a program to increase the awareness of nursing as a career option among elementary-aged students from traditionally underrepresented groups.

UAB School of Nursing Associate Professor Loretta Lee, PhD, CRNP, FNP-BC, CNE (MSN 1991, PhD 2012), and alumna Jennifer Coleman, PhD, RN, CNE, COI (BSN 1976), are co-principal investigators on a $248,000 grant awarded to NBNA to support the creation of NBNA Mini Nurse Academies, an early experiential nursing program for students in third through sixth grade. The grant was one of 40 awarded by Direct Relief's Fund for Health Equity which was created to increase access to health care and improve health outcomes for marginalized communities.

"The purpose of this innovative program is to increase student awareness of nursing as a career option and to provide students with knowledge and skills related to professional nursing practice,"" Lee said. "In these academies, students in third through sixth grades from school districts where there are large communities of color will be introduced to the nursing profession by professional nurses who share similar backgrounds and lived experiences."

The NBNA Mini Nurse Academy consists of learning modules that include class discussions, guest presentations, interactive hands-on activities and ongoing mentorship. It will also address social determinants of health by educating students about healthy lifestyles.

"NBNA believes in early student enrichment programs with an orientation toward science-based disciplines, particularly nursing,"" Coleman said. "The goal is to greatly improve the chances of young children from traditionally underrepresented communities and men possessing the knowledge and skills related to professional nursing, and subsequently entering the nursing workforce."

The grant recipients were selected by the Fund for Health Equity's Advisory Council, which includes NBNA President and CEO, and UABSON Associate Professor Martha Dawson, DNP, RN, FACHE (BSN 1976, MSN 1984). Other members of the advisory council include:

  • Co-Chair Regina Benjamin, MD, MBA, 18th U.S. Surgeon General of the United States, Founder Bayou Clinic, Inc. and an alumna of the UAB Heersink School of Medicine
  • Co-Chair Byron Scott, MD, MBA, Board Director of Direct Relief and Chair of its Medical Advisory Council
  • Jane Delgado, PhD, MS, President and CEO of the National Alliance for Hispanic Health
  • Gail Small, JD, Head Chief Woman, a citizen of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe
Last modified on January 28, 2022

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