Shirey, Grau advocate for Hispanic health policy

Grau and Shirey with Adrianna Nava, the current NAHN president.
Grau and Shirey with Adrianna Nava, the current NAHN president.

By Laura Gasque

University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Nursing leaders are helping to transform health care policy for the Hispanic community. Dean and Fay B. Ireland Endowed Chair in Nursing Maria R. Shirey, PhD, MBA, MS, RN, NEA-BC, ANEF, FACHE, FNAP, FAAN, and Adjunct Assistant Professor Grace Grau, DNP, CRNP, ACNP-BC, AACC (DNP 2015), attended the National Association of Hispanic Nurses’ Health Policy Summit in Washington, D.C. in February to advocate for nursing workforce expansion and access to culturally sensitive care.

Grau serves on the NAHN Board of Directors and was on the planning committee for the inaugural summit. Shirey was invited as a prominent Hispanic nurse leader and one of only a few deans of schools of nursing in attendance.

“The NAHN Health Policy Summit provided an opportunity for proactive discussion regarding priority topics that impact the healthcare workforce and solutions for enhancing access to care for the diverse populations we serve,” Shirey said.

The NAHN Health Policy Summit united various national organizations across disciplines focused on education, health policy coaching, and sharing of resources. Participants also took part in the Hill Day Visits to the offices of senators and congressmen advocating as NAHN members on issues related to supporting the expansion of the nursing workforce and increasing access to patient-centered culturally sensitive care for vulnerable populations.

"Serving to organize this first Hispanic Health Policy summit for NAHN added an extra layer of advocacy, a collaborative effort to amplify the Latino voice on a national level to improve health equity, reduce disparities, improve health and advance leadership for all who participated,” Grau said.

Joining Grau and Shirey in Washington was Lindsey Harris, DNP, CRNP, FNP-BC (MSN 2011, DNP 2016), a UABSON alumna who was the first African-American president of the Alabama State Nurses Association and is currently completing a Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellowship in Washington, D.C.. Harris is the only nurse in her fellowship cohort and is spending her experience working in the office of Congresswoman Lauren Underwood (D-IL) who is a nurse and the first woman, first person of color, and first millennial representing her community in Congress.

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