Alumni recognized as NBNA Trailblazers

Jennifer Coleman and Cynthia Barginere receive National Black Nurses Association’s Trailblazer Award

Photo: BBNS trailblazersBy Hunter Carter
The National Black Nurses Association Inc. has recognized two University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Nursing alumni with the 2021 NBNA Trailblazer Award, a reflection of their dedication and work in promoting underrepresented populations in nursing.

Jennifer Coleman, PhD, RN, CNE, COI (BSN 1976), and Cynthia Barginere DNP, RN, FACHE (MSN 1995), were honored alongside five other Trailblazer Award recipients as part of the NBNA’s 49th Annual Institute and Conference, held virtually in early August.

Jennifer Coleman, PhD, RN, CNE, COI (BSN 1976)

When Coleman received the news that she had received the NBNA Trailblazer Award, she was shocked but also humbled to be recognized by her colleagues.

“I was really surprised and honored,” Coleman said. “Being honored by your peers is one of the highest honors you can receive, and I am just thankful for the support of the NBNA and the Birmingham Black Nurses Association (BBNA).”

Coleman, a professor at Samford University’s Moffett & Sanders School of Nursing, spends much of her time mentoring current and aspiring nurses throughout the Birmingham community through the BBNA and the Moffett & Sanders School of Nursing.

“Everybody needs a nurse some time or another,” Coleman said. “With the nursing population not being as diverse as the population in general, the BBNA believes that if our communities have more nurses that share the values of circumstances of particular populations then patient and bedside care will be improved.”

To promote a strong nursing pipeline, Coleman coordinates a mentorship program through the BBNA. As part of the program, BBNA partners with nursing schools from the greater Birmingham area to pair nursing students with working nurses so they can learn from individuals with similar backgrounds, experiences and struggles.

“The BBNA currently has more than 200 members that are very diverse not only in their ethnicity and race, but also in their education and professions,” said Coleman. “We know from research that minority students are less likely to pass nursing school, and our hopes are that with the assistance of a mentor who has faced the same challenges that they are and are going to face, it will motivate those students to finish their degrees and impact their communities and patients.”

Since becoming an educator, Coleman has influenced not only nursing education in the Birmingham area but also across the Southeast as a mentor and educator. Coleman served as the president of the BBNA from 2013 to 2015 and has received numerous teaching honors including the Excellence in Teaching Award from the Alabama League for Nursing, the Outstanding Nurse Educator of the Year from the Alabama State Nurses Association and the Nurse Educator of the Year by the NBNA.

Cynthia Barginere, DNP, RN, FACHE (MSN 1995)

Barginere has been honored by the NBNA for her work before, but for her the Trailblazer Award is a special honor in itself, she said.

“This award is an acknowledgment of the work I have done, and having an association who I respect and cherish like the NBNA honor me for my dedication to improving the health and wellness of my community is just an incredible honor,” said Barginere.

Barginere is a member of the Board of Directors for the DAISY Foundation, an international foundation that recognizes the work and compassion of nurses around the world. The DAISY Foundation created a recognition for nurses who were doing research and evidence-based practice research in the area of equity.

“The first thing I did was contact some of my mentors at the NBNA, one of those being the president of the NBNA, Dr. Martha Dawson,” said Barginere. “I wanted the recognition to be related to minority researchers and nurses in underrepresented communities and the NBNA were a tremendous help in the development of this award.”

With the help of the NBNA, the Health Equity Award was established by the DAISY Foundation. This award honors nurses whose work advances health equity, mitigating health disparities that are caused by social determinants of health.

Barginere also was honored to play a role in helping secure implement the Pfizer grant that the NBNA received. Barginere hopes that with this grant, families across the country will continue to get vaccinated, that nurses and health professionals will have the proper resources to educate their communities on the importance of getting vaccinated and will provide mental health services for the nurses on the front lines that are saving lives day in and day out.

Barginere is the Chief Operating Officer for the Institute of Healthcare Improvement. Prior this role, she was Chief Transformation Officer/Senior Vice President at Rush University System for Health in Chicago, where she was responsible for extending the system’s reach and operationalizing clinical service lines and centers across the Chicago region. Through Barginere’s dedication and leadership Rush University earned their fourth and fifth designation as a Magnet hospital, the highest honor in nursing.

Read 766 times Last modified on September 30, 2021

Upcoming Events