Celebrating Nursing Diversity

2022 PridePride Month

The Academy spotlighted the following individuals during Pride Month in June 2022:

Billy A. Caceres, PhD, RN, FAHA, FAAN, PhD, RN, FAAN
Dr. Caceres currently serves as an Assistant Professor at the School of Nursing and the Center for Sexual and Gender Minority Health Research at Columbia University. His research uses biobehavioral approaches to mitigate psychosocial risk factors for cardiovascular disease. He is currently the Principal Investigator of the RESTORE Study which seeks to use data science to examine associations of discrimination with sleep health and blood pressure in Black and Latino LGBTQ+ adults.


Dr. Boyd, Professor Emerita, University of Michigan, and Founding Director, Center for the Study of Drugs, Alcohol, Smoking & Health, conducts mixed-method studies to examine the relationship between gender, health, and drug, alcohol, and nicotine use. In particular, she researches prescription drug adherence and misuse among adolescents and young adults, with a particular focus on the LGBTQ+ communities, through innovative online surveys.


Dr. Saewyc, Professor and Distinguished University Scholar & Director, School of Nursing at the University of British Columbia, leads the Stigma and Resilience Among Vulnerable Youth Centre. The Centre researches how stigma and trauma influence the health of marginalized young people – particularly LGBTQ+, runaway and homeless youth, Indigenous young people, and survivors of sexual abuse and trauma. Her current research evaluates intersectional population-based interventions and their impact on reducing health inequities for LGBTQ+ youth.


Dr. Raper, Professor of Medicine and Nursing and Scientist for the Centers of AIDS Research, University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), has devoted his career to improving care for HIV populations. His combined background of law and research has enabled him to advocate on behalf of HIV/AIDS patients, transforming their access to care. Dr. Raper influenced the creation of an HIV nursing specialty recognized by the American Nurses Association and is currently working to develop a master’s advanced practice nursing specialty in HIV/AIDS at UAB.


Dr. Dickinson, Head of the Department of Mental Health Nursing, Kings College London, has prioritized the mental health of older adults throughout his career. His primary area of focus is to advance equity, diversity, and inclusion in health care and education by promoting inclusive gerontological care for older LGBTQ+ adults in care homes. A proponent of advancing mental health for LGBTQ+ populations throughout his career, his PhD thesis collected oral histories of LGBTQ+ patients from 1935-1974 who received aversion therapy.


Dr. Hughes, Associate Dean for Global Health and Executive Director of the Center for Sexual and Gender Minority Health Research at Columbia University, is an internationally-renowned expert on women’s mental health and sexual minority women’s health. Her research on alcohol use among sexual minority women has grown into the longest-running longitudinal study on the topic. Dr. Hughes’ extensive research has been funded by numerous federal agencies and resulted in over 160 peer-reviewed publications.

2022 AAPIAsian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month

The Academy spotlighted the following individuals during AAPI Heritage Month in May 2022:

Larissa Ann Africa, MBA, BSN, RN, FAAN
Larissa Africa, President of Versant Healthcare Competency Solutions, redesigned a traditional time-based Nurse Residency Program (NRP) into a competency-based model that addresses the workforce’s needs and developed a cutting-edge technology platform to accommodate its use across hospitals. The competency-based system allows individual nurse competency performance to be managed at the department, hospital, and system level, which has led to increased retention within the profession.


Dr. Wang, Dean, Florida State University College of Nursing, is a nationally-recognized leader in digital health. Her research uses technology to help patients age in place by optimizing behavioral lifestyle interventions and improving patient-centered outcomes in chronically ill and aging populations, especially among underserved and minority populations. Dr. Wang is the current President of the Asian American / Pacific Islander Nurses Association.

Eun-Ok Im, PhD, MPH, RN, CNS, FAAN

Dr. Im’s feminist-driven research adopts technologies to eliminate gender and ethnic differences in health and illness experiences for midlife women. A pioneer in this effort, her work has gained international recognition of her cross-cultural research on oncology and menopause among women. Dr. Im currently serves as the Senior Associate Dean for Research and Innovation and Edith Folsom Honeycutt Endowed Chair at Emory University, Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing.

Emerson Ea, PhD, DNP, MS, BSN, FAAN

Dr. Ea’s equity-centered research focuses on immigrant health and well-being, particularly among the Filipino population. His publications include topics such as immigrant health, gerontologic nursing, and nursing education and practice. Dr. Ea currently serves as Clinical Associate Professor and Associate Dean, Clinical & Adjunct Faculty Affairs at New York University Rory Meyers College of Nursing. He is also a member of the Academy’s D&I Committee.

2022_BHM.pngWomen's History Month

The Academy spotlighted the following individuals during Women's History Month, centered on Providing Healing, Promoting Hope, in March 2022:

Historic Women Healers

Susie King Taylor (1848-1912)
Known for being the first Black nurse during the American Civil War, Taylor was also the first Black woman to self-publish her memoirs.

Susie Walking Bear Yellowtail (1903-1981)
Yellowtail broke barriers for Indigenous women and fought for culturally competent healthcare. She became the first Native American in the U.S. to earn a nursing degree.

Ina May Gaskin (1940-)
An American midwife described as "the mother of authentic midwifery" for founding The Farm Midwifery Center, one of the first out-of-hospital birthing centers in the United States.

Ruth B. Merkatz, PhD, RN, FAAN
Ruth Merkatz is the Senior Clinical Advisor for the Population Council’s Reproductive Health program. She served as the first Director of the Office of Women’s Health at the Federal Drug Administration (FDA), where she led efforts to include women in all phases of clinical trials. Notably, at the FDA, Dr. Merkatz was directly involved in the approval of the first female condom and ensured all contraceptives provided labeling information for protection against sexually transmitted infections.

Versie Johnson-MallardPhD, APRN-BC, FAAN, FAANP

Dr. Johnson-Mallard’s innovative research focuses on women’s health, reproductive health promotion, STI prevention, HPV screening and prevention, and behavior change in response to culturally appropriate nursing interventions. She developed and disseminated a novel series of 3-D education sessions using Second Life®, which demonstrated how a virtual environment can be used as an innovative and effective educational intervention. She also developed the Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner (WHNP) program at Florida A&M University, the first WHNP program at an HBCU.

Alexis Dunn AmorePhD, CNM, FACNM, FAAN

Dr. Dunn Amore is committed to advancing the health of those most vulnerable. Her research and service are focused on dismantling perinatal health disparities as well as developing initiatives to address the root causes of maternal mortality. She works in collaboration with Georgia community organizations to address disparities in health outcomes for Black women and build social support in the community. Dr. Dunn Amore is a tenure track Assistant Professor at the Emory University School of Nursing and a Certified Nurse Midwife at the Atlanta Birth Center.

Pandora HardtmanDNP, RN, CNM, FACNM, FAAN

Dr. Hardtman has decades of midwifery experience working in diverse healthcare settings. Specializing in maternal/child health services in low-resourced and conflict settings, she is dedicated to improving women’s health outcomes during pregnancy and providing a safe space for women to receive care throughout their lives. Her work also focuses on improving access for midwives to practice to the fullest extent of their training and education. Dr. Hardtman currently serves as the Chief Nursing & Midwifery Officer of Jhpiego.

2022_BHM.pngBlack History Month

The Academy spotlighted the following individuals during Black History Month, centered on Black Health and Wellness, in February 2022:

Rhetaugh Dumas, PhD, MA, BSN, FAAN
Dr. Rhetaugh Dumas was a founding member of the American Academy of Nursing and was named a Living Legend in 2002. Dr. Dumas was the first woman and nurse to serve as Deputy Director of the National Institute of Mental Health. She was only the second African-American and was the first Black woman to be named and to hold the position of Dean at the University of Michigan when appointed in 1981.

Mary Eliza Mahoney
Mary Eliza Mahoney was the first Black licensed nurse in the United States after becoming one of four nurses to complete the New England Hospital for Women and Children graduate program in 1879. She helped found the National Association of Colored Graduate Nurses (NACGN) in 1908 and opened their first national convention.

Vernice Ferguson, BSN, MA, FAAN
Vernice Ferguson served as Academy President from 1981-1983 and was named a Living Legend in 1998. She was nationally and internationally known for her leadership role in fostering excellence in nursing care and education. She served as a nurse executive within the United States Department of Veteran Affairs, leading the nation’s largest staff of nurses, as well as the nursing department head at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center.

Colonel Lawrence Washington
Colonel Lawrence Washington was the first commissioned male Army Nurse Corps officer; the first black male Army Nurse Corps officer to receive the rank of colonel; and the first black male nurse to receive certification for residency education at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College. Lawrence has received numerous awards, including the US Legion of Merit.

Captain James Lavelle Dickens, DNP, FAAN, FAANP

Captain James Lavelle Dickens serves as the Survey Operations Group Long Term Care Manager for five states for Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Dallas. Through a social determinants of health lens, he has led multiple government initiatives to provide high-quality care in complex situations, including the Afghanistan Health Initiative to reduce maternal and infant mortality rates.

Felesia Bowen, PhD, DNP, APRN, FAAN
Dr. Felesia Bowen began her career as a US Army Nurse and is a veteran of the first Gulf War, having served in Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm. She is a renowned nurse scientist and leader, specializing in the study of childhood asthma and trauma in urban communities. Dr. Bowen currently serves as Associate Dean of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Guardia Banister, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN
Dr. Gaurdia Banister is known for her research and work to establish innovative models of interprofessional education, transition to practice considerations for culturally-diverse nursing students, and the impact of mentoring on career success and progression. Dr. Banister currently serves as the Executive Director of the Institute for Patient Care at Massachusetts General Hospital and on the Institute for Nursing Leadership’s National Advisory Council.

Gina S. Brown, PhD, MSA, RN, FAAN
Dr. Gina S. Brown serves as the Dean for the College of Nursing and Allied Health Sciences at Howard University, a prominent HBCU. In her role as Dean, she has improved the NCLEX pass rates. In her 25 years of nursing, she has helped prepare over 1,000 underrepresented clinicians for entry into the workforce, helping to diversify the profession as a whole.

Dorothy L. Powell, EdD, RN, FAAN

Dr. Dorothy Powell has been a force in the nursing profession. Beyond her academic roles, Dr. Powell’s dedication to service is evidenced through her leadership to develop a convalescent unit for homeless individuals in a large shelter in Washington, DC. She was also responsible for the development of a unique career training program, Nursing Careers for Homeless People, which has won national recognition.