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Susie Walking Bear Yellowtail – #DiversityInHealthcare

Diversity in Healthcare

Susie Walking Bear Yellowtail was born in Montana in 1903. She graduated from Boston Hospital’s School of Nursing with honors in 1923, making her the first person of Apsáalooke (Crow) descent to become a registered nurse.

Generations of indigenous American* children were sent to boarding schools where they were expected to give up their language, beliefs, and traditions. However, Yellowtail closely held onto her Apsáalooke culture throughout her life, marrying a religious leader, creating intricate traditional beadwork, and advocating for tribal healers’ ability to see patients.

Her career as a nurse was spent in service to indigenous Americans – both members of the Apsáalooke tribe and beyond. She documented healthcare injustices and advocated for improvements to the Indian Health Service. Among her many awards and recognitions, she received the President’s Award for Outstanding Nursing from John F. Kennedy in 1962.

Susie Walking Bear Yellowtail passed away in 1981, and has since been inducted into both the Montana and the American Nurses Association Halls of Fame.

*We have used the term “indigenous American” with the recognition that appropriate terminology used to refer to these diverse peoples is an ongoing discussion.

Info sources: http://montanawomenshistory.org/susie-walking-bear-yellowtail-our-bright-morning-star/; https://mhs.mt.gov/Portals/11/education/Montanans/yellowtail2.pdf

Photo source: http://montanawomenshistory.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/023WHM-PAc-87-71-Tom-and-Susie-Yellowtail.jpg

Hazel Johnson-Brown – #DiversityInHealthcare

Diversity in Healthcare

Hazel Johnson-Brown graduated from the Harlem Hospital School of Nursing before joining the Army in 1955, soon after the official end of segregation in the armed forces. In 1979, she became the first black chief of the United States Army Nurse Corps, as well as the first black female brigadier general. The Army Nurse Corps was established in 1901 and is comprised of registered nurses. It is the nursing arm of the Army Medical Department.

After retiring from the military, Johnson-Brown worked in academia at Georgetown University and George Mason University, where she pursued an interest in health policy. She retired from her academic career in 1997.

Information and photo source: https://www.army.mil/africanamericans/profiles/johnson.html

Dr. Ildaura Murillo-Rohde – #DiversityInHealthcare

Diversity in Healthcare

Dr. Ildaura Murillo-Rohde, PhD, RN, FAAN, is best known as the founder of the National Association of Hispanic Nurses.

Born in Panama in 1920, Dr. Ildaura Murillo-Rohde arrived in the U.S. in 1945 and began her nursing career in San Antonio, Texas. Despite the largely Hispanic population of San Antonio, she found few Hispanic nurses serving the community.

This experience promoted her determination to obtain a Bachelors of Arts degree in Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing at New York’s Columbia University. She continued with her education and obtained a Master and Doctorate. In 1971, Dr. Murillo-Rohde was the first Hispanic nurse awarded a PhD from New York University.

In the 1970s Dr. Rohde secured a federal position reviewing research and educational grants. She encountered the same experience as in San Antonio: no Latina nurses in academic settings in research or in public policy, and she was motivated to make change.

Murillo-Rohde became an associate dean at the University of Washington and was the first Hispanic nursing dean at SUNY. Murillo-Rohde founded the National Association of Spanish-Speaking Spanish-Surnamed Nurses (NASSSN), known as the National Association of Hispanic Nurses (NAHN) after 1979, and served as its first president.

Dr. Murillo-Rohde was dedicated to the Hispanic population in her work as a psychiatric nurse and focused on cultural awareness in nursing practice. Her vision was to assist Latinas in securing their education to provide service to their community and in helping themselves.

Dr. Ildaura Murillo-Rohde passed away in 2010 in her native Panama. NAHN awards a scholarship and an educational excellence award in her honor.

Info sources: https://www.nahnnet.org/NAHN/About/History/NAHN/Content/History.aspx?hkey=45d72c12-d9fb-4a57-860a-5053827c9649
http://nahnnet.org/NAHN/Content/Ildaura_Murillo-Rohde.aspx

Photo source: http://nahnnet.org/NAHN/Content/Ildaura_Murillo-Rohde.aspx

Post written by Stefanie Lapka.