BABNA and School of Nursing Celebrate Florence Stroud Black History Month Series Pre-Conference and Multicultural Nursing Mixer

On February 5 the UC San Francisco School of Nursing and the Bay Area Black Nurses Association (BABNA) jointly hosted a pre-conference and multicultural nursing mixer in advance of the annual Florence Stroud Black History Month Series Conference at Mission Bay. In celebration of the fifth anniversary, nursing students, faculty, and staff from the Bay Area convened for a full day of powerful speakers engaging in eye-opening topics ranging from tobacco, alcohol, big sugar, to diversity in nursing. The weekend of events honors registered nurse, Florence “Flo” Stroud, a UCSF professor and public health researcher, who was the first African American to serve as health director for the city of Berkeley. She is renowned as an advocate for the improvement of care, as well as an innovator of health care initiatives that addressed disparities.

Shown above: examples of advertisements and media materials throughout the years targeting racial/ethnic minorities and ultimately contributing to health disparities. Image taken from cover of Pre-conference and Multicultural Mixer Program materials.

Fittingly, in tribute to Stroud’s legacy, speaker presentations revealed astounding insights for conference participants in keeping with the event’s theme—Is it just coincidence? How does advertising, marketing, and media contribute to health disparities? One conference attendee described her response to the subtle yet intricate manipulation by the tobacco industry in targeted marketing for African Americans, stating, “Dr. Valerie Yerger’s tobacco keynote elucidated my subconscious perceptions and observations all these years,” adding that Dr. Yerger’s presentation was “truly amazing in revealing the influence of the tobacco industry so clearly and powerfully.” Several conference attendees echoed similar revelations and shared insights.

Each of the five presentations included lively question and answer exchanges, which added to the educational atmosphere of the event. The following presentation descriptions provide a glimpse into these unique sessions:

Arguably one of the most powerful corporate influences on health and health policy, the tobacco industry systematically exploits the vulnerabilities of the black community with its predatory marketing of menthol cigarettes. Tobacco companies have known of the addictive power of nicotine, and still relentlessly targeted black communities with a product infused with menthol, which only increases the addictive effect. Drs. Yerger and Gardiner provided specific suggestions on how community “watch-dogs” are able to support local efforts to reduce tobacco-related health disparities.

Alcohol and tobacco use are two of the most common risk factors for preventable diseases, injuries, and premature death. A deluge of advertising from the alcohol industry targeting ethnic/racial minorities contributes to health disparities. This presentation provided advertising tactics used by the alcohol industry, health implications, and introduced local organizations who are working to address this issue.

Black and Latino communities are at increased risk of sugar-related diseases—what role does marketing play? Nixon revealed how soda and other junk food companies use advertising and other media tactics both to target communities of color with unhealthy products and to fight policies that would improve health.

  • Next Steps (Un-Conference) Kim Scott, RN, MSN, MBA

An un-conference is a conference or session organized, structured, and led by the people attending it. Instead of passive listening, all attendees and organizers are encouraged to become participants, with discussion leaders providing moderation and structure for attendees. This session generated ideas useful in assisting the issues discussed throughout the conference at the local, state, and national levels.

In 2010, the Institute of Medicine released a report entitled, The Future of Nursing: Leading Health, Advancing Change, which highlights the need for greater emphasis on increasing diversity among healthcare professionals. Racial/ethnic minorities will represent the majority of the population by the mid-century but the diversification of the nursing workforce has not kept pace. A more diverse nursing workforce will allow for the delivery of culturally competent care, enhance communication, and strengthen patient/provider interactions.

Those attending the conference events on February 6, were able to participate in the following keynotes and presentations:

  • Leadership with a Conscience: We Cannot Afford to be Silent, Taking Action Influencing Policy Alameda County Public Health Department Tammy Lee, MPH, and Muntu P. Davis, MD, MPH and UCSF School of Nursing Sally Bates Endowed Chair in Health Disparities Catherine Waters, RN, PhD, FAAN
  • Dismantling the New Jim Crow: Women, Mass Incarceration, and Improving Reproductive Health Outcomes UCSF School of Nursing Monica McLemore, PhD
  • Juvenile Incarceration: Hope Versus Despair Alameda County Public Health Department Erica Arana
  • Cancer Inequities among African Americans: Who Can You Trust? UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center Rena Pasick, DrPH
  • What’s New in HIV Prevention San Francisco Department of Public Health, Bridge HIV, Albert Liu, PhD
  • Keynote Speaker—The State of African American Health: How Emerging Social Determinants Affect Outcomes Joy De Gruy, PhD

Director of Recruitment and Outreach Sergio Saenz, BABNA President Kim Scott, and Dean David Vlahov pose at the Multicultural Nursing Mixer in the UCSF Mission Bay Pub. Photo credit: Elisabeth Fall.

The Multicultural Nursing Mixer included VOCES Latinas Nursing Student Association, a student-based organization at UCSF School of Nursing whose purpose is to unite students from diverse backgrounds with an interest and passion for the Latino community. Faculty members from the UCSF School of Nursing with research and focused work in these areas were also in attendance, including Susan Chapman, RN, PhD, FAAN, Ruth Malone, RN, PhD, FAAN, Carmen Portillo, RN, PhD, FAAN, and David Vlahov, RN, PhD, FAAN. In addition to the captivating presentation entitled Nursing Diversity and Population Needs: Can the Two Ever Align? by Dr. Spetz, the group enjoyed refreshments and conversation at the Mission Bay Pub. The following is a gallery of images:

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