To better meet America’s health needs and contribute to a Culture of Health, the nursing workforce needs to reflect the country’s multitude of ethnicities, races, cultures, and communities. Such diversity will ultimately increase health equity and help transform the way people get their health care.
The Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Steering Committee works to identify advocates and leaders to implement policies, programs, best and promising practices to ensure a diverse cadre of nurses; and to promote health equity and address systemic and institutional racism and other inequities for historically marginalized populations.
Eric J. Williams, DNP, RN, FAAN
Interim Associate Dean of Health Sciences
Santa Monica College
Blake K. Smith, MSN, RN
American Association for Men in Nursing
Eun-Ok Im, PhD, RN, FAAN
Asian American/Pacific Islander Nurses Association, Inc
Mimi Snyder, PhD, MSN, RN
Chair, GLMA Nursing Section
Biography – coming soon
Sandy Littlejohn, MA, BSN, RN
National Alaska Native American Indian Nurses Association, Inc
Adrianna Nava, PhD, MPA, RN
National Association of Hispanic Nurses
Martha Dawson, DNP, RN, FACHE
National Black Nurses Association
Debra Toney, PhD, RN, FAAN
National Coalition of Ethnic Minority Nurses Association
Mary Joy Garcia-Dia, DNP, RN, FAAN
Philippine Nurses Association of America, Inc.
Kupiri “Piri” Ackerman-Barger is associate dean of Health Equity, Diversity and Inclusion as well as an associate clinical professor at the University of California Davis Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing. She serves as a researcher for the Center for a Diverse Healthcare working to diversify the health professions pipeline. Ackerman-Barger is also a diversity adviser for the Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action. She earned a doctor of philosophy in nursing education from the University of Northern Colorado, a master of science in nursing education from California State University, Sacramento, and a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Humboldt State University.
Martha Dawson is the current president of the National Black Nurses Association Inc. She leads the Association in its mission is to represent and provide a forum for collective action by African American nurses to advocate for and implement strategies to ensure access to the highest quality of healthcare for persons of color.* She also serves as an associate professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Nursing and teaches in the division of Nursing and Health System Leadership, Nursing and Health System Administration (NHSA) track and Executive DNP track. Previously, Dawson served as the MSN Specialty Coordinator for NHSA and the Director of the Nursing and Health Systems Leadership Division. She earned her doctor of nursing practice from Case Western Reserve University, a master’s degree in nursing from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and a bachelor’s degree in nursing from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
Regina Eddie, PhD, RN
Regina Eddie is an assistant professor at the Northern Arizona University School of Nursing. She is a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Nursing and Health Policy Collaborative fellow and a diversity adviser for the Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action. Her program of research is focused on using socio-ecological and Navajo cultural frameworks to evaluate school food policies and practices. Eddie’s dissertation study highlighted the importance of policy and school engagement for promoting health in children and assisting in prevention of childhood obesity in the Navajo Nation. As an enrolled member of the Navajo (Dine’) Nation, and thus rooted in culture and tradition, and with her experience as a public health nurse and program director serving Navajo communities, Eddie possesses an in-depth knowledge and understanding of the many health issues and disparities affecting underserved populations in reservation communities. Eddie received her PhD in nursing from the University of New Mexico and her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Northern Arizona University.
Mary Joy Garcia-Dia, DNP, RN, FAAN
Mary Joy Garcia-Dia is the program director, Nursing Informatics, Information Technology Department at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. She represents the nursing informatics team across the healthcare system enterprise in spearheading the planning, designing, developing, training, implementing, communicating, maintaining, and evaluating existing or new functionality and technology related to the digital health system of the organization. Garcia-Dia is also president of the Philippine Nurses Association of America and a fellow of the New York Academy of Medicine. She earned a doctorate in nursing practice degree from Case Western University, a master’s degree in nursing informatics from New York University, and a bachelor’s degree in nursing from the University of St. La Salle in the Philippines.
Eun Ok Im is the senior associate dean for Research and Innovation and the Edith Folsom Honeycutt Endowed chair at Emory University. She oversees the overall research enterprise and is involved in research, teaching/mentoring, and professional services. She is also the president of the Asian American Pacific Islander Nurses Association. Previously, Im was the associate dean for Research and Regulations and Mary T. Champagne Professor at Duke University. She earned a PhD and a master’s degree in nursing from the University of California, San Francisco, a master’s in public health and a bachelor’s in nursing from Seoul National University in South Korea.
Scharmaine Lawson, DNP, FAANP, FAAN
Scharmaine Lawson is the medical director of Hope Community Clinic in New Orleans. Lawson has a nursing career that spans 30 years, with 18 of those years being an advanced practice registered nurse. She is also chief executive officer of Nola the Nurse® and Housecall Nation®. Nola the Nurse® is a children’s book series, which educates inner-city youth about career options in health care and the role of the nurse practitioner. She started the first nurse practitioner-owned house call practice in Louisiana. Since 2008, Housecall Nation® has been a training academy for educating other clinicians on how to start and maintain successful house call practices. In 2019, Lawson received the Primary Care Collaborative, Primary Care Award for outstanding clinical practice from the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners and Entrepreneur of the Year from the National Black Nurses Association. Lawson earned a doctorate in nursing practice degree from Chatham University, a master of science in nursing from Tennessee State University, and a baccalaureate of science in nursing from Dillard University. Additionally, she expects to graduate from Northwestern University in May 2021 with her Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Certification.
Sandra Littlejohn is administrative director of the Center for Cancer & Blood Disorders at Gundersen Health System in La Crosse, Wisconsin. She is also president of the National Alaska Native American Indian Nurses Association, and an enrolled member of the Lower Sioux Mdewakanton Dakota Community in Morton, Minnesota. Previously, Littlejohn held multiple leadership positions during her 28 years at Gunderson Health System. She received her master of arts in transcultural nursing and community care at Augsburg College, Minneapolis, Minnesota and a bachelor of science in nursing from St. Olaf College, Northfield, Minnesota.
Lisa Martin is an associate professor with St. Catherine University in St. Paul, Minnesota and a member of the Lac du Flambeau Band of Chippewa Indians in Wisconsin. She is also a diversity consultant for the Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action. She is the immediate past-president of the National Alaska Native American Indian Nurses Association. Previously, Martin has served as a research assistant with the Center for Adolescent Nursing at the University of Minnesota, and as a science administrator with the American Indian/Alaska Native MS-to-PhD Nursing Science Bridge project. She received her PhD in nursing from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, and her master’s and bachelor’s degrees in nursing from Augsburg University in Minneapolis.
Adrianna Nava, PhD, MPA, RN
Adrianna Nava is chief of quality and systems improvement at the Edward Hines Jr. VA Medical Center. She is also president of the National Association of Hispanic Nurses (NAHN). Nava focuses on building the leadership capacity of nurses, with a focus on Latino nurses, who continue to be underrepresented in health care leadership positions across the U.S. Through NAHN, she focuses on building the organizational structure to promote the advancement of Hispanic nurses to local, state, and national positions of leadership. In 2020, she received the Secretary of Veterans Affairs (VA) Award for Excellence in Nursing. She earned a PhD in nursing and health policy from the University of Massachusetts Boston, a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University, a master of science in nursing from the University of Pennsylvania, and a bachelor of science in nursing from Saint Francis Medical Center College of Nursing.
Barbara Nichols is the executive director of the Wisconsin Center for Nursing and a diversity adviser for the Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action. She provides expert consultation on global nursing execution, practice, and leadership. Prior to this, she served for 12 years as chief executive officer of CGFNS International, an immigration-neutral organization whose expertise regarding the education, registration, and practice of foreign educated nurses and other health professionals is recognized worldwide. Barbara has held a state Cabinet position dealing with statutory regulation of 59 occupations and is a former president of the American Nurses Association. She is the recipient of five honorary doctoral degrees and of numerous awards for her leadership and sustained contributions to the nursing profession. She holds a diploma in nursing from Massachusetts Memorial Hospital, in Boston; a bachelor’s in nursing from Case Western Reserve; and a master’s from the University of Wisconsin.
Adriana Perez is an assistant professor of nursing and senior fellow at the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing. As a current scientist at Penn’s Center for Improving Care Delivery for the Aging (CICADA), she conducts research focused on the influence of community level factors and resource utilization on sleep and well-being of home-dwelling, multi-ethnic older adults with Alzheimer’s Disease and related dementias and their care givers. Perez also serves as a board-certified Adult Nurse Practitioner at Mercy LIFE, a community based long-term care for diverse, frail elders who reside in North Philadelphia, and as a diversity adviser for the Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action. She received her PhD, master’s, and bachelor’s degrees in nursing from Arizona State University, College of Nursing & Health Innovation.
Blake K. Smith, MSN, RN
Blake K. Smith serves as a clinical documentation senior analyst at Nebraska Medicine in Omaha, Neb., where he leads all projects on patient education/health literacy, plan of care, business continuity access, and promoting interoperability for the health system. Smith advocates for clinicians to be successful in delivering efficient and high-quality information to improve health outcomes in the Omaha community. Smith is a leader in men’s health and male inclusion issues in the nursing profession and serves as the president for the American Association for Men in Nursing. He is a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation New Careers in Nursing Scholar and served as the first chair of the New Careers in Nursing Scholars Network as a founding member. He also serves as a member of the Nebraska Action Coalition Diversity Task Force and Leadership Committee. Smith earned a degree in exercise science research from Nebraska Wesleyan University, a bachelor’s in nursing from Nebraska Methodist College, and his master’s in nursing health systems management and administration from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
Debra Toney, PhD, RN, FAAN
Debra Toney is the director of quality management at Nevada’s largest federally qualified health center, Nevada Health Centers, Inc. (NVHC), comprising 18 health centers in urban, rural, and frontier Nevada. As the director, she is responsible for ensuring high quality and cost-effective health care throughout NVHC’s integrated practice of medical, dental, and behavioral health services. Toney works diligently on behalf of the nursing and health professions: She is the president of the National Coalition of Ethnic Minority Nurse Associations and serves as treasurer of the Nurses on Boards Coalition. She founded the Southern Nevada Black Nurses Association, now celebrating its 20th year. Her history of public service includes appointment by the state governor to the state’s Office of Minority Health advisory committee, where she provided leadership and direction as its first chair. She is a graduate of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Executive Nurse Fellows program. Toney is active with the Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action and is the chair of the Nevada Action Coalition and its Diversity Task Force.
Eric J. Williams is the interim associate dean of Health Sciences at Santa Monica College in California, where in 2001 he was the first African American male faculty member. He is the first male president of the National Black Nurses Association. Williams worked as a staff nurse and charge nurse in a variety of settings, including medical–surgical, emergency room, and the intensive care unit, and was for 10 years an assistant professor of nursing at Dillard University in New Orleans. In 2017, Williams was inducted as a fellow in the American Academy of Nursing for his work in violence reduction and stellar leadership. Williams earned a doctorate of nursing practice degree from the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing at Case Western Reserve University, a master’s with a focus in adult health and illness from the University of South Alabama, and his bachelor’s in nursing from William Carey University in Mississippi.