A Message from the President

September 22, 2018

As I begin my term as President of AAHN this month, I would like to first and foremost thank Mary Gibson for leading the organization these past two years as it has navigated some major changes and faced numerous challenges.  I would also like to thank the Riggs Corporation for their role in the transition process!  Brian, Jennifer, and Lisa have proved to be a great team – responsive to the members and eager to help us achieve new heights in membership and organization.   Thanks to each of you!

I would also like to share with you some recent activities and plans for the future. After reflecting on Julie Fairman’s message about diversity and inclusion in her keynote address, and with specific input from board members, both old and new, about our need to improve in this area, I have asked Kylie Smith to chair a Task Force on Diversity and Inclusion. She will do so in concert with board members Amanda Mahoney, Shannon Perry, and Dominique Tobbell, to be joined by two AAHN members who are not on the board. I have requested that this Task Force make recommendations to the Board at the spring Board meeting, during our strategic planning session, for ways that we can continue to be more inclusive and sensitive to diversity issues in the future.  As members who value the use of a social framework for our historical analyses, it is important that we examine our own biases –about race, class, and gender – within the historical context in which we ourselves live and work.  I have long known this organization to be open, accepting, and welcoming, and hope that we can strive to do even better in this regard.  On behalf of the Board, I would like to express a sincere apology to any and all members who were hurt, excluded, or offended during our conference.

In my acceptance speech in San Diego, I mentioned that we would undertake strategic planning for the organization in March, in the two days following the International Randolph Conference at the University of Virginia.  I chose those days for the Board of Directors’ spring meeting in the hopes that many of the Board members can attend without incurring the costs of a separate trip.  Dr. Wall, the Director of the Eleanor Crowder Bjoring Center at UVA, has graciously offered to host us for that meeting, providing space in the Center for the session. Thank you Dr. Wall!   Our leaders for that meeting will be Keeling and Associates, a firm specializing in strategic planning for Higher Education and committed to diversity and inclusion.  (Moreover, they will do the session pro bono, which is a plus given our financial situation!  And yes, I recused myself from the Board’s vote on accepting their offer.)

At the conference in San Diego, I also mentioned that we had received a gift of $3000.00 from Dr. Eleanor Crowder Bjoring to offer a new H21: The Eleanor Crowder Bjoring Senior Research grant, in 2019.  I have asked the Research Committee under Dominique Tobbell to draft the criteria for this grant, with the understanding that it would be intended for a senior researcher (one who has a significant publication history) to begin a new project.  Stay tuned for the call for applications once these details have been decided.

As you know, plans are already underway for the 2019 conference in Dallas, Texas in September (dates TBD soon!).   The Board is also investigating the possibility of a conference in 2020 in the UK, and we are hopeful that the plans will work out.  More to come!  If any of you would like to host a conference in the future, I would love to hear from you at [email protected].

I am looking forward to working with each and every one of you!  Please don’t hesitate to contact the Board members or myself with ideas, hopes, and concerns.  And please encourage others to join! 

Arlene W. Keeling, PhD, RN, FAAN


The Benefits of Membership

History provides current nurses with the same intellectual and political tools that determined nursing pioneers applied to shape nursing values and beliefs to the social context of their times. Nursing history is not an ornament to be displayed on anniversary days, nor does it consist of only happy stories to be recalled and retold on special occasions. Nursing history is a vivid testimony, meant to incite, instruct and inspire today's nurses as they bravely tread the winding path of a reinvented health care system.

To find out about these nursing pioneers and their efforts, join the American Association for the History of Nursing.

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Sponsored by Samuel Merritt University School of Nursing and San Diego State University

Join us for the 35th Annual American Association for the History of Nursing Conference on September 13-15, 2018 in San Diego, CA!