Nettie Birnbach, Former President of AAHN, Passed Away

Nettie Birnbach 1926-2019

Nettie Birnbach (nee Sodikow), EdD, RN, FAAN, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, December 18, 2019. Born March 2, 1926, to the late Fred and Sophie (Pomerantz) Sodikow. Dr. Birnbach was a graduate of Kings County School of Nursing in Brooklyn, New York. She served in the United States Cadet Nurse Corp during WW II. A New Yorker for 67 years, Birnbach moved to south Florida in 1993 and left her mark in both states.

A dedicated nurse, Dr. Birnbach returned to school in her 40’s earning a Bachelors in Nursing (cum laude) from Molloy College in Rockville Centre, NY, and a Masters in Nursing Education and a Doctorate of Education from Columbia University Teachers College.

After 18 years of nursing practice, Dr Birnbach turned her love to nursing education and served 22 years as a nurse educator in baccalaureate and higher degree programs. She is Professor Emeritus at the College of Nursing, State University of NY at Brooklyn, where she assisted in the development of a clinical Master’s Degree program in Nursing.

A nurse historian and clinical specialist in community health nursing, Dr. Birnbach is the author of several books, edited others and contributed forewards and chapters for other authors. She presented approximately 70 papers on nursing and nursing education in the US, Europe and Canada.

Dr. Birnbach's organizational engagement included President of the New York State Nurses Association (1991-93) and District 14 (Nurses Association of the Counties of Long Island, Inc. NACLI). She was President of the American Association for the History of Nursing (1998-2000) and was inducted into the American Nurses Association Hall of Fame in 2014. As shown in photo above, Dr. Birnback was honored in 2010 with the Teachers College Nursing Education Alumni Association R. Louise McManus Award at which time she was also inducted into the TC Nursing Hall of Fame.

Dr. Birnbach was a leader in osteoporosis education in Florida and other states and an active volunteer with the Palm Healthcare Foundation. She was inducted into the YWCA Academy of Women Achievers in 1993.

A four-generation life member of Hadassah, Dr. Birnbach served on the National Board in 2003 and was founder and past president of the Henrietta Szold Nurses Council of Hadassah in the Florida Atlantic Region. A lover of the arts, she was named Volunteer of the Year (2011) for her extraordinary dedication to the Kravis Center in Palm Beach, FL.

Proudest of her family, Dr. Birnbach was married to Marvin, the love of her life, for 54 years. Surviving are her three daughters Sarah Sheila Birnbach (Jake Guttmann) of Rockville, MD; Lois Wolf (Bill Hall) of Fairport, NY; and Jane Birnbach of Wilmington, NC. In addition, she is lovingly remembered by 6 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren.