National Black Nurses Association, Inc. Update on the 2020 Pandemic: COVID-19 and NBNA Resilience


By Dr. Martha A. Dawson, RN, FACHE

As our nation grapples with the effects of the current national health crisis,I say thank you to the entire NBNA family for doing what you do best: CARING. You are self-organizing and showing resilience in the midst of an unknown storm. To our nursing colleagues, and health care workers, I say thank you for your sacrifices on behalf of the nation and the world.  If I may use a metaphor from complexity science and chaos theory called the “butterfly effects”, a butterfly flapped its wing in one country and the tiny disturbance created forces and patterns in other countries, including the United States.  In one week, diagnosis of COVID-19 cases in America progressed from 538 cases on March 9 to 7,000+ cases on March 16.  Two days later, on March 18, the number of cases in the U.S. was 8,500 with 145 deaths.  As the federal government implements emergency policies and protocols, NBNA members and others are organizing, working in teams, and reaching across boundaries to innovate, relieve stress, and care for the sick, while preparing for the worst and the unknown. 

Martha Dawson, DNP, RN, CNS, FACHE

Assistant Professor and Coordinator of Nursing
University of Alabama at Birmingham
School of Nursing, Birmingham, AL

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is spreading faster than AIDS/HIV, MERS, SARS, Ebola and the Zika viruses combined, and is placing burdens on all health care systems and related industries, such as equipment factories; pharmaceutical companies; gowns, masks, and linen suppliers; food, environmental, and hotel services; retailers; and education entities. No industry in the U.S. remains untouched, and all American citizens are affected. 

NBNA’s executive board remains mindful of our responsibilities to NBNA members.  Members of the executive board, board of directors, office staff, and chapter presidents are monitoring the impact of COVID-19 daily, and we are adjusting as needed to protect our employees, families, and operations.  National committee chairs are redirecting committee activities, addressing issues in relation to the pandemic and the fiscal welfare of our organization. For example, under the direction of board member, Dr. Shirley Evers-Manly, the Global Health Committee has redirected its focus from international outreach to issues of concern in local  communities.  Attorney Carthenia Jefferson and the Committee Against Violence are researching methods to increase the sharing of information via social media. Mrs. Trilby Barnes-Green, NBNA Treasurer, and the Finance Committee are monitoring the economic impact and stock market several times per week.  NBNA leaders are joining national and local virtual town hall meetings, learning and asking questions. 

We commend the leaders of our local chapters who have moved quickly to ensure the safety and health of their members.  Chapter meeting formats have transitioned from face-to-face to hybrid meetings in a virtual environment. These same leaders are cancelling and postponing chapter events to protect members, our families, supporters, and partners. Our members are sharing evidence-based best practices via webinars and other social media venues. Chapter leaders are working with mayors, public health officials, schools, and other community partners to provide services and add value.

The national office will continue to post updates on NBNA Facebook, and we are planning an informational webinar for our members and others. We encourage you to stay abreast of federal, regional, state, and local news updates.  Policies from these varied levels of government will have a profound effect on your personal and family health, and your work-life activities; therefore, stay informed and inform others, as we know you will.  As I hear about the stories of caring, sharing and just being there, I am so very proud to be one of you. 

Below are links to websites you should visit for accurate information: 

Tips for talking with our kids  

Information for Health Professionals –  

Pregnancy, delivery and breastfeeding –

Resources for the Homeless

Stay strong, safe, and keep doing what you do best:

Caring and Serving Others

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Global Health