National Black Nurses Association President to Keynote Southeast’s Fall Nursing Symposium


Southeast Missouri State University will celebrate the launch of a chapter of the Black Nurses Association of Southeast Missouri at a Fall Nursing Symposium Nov. 9.

The symposium is scheduled for 6-8 p.m. in Crisp Hall Room 125 and will feature keynote speaker Dr. Eric J. Williams, president of the National Black Nurses Association, DNP, RN, CNE, FAAN and professor of nursing at Santa Monica College in Los Angeles.

This event is co-sponsored by the Southeast Missouri Regional Nurses Association and the Lambda Theta Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International.

The event is open to all nurses — Registered nurses (R.N.), Licensed Practical Nurses (L.P.N.), nursing students and retired nurses — and will be an opportunity for nurses to network and mark this historic event. Co-hosting the event are the Southeast Missouri Regional Nurses Association, the National Black Nurses Association (NBNA) and the Lambda Theta Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International. This event is also open to interested University community members and the general community.

Vera Campbell-Jones, MSN, RN, RN-BC, a Southeast nursing instructor, a direct member of NBNA and a visionary leader of the Black Nurses Association of Southeast Missouri, is hoping to recruit new members during the symposium to obtain an NBNA charter for the Southeast Missouri Region. To obtain chapter status, there must be 15 members – R.N.s, L.P.N.s, student nurses and retired nurses — from the southeast Missouri area. Currently, the nearest NBNA chapters are in St. Louis, Missouri, and Memphis, Tennessee.

“Vera has been instrumental in promoting a new chapter for the past few years. Her hard work and dedication to the nursing profession is greatly appreciated,” said Desma Reno, Southeast assistant professor of nursing and president of the Lambda Theta Chapter Nursing Honor Society. “She has been able to recruit a national leader in nursing, Dr. Eric Williams, as the symposium’s keynote speaker. This is a wonderful opportunity for students and the nursing community to meet a national nursing leader. We are honored to be able to host him and to support the establishment of a new nursing organization in the southeast Missouri region.”

The National Black Nurses Association (NBNA) was organized in 1971 under the leadership of Dr. Lauranne Sams, former dean and professor of nursing, School of Nursing, Tuskegee University, Tuskegee, Alabama. NBNA is a non-profit organization incorporated on Sept. 2, 1972, in Ohio. NBNA represents 150,000 African American registered nurses, licensed vocational/practical nurses, nursing students and retired nurses from the United States, Eastern Caribbean and Africa, with 92 chartered chapters in 35 states. NBNA’s mission is “to represent and provide a forum for Black nurses to advocate and implement strategies to ensure access to the highest quality of healthcare for persons of color.”  Improving the health of African Americans through the provision of culturally competent health care services in community-based health programs has been the cornerstone of the NBNA.

Campbell-Jones said she has been working toward establishing an NBNA chapter in southeast Missouri since 2012.

“I am passionate about the goal of establishing a chapter in this area,” she said.  “The establishment of this chapter will provide an opportunity to promote for a more diverse health care workforce that will help to expand health care access and services for the underserved, foster research in areas of societal need, and enrich the understanding of community leaders and policymakers on how to better meet the needs of a diverse population.”

To RSVP to attend the Fall Nursing Symposium, please contact Vera Campbell-Jones at (573) 651-2753 or