2017 AAHN Annual Meeting

Keynote & Plenary Speakers

Fairport New YorkEleanor Krohn Herrmann Keynote Speaker
Can the Nurse and the Public Intellectual Exist as One Person? Mapping Lillie Johnson's Journey
Karen Flynn, PhD, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Taken separately, the words "nurse" and "public intellectual" engender certain responses. The former is linked to caring for the sick or the infirm often in a hospital setting; the latter, a much more contested definition that often refers to an academic who speaks to a larger audience about particular issues. And, while there are, over 3,129,452 active RN's in the United States, the number of public intellectuals is obviously much smaller for obvious reasons. One reason is the political economy of education compared to that of nurses. Regardless of geographical location, we need nurses, whereas the supply of intellectuals is more stable. Another reason is that it is difficult to define who is a public intellectual, and what criteria are being used. This conundrum is aptly noted by Trinidadian writer and activist C. L. R. James writing about black intellectual in Britain, in the 1970s.  He maintained that "once the complexity of definition has been established we can go ahead cheerfully, knowing that many who are in ought to be out and quite a few who are out ought to be in." The purpose of this presentation is to make an argument for nurse Lillie Johnson as a pragmatic public intellectual. In 1950, at the age of twenty-six, Jamaican born Johnson migrated to Scotland to pursue her lifelong dream as a nurse. In 1960, she migrated to Canada, and has had an incredible career as a public health nurse, nurse administrator, and consultant. It was during the 1970s, however, that Johnson came across sickle cell patients while working as public health nurse that led to the founding of the Sickle Cell Association of Ontario (SCAO) in 1981.

Using the life history approach, primary sources, and heeding the directives of scholars such as Joy James, Erica Lawson, and Edward Said in particular, I posit that if we reconfigure and expand the definition of the public intellectual to include those, such as nurses, Johnson's untiring and endless intervention and advocacy marks her as a public intellectual. It is Johnson's nursing education and experience, both materially and discursively that informs her activism even in retirement. Indeed, the nurse and the public intellectual can co-exist as one person!

Fairport New YorkClosing Plenary Address
Why Historical Trauma Must Inform American Indian HealthCare Today
Margaret P. Moss, PhD, JD, RN, FAAN, University at Buffalo, School of Nursing

American Indians have experienced great cultural, land, and life losses through targeted, sustained, and devastating state and federal policies and laws for hundreds of years.  The traumas of their ancestors are manifested in the present day population through a variety of physical and mental symptomatology.  Collectively, this is known as historical trauma coined by Braveheart in the late 1980s.  It can be shown through epigenetics. Therefore, special programming and care techniques are needed beyond ‘normal care’ to bring this population to optimum health.


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