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University of Maryland nursing pioneers honored for impacting communities

Posted at 6:19 PM, Jan 30, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-30 19:17:57-05

BALTIMORE — Monday, the University of Maryland’s School of Nursing announced expansion plans while honoring two of their nursing pioneers that made the changes possible.

Remembering the past while honoring the future was the mission for the expansion at the University of Maryland’s School of Nursing.

Yolanda Ogbolu, who’s an associate professor, said it’s a day she will hold close to her forever.

“It’s been so exciting to be there and to see two visionary pioneers honored and to have their names sketched on our building is a memory that will stay with me forever. Honoring amazing visionary Black leaders. Nurses that have focused on social justice, on health equity and really improving care for the underserved,” Ogbolu said.

It’s what nurses Esther McCready and Shirley Nathan-Pulliam embodied.

It’s why they were both honored in a ceremony to announce their names being engraved on the building as part of this new expansion.

“I think it’s particularly wonderful, especially as a Black woman to see other Black women who have paved the way. Other Black nurses that have showed us how to work on issues that are very important to the Black communities that we serve,” Ogbolu said.

Issues like health disparities often present themselves in minority communities.

“Whether it’s maternal mortality or infant mortality, or hypertension that those are issues that are more likely to impact people of color than any other race,” Ogbolu said.

They are issues senator Shirley Nathan-Pulliam dedicated more than 30 years of her life working on, while creating policies and programs to help those impacted.

Jane Kirshling, who’s the dean for the School of Nursing at University of Maryland, said now the school where Nathan-Pulliam got her start is honoring the work she and Esther McCready completed, that will impact future nursing students as well.

“It’s really an important part of our history to recognize these two phenomenal alumni both open doors to generations of nurses of color to be able to enter the profession, and to make a difference in the lives of the people that they care for,” Kirshling said.

Kirshling said she wants other nursing students to know their single actions can be just as impactful if they too stay persistent.

“Their actions can make a difference similar to what Shirley Nathan-Pulliam action has taken and Esther McCready. So continue to push for equality, continue to push for health equity issues, just stay in the present moment to advocate on behalf of all people of Maryland,” Kirshling said.