The History of the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care

The Association of Nurses in AIDS Care (ANAC) was founded on September 14, 1987, by twelve professional nurses with varying backgrounds, including administration, education, infection control, oncology, and research, who came together and created ANAC’s inaugural organizational structure, bylaws, and mission statement. The founding members were: Joan Blanchfield, Errol Chin-Loy, Michael Damon, Miriam Hawtof, Susan Holman, Janice Jacovini, Jeanne Kalinowski, Nancy McCaslin, Cathy McDermott, Thomas O’Donnell, Phyllis Spechko, Carolyn Sutton-DeBarros, Nancy Thayer, and William Mannion. The first President of the organization was Errol Chin-Loy, followed by: Gayling Gee (1990-1991), James Halloran (1991-1992), Cliff Morrison (1992-1993), Mary Jo Hoyt (1993-1994), Ann Kurth (1994-1995), Richard Ferri (1995-1996), Anne Hughes (1996-1997), Inge Corless (1997-1998), and Connie Highsmith (1998-1999). Because of changes in ANAC’s Bylaws, Adele Webb became the first President to serve a two-year term (1999-2001), followed by Lucy Bradley-Springer (2001-2003), F. Patrick Robinson (2003-2005), Christine Balt (2005-2007), and Carl Kirton (2007-2009). ANAC moved to a self-management structure in 2001 and appointed Adele Webb as Interim Executive Director (ED). In 2002, Akron, Ohio was approved to be ANAC’s permanent home and later that year, Adele Webb was appointed as ANAC’s first ED. ANAC’s National Office staff currently includes Kimberly Carbaugh, Kathy Reihl, Carole Treston, Peetie Newman and Erin Myers.

Growth and Development
On May 15, 1988, at a meeting in New York City, the first Board of Directors (BOD) was created and a membership drive began. The BOD launched the first ANAC Annual Conference in Baltimore that same year, and the conference has continued as an annual event since then: Baltimore (1988), Dallas (1989), Seattle (1990), New Orleans (1991), Orlando (1992), Los Angeles (1993), Nashville (1994), Boston (1995), Chicago (1996), Miami Beach (1997), San Antonio (1998), San Diego (1999), San Juan (2000), Minneapolis (2001), San Francisco (2002), New York City (2003), New Orleans (2004), Orlando (2005), and Las Vegas (2006). The Annual Conference has become a leading event for the exchange of cutting-edge and notes-from-the-field information on multiple aspects of HIV care and prevention. The Annual Conference also serves as the venue for ANAC’s Awards Ceremony, which recognizes outstanding members of the HIV/AIDS community, and the Celebration of Life, (formerly known as the Robert Martin Memorial), an annual ANAC tradition where attendees join together to remember those who have been lost to the HIV epidemic, and to share and celebrate the victories in this battle.

HIV/AIDS education has always been an ANAC priority. In 1989, ANAC established the HIV Nursing Fellowship Awards for ANAC members pursuing advanced education at the masters and doctoral level. The creation of the Associate Member category allowed nursing students to join ANAC. From 1992 to 1994, ANAC held Faculty Development Conferences to help schools of nursing incorporate HIV-related topics into their curricula. The Faculty Development Conference was reinstated for 2003. An HIV Pathogenesis Workshop was held in 1995 for chapter leaders, and a set of teaching slides on HIV was developed and distributed to all chapters. In 1998 ANAC successfully completed a Continuing Education (CE) Provider application, through the Virginia Nurses Association, allowing ANAC to provide nursing CE credits for ANAC-sponsored programs. In 2000 the first HIV/AIDS Educator Award was presented. Also in 2000, ANAC added a new dimension to educational activities with the introduction of the Distinguished Lecturer Program. This short-lived program highlighted a select group of outstanding, experienced ANAC lecturers who agreed to present a wide variety of HIV-related educational programs at a moderate cost. The inaugural group of ANAC Distinguished Lecturers included Jill Bormann, Lucy Bradley-Springer, Janie Butts, Robert Carroll, Inge Corless, Sheila Davis, Richard Ferri, Donna Gallagher, Don Kurtyka, Patrick Robinson, Hema Santhanam, and Lyn Stevens. Due to lack of utilization, the Distinguished Lecturer Program was disbanded in 2006.  Spring of 2004 saw the inception of the ANAC mid-year symposium, which features a different content focus each year.  The first symposium (2004) focused on clinical issues, the 2005 mid-year was centered on cutting edge issues in HIV Nursing Research, and in 2006, Women and Children.  In 2006, the ANAC Board of Directors approved an every-other-year HIV Nursing Research mid-year conference.  The 2007 HIV Nursing Research was held in April in San Antonio, Texas.

Professional Development
ANAC has also focused on the professional development of members who practice in a wide variety of HIV/AIDS settings. In 1989 ANAC inaugurated the Achievement Award for Excellence in Clinical Practice, named in memory of Joanne Ruiz, and the Achievement Award for Nursing Leadership in AIDS Care, named in memory of Frank Lamendola. Both awards are presented annually to outstanding ANAC members. In 1994, the Diversity Task Force recommended that ANAC incorporate respect for member diversity in all ANAC-sponsored activities.  This commitment to diversity has been carried forward through numerous initiatives, including the Diversity Student Mentorship Scholarship, initiated in 2004.  In 1996 a video entitled “Nursing the Epidemic: The Story of ANAC” was produced to chronicle the experiences and feelings of ANAC members who have been on the front-line of AIDS care since the start of the epidemic. In 2000 ANAC’s HIV+ Nurses Committee published +Nurse, the first newsletter of its kind, that candidly discusses concerns and issues shared by nurses who are HIV+. In early 2007, the +Nurse newsletter was included in the quarterly issue of ANACdotes. In 1998, ANAC inaugurated the Pediatric HIV Nursing Excellence Award (formerly named in memory of Diana, Princess of Wales, and sponsored for many years by ANAC member Charles Curti, LPN).  At the 2004 annual conference in New Orleans, two member awards were awarded for the first time: ANAC Spirit of Nursing Award (given to a member whose work embodies the ideals of HIV Nursing) and the ANAC Excellence in HIV Prevention Award,  recognizing a member who has excelled in HIV Prevention Nursing. 

In 1996, ANAC supported the creation of a separate corporation, the HIV/AIDS Nursing Certification Board (HANCB). The purpose of the new entity was to develop and administer an HIV nursing certification examination. The first examination was administered in October 1996 at the ANAC conference in Chicago. Candidates who successfully passed the proctored exam were entitled to use the ACRN credential (AIDS Certified Registered Nurse) for four (4) years; in 2000, the initial ACRNs completed the first recertification process. Currently, the ACRN examination is administered twice a year (Spring and Fall) via computer at more than 700 sites in the USA and Canada. Since 2003, the HANCB also administers the AACRN (Advanced ACRN) for Advanced Practice Nurses working with HIV/AIDS in a variety of clinical, research, and academic settings. In 2002, the HANCB moved to a self-managed structure, moved their offices to the ANAC headquarters, and appointed Adele Webb as their first Executive Director. HANCB Presidents have included:  Barbara Rickert (1996-1997), Susan Holman (1997-1998), Deena Schmidt (1998-1999), Felissa Lashley (1999-2000), Richard Ferri (2000-2001), Michael Relf (2001-2003), R. Kevin Mallinson (2003-2005), Gregory Grevera (2005-2007), and Robin Hardwicke (2007-2009).

ANAC has also promoted nursing research to improve the care and quality of life of persons infected and affected by HIV. The ANAC Researcher Recognition Award was inaugurated in 1996.  This award is presented at the HIV Research Summit to a nurse researcher who has made a significant contribution to research affecting the quality of life and care provided by nurses to individuals living with or affected by HIV. The Graduate Student Poster Competition Award was implemented in 1999 to encourage graduate nursing students to present research studies at the Annual ANAC Conference. In 2000 the first Nursing Research Grant Award to study anemia/fatigue in HIV/AIDS was presented. In 2000 ANAC also presented the first Evidence-Based Practice Conference on HIV symptom management. In 2002, an additional research grant related to co-infection with HCV was given. Also in 2002, ANAC joined with Sigma Theta Tau International to sponsor a special symposium on international HIV nursing research (July, 2003) and to co-sponsor an investigator initiated research grant.  2005 saw Research as the focus of the ANAC mid-year conference, and in that same year, the BOD voted to create a biannual mid-year Research Summit, which was inaugurated in 2007 in San Antonio, Texas.

The 1999 Bridge of Knowledge, created at the San Diego conference, showcased over 100 clinical articles, research studies, and book chapters on HIV/AIDS written over the past two decades by ANAC members, along with the many ANAC members’ book authors and editors. ANAC publications have included monographs on selected clinical topics, and Chapter Chat (published in 1995-1996 for chapter presidents). ANACdotes is the organization’s quarterly newsletter, which provides timely information on ANAC’s many activities. ANAC members who have served as Editors of ANACdotes are: Adele Webb (1992-1994), Clarissa Ramstead (1994- 1998) and Maithe Enriquez (1998-2002). The publication of ANAC’s Core Curriculum for HIV/AIDS Nursing (1996) marked a significant milestone for the Association. Kathleen McMahon Casey, Felissa Lashley (Cohen) and Anne Hughes worked with over one hundred ANAC authors to define the body of knowledge relevant to HIV/AIDS nursing practice. Carl Kirton served as the editor of the second edition of the curriculum, with the support of five section editors and dozens of ANAC members as authors that was published in 2003.  The third edition of the Core is currently under revision with an anticipated publishing date of 2008.

The premier issue of the Journal of the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care (JANAC) was published in the fall of 1989. JANAC quickly became a well-respected peer-reviewed publication listed in many indexes, including AIDS and Cancer Research, CINAHL, Index Medicus, International Nursing Index and MEDLINE. In 1994 publication increased from a quarterly to a bimonthly schedule. JANAC’s first editor, Jeanne Kalinowski, was named Editor Emeritus in 1995, Richard Sowell became the second editor (1996-2007) and Lucy Bradley-Springer was appointed as the third Editor in the Spring of 2007. International nurse leaders were appointed to the Editorial Board, reflecting JANAC’s status as an international HIV/AIDS nursing journal. Special supplemental issues of JANAC have focused on such ground-breaking topics as HIV prevention, education and HIV, medication adherence, HIV in prisons, and international issues in HIV/AIDS care. In 1998 the Editorial Board, with the assistance of JANAC’s publisher, created the annual JANAC awards program, which recognizes outstanding clinical and research articles. To facilitate the ongoing need for high-quality HIV/AIDS clinical and research articles, in 2000 the ANAC Board of Directors approved the implementation of JANAC’s Distinguished Writers Mentorship Program, designed to assist new authors through the developmental stages of a scholarly manuscript.

In 1990 ANAC implemented the mechanism for the creation of local chapters, providing members with resources located in their communities. Local chapters meet on a regular basis to expand education, service, and social contacts for professional HIV caregivers. ANAC now has over 45+ chapters, chapters-in-formation and special interest groups throughout the United States, including most recently, the Navajo Nation. Chapter leaders meet to discuss and share ideas during the Chapter Leadership Meeting at the Annual Conference. The ANAC Chapter Recognition Award, which annually recognizes the outstanding efforts of one of ANAC’s chapters in meeting the mission of the organization, was first given in 1999.

Since 1988, ANAC has grown from the 12 founding members to a membership of over 2000 persons from around the world. ANAC has established collaborative relationships with HIV/AIDS nursing organizations in Canada, Europe, Japan, Asia, Australia/New Zealand, and Cuba. ANAC has worked with many of these organizations on programs associated with the International World AIDS Conference, beginning with a booth at the 1989 International Conference and including nursing meetings and/or satellite conferences in San Francisco (1990), Amsterdam (1992), Berlin (1993), Yokohama (1994), Vancouver (1996), Geneva (1998), Durban (2000),  Barcelona (2002), Bangkok (2004), and Toronto (2006). While in Toronto, ANAC sponsored the first-ever nursing CE for IAS attendees. As a direct result of ANAC’s continued visibility and support, Adele Webb, ANAC’s Executive Director was invited to sit on the 2008 IAS Conference Planning Committee, the first such honor for a nurse. Meetings in Geneva with members from other associations of nurses in AIDS care resulted in the development of the International Network of HIV/AIDS Nursing Associations (INHANA); however, the group was not sustained. The introduction of ANAC’s website in 1997,, also enhanced global communication and the distribution of information on HIV/AIDS and ANAC activities. ANAC’s first Webmaster, Kevin Mallinson, helped create a vision for the website, which continued under the guidance of John Roberts.  The ANAC website was redesigned in 2005. The ANAC website was chosen in 2000 as a top Internet resource for nurses and was featured in Internet Resources for Nurses (Springer Publishing Company). An International Specialty Committee was formed in 2001 to address issues of international HIV nursing, and currently counts more than 50 active members who are engaged in a dynamic range of activities, ranging from policy to clinical training support.  In 2005, the committee was renamed the “Global HIV Nursing Specialty Committee,” in order to underscore the connectedness of HIV nurses worldwide.

In 1990 ANAC created a strategic plan that streamlined the organizational structure and established operational goals. The 1994 five-year strategic plan, included four strategic goals: 1) to promote growth and expansion of membership; 2) to increase educational offerings by the Association; 3) to establish ANAC as a national voice in HIV policy and health care issues; and 4) to develop an effective organizational structure with sound fiscal management. The strategic plan is revised annually and has evolved into a living document to reflect organizational priorities, external factors influencing HIV/AIDS and the health care system, and volunteer, staff, and financial resources. The ANAC committee structure was substantially revised in 2002 to better clarify the purpose and function of the various ANAC organizational units.  In 2004, with ANAC’s transition to a self-management structure completed, the BOD revisited the strategic plan, and identified a set of five core values to guide the organization: knowledge, advocacy, diversity, support, and collaboration.  In order to clearly define the organizations direction, this same BOD adopted the following statement as the ANAC core purpose: “To advance expertise and excellence in nurses engaged in any dimension of HIV disease and to ensure that nursing expertise is recognized and incorporated in decisions affecting the HIV community.” In 2002, ANAC became a founding member of the Nursing Organization Alliance (The Alliance) to collaborate with other nursing organizations and to help establish and enhance ANAC as a national voice in HIV health policy and health care issues.

Health Policy Agenda
In 1997 ANAC began to develop a health policy agenda that is communicated through the development and dissemination of position statements and papers. ANAC has produced position statements on such topics as duty to care, palliative care, HIV and tuberculosis, and needle/syringe exchange programs. Three of ANAC’s position papers were published in JANAC: “Duty to Care” (1991), “Harm Reduction and HIV Care” (1998) and “Assisted Suicide” (2000-2001). Additionally, ANAC expresses policy initiatives through resolutions and signing on to position statements and letters of other organizations. ANAC awards the ANAC Public Service Award to individuals whose efforts have improved HIV prevention and treatment services: Senator Edward Kennedy (1995), Representative Nancy Pelosi (1997), Dr. Jonathon Mann (posthumously 1998), Helen Miramontes (1998), Sister Mary Elizabeth of AEGIS (2000), William Roedy (2001), Deborah Parham (2002), Terje Andersen (2003), Sande Gracia Jones (2004), Deborah von Zinkernagel (2005), and David Harvey (2006).  Since 2004, ANAC has partnered with Physicians for Human Rights (PHR), Health Action AIDS Campaign, to advance issues of global Nursing policy.  In addition, the ANAC Policy and Advocacy Executive Task Force was established in 2004, and assisted in the formation of the ANAC Policy Agenda, as approved by the BOD in Fall, 2005. The Policy Agenda addresses issues incumbent to both international and domestic HIV-policy, as well as defines key philosophical commitments which will guide the evolution of the ANAC Policy Agenda.  As evidence of ANAC’s reputation as the voice for HIV Nursing, the organization has been called upon to participate in numerous policy-focused committees and events, and has provided testimony and public comment through such divergent venues as the PEPFAR Ambassador’s committee (2004), the CDC/HRSA HIV Advisory Committee(2005), and the PACHA- President’s Advisory Committee on HIV and AIDS (2005).  ANAC is a member of the Federal AIDS Public Policy Coalition.

The Future:  ANAC in the 21st Century
In 2000 the ANAC Board of Directors created a new strategic plan, looking toward the future needs of the Association. The strategic plan reflects organizational changes congruent with changes in the HIV epidemic. The objectives of the plan are as bold, creative and dynamic as ANAC’s diverse membership, and include establishing ANAC not only as “the voice” of HIV/AIDS nursing, but also as the international nursing leader for issues surrounding HIV disease; ANAC will become an essential HIV/AIDS resource for all nurses, and ANAC’s website and publications will be the mechanism for global communication between and among nurses who care for the millions of persons around the world affected by HIV. In the new millennium, ANAC will continue to grow and thrive, but the Association will never forget the founding principles and mission of ANAC: to foster the professional development of nurses involved in the health care of those infected and affected by HIV, and to promote the health, welfare and rights of all HIV-infected persons.

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