The Baton Rouge Chapter of ANAC received its charter in July 2004. In mid-2002, the staff nurses from the Early Intervention Clinic at Earl K. Long Medical Center decided to further our commitment to delivering quality HIV / AIDS care as individuals and as a group through the pursuit of ANAC membership and ANAC certification. As we encouraged each other to become members of ANAC, we discovered that there were other nurses in our area who were also interested in joining our endeavor; and so the ball began to roll…
In October 2003, the first formal meeting of BRANIAC was held with the election of officers and development of our formal plan of action to pursue ANAC Chapter recognition. Officers elected as follows: Denise Dandridge, RN President, Sharon Dillon, RN Vice President, Pamela Williams, RN Secretary, and Kimberly Sanders, RN Treasurer. BRANIAC membership included eleven (11) Registered Nurses, nine (9) who provide HIV primary care in both acute and outpatient care settings at EKLMC & other community agencies; one (1) LPN, one (1) HIV primary care physician, and 3 nurse practitioners. Sheryl Harrison RN was the 1st BRANIAC member to receive ANAC Certification in the spring of 2003.
Our first order of business included the establishment of local membership dues, a non-profit organization status, and determination of our first fundraising activity. Our first fundraisers afforded BRANIAC the ability to sponsor four (4) members to attend the Leadership Conference in July 2004 and to assist with registration and lodging for ten (10) members to attend the 2004 National Conference in New Orleans. In 2004, the chapter’s fundraisers included the sale of Krispy Crème Donut Cards, a Perfume Gift Set Raffle and Pampered Chef and Home Interior Sales. The chapter was also awarded three (3) Educational Grants. The chapter also initiated the purchase of name tags for all members to be worn at meetings, conferences, and community functions.
January 2005 was the beginning of the group’s journey as an official ANAC Chapter. BRANIAC held four (4) meetings with educational topics, participated in several health fairs providing HIV literature, purchased a chapter display board, sponsored two (2) nurses to the National Conference, sponsored a patient focused dinner, performed a patient needs assessment to help prioritize and guide EIC clinic services. At our January 2005 chapter meeting, we voted on the following activities for calendar year:
Project/Goal: Community education and provision of patient specific educational activities.
Perform needs assessment of our clinic patients to help us prioritize and guide our provision of services.
Offer our knowledge and services to our patients and the local communities who request HIV/AIDS information & education via patient education dinner programs, church fairs, community based educational programs and health fairs throughout our region of Louisiana.
We had a strong and determined group of members who were directly involved in delivering HIV/AIDS care, and who believed in the potential of the chapter to grow and make a difference in both our clinical practices and in our community. In the fall of 2005, another member, Pamala Ellis, RN received ACRN Certification.
In 2006 the chapter continued it’s commitment to community involvement by participating in local health fairs, providing donuts, orange juice, local statistics and literature to patients on National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, providing HIV facts, statistics, and testing information to the staff of the LSU Health Science Center/Earl K. Long Medical Center on World AIDS Day, sponsoring 2 ½ persons to participate in World AIDS Day Youth Conference provided by the BR AIDS Society, and by making a monetary donation to the SAS Foundation to help with the fight of HIV in Uganda (www.sasfoundationafrica.org). Other accomplishments included the purchase of pens with chapter logo, development of recruitment flyer and chapter informational card to increase organizational exposure, and the sponsorship of two (2) International Nurses for ANAC membership. Also, in the spring of 2006, another member, Dawn Beasley received ACRN Certification.
Off to another productive year in 2007, the chapter has developed a Strategic Plan outlining goals with strategies and tools to achieve the goals. The chapter has developed a new personalized logo and is excited by the formation of the Education and Fundraising Committees to increase effectiveness and member participation. Plans for the year include organizing a Collaborative Effort with care providers and service organizations in the Baton Rouge area to network and become informed of all the available services in the community, purchasing Polo shirts for members displaying our unique chapter logo, planning a Education Day in the Fall of 2007 with the collaboration of Delta Region AETC, updating chapter bylaws, and chapter history as required by the national office, and sponsoring two (2) nurses to attend the National Conference in Florida.
It has always been a goal of the chapter to increase knowledge and awareness to an African American community that is increasingly being infected and affected by HIV/AIDS. The chapter will continue its effort in increasing awareness by participating in area health fairs and by soliciting new membership with meeting dates as follows: Thursday, January 18, Monday, April 16, Thursday, June 9, and Monday, October 15.
One of our new members, Rani Whitfield, MD wrote a chapter in the book “Not in My Family - HIV in the African American Community”. On Tuesday, March 6th, Rani G. Whitfield, MD appeared before a special U.S. Senate briefing in Washington, DC on “ADAP- the Crisis in Access to HIV/AIDS Healthcare”.
Also, in the spring of 2006, Marie Sylvester and Pamela Williams received ACRN Certification. The chapter’s current president, Pamela Williams was invited and attended the amfAR (The Foundation for AIDS Research) think tank on Saturday, June 16th in Miami, Florida. The attendants of this meeting explored and assessed the current state of HIV/AIDS education in the U.S. with hopes to gain a better understanding of HIV/AIDS education in the U.S. and to develop programs that better serve people living with HIV, service providers, physicians, and clinicians.
On June 27, 2007 our chapter participated in a National HIV Testing Day initiative sponsored by the Office of Public Health. This event provided testing to 38 persons and promoted the importance of HIV testing.
Our chapter collaborated with a local community based organization to host an educational program for patients in July entitled “Treatment Experienced Patients – What you need to know”, in which 27 clients attended; another in September entitled “Understanding you lab-Reducing the risk of heart disease and liver problems” in which 20 clients attended.
In August of 2007 our chapter was informed that we were chosen to be the recipient of ANAC’s 2007 Chapter of the Year Award to be presented at the National conference in Orlando in November. Also, Chapter President, Pamela Williams, was chosen to serve as Director at Large on the HANCB 2007-2010 board.
2007 ended with sending 2 members to ANAC conference and celebrating our 1st Educational Symposium which had 44 attendees and 4 exhibitors. Continuing education units were provided to attendees. 2008 Chapter Activities included review and revision of our strategic plan, by-laws and conference guidelines. We sponsored 2 international nurses and provided them with HIV/AIDS educational information & resources. We developed and published a cookbook, The Fruit of the Spirit, as our fundraiser which we have advertised on the ANAC website. We participated in educational programs at Southern University, Woman's Hospital, BR District Nurses Association meeting and Capitol City Family Health Center. Our 2nd Educational Symposium was held and had 56 attendees who were provided with nursing or social worker continuing education credits. A need to focus on recruitment and retention of members was identified. BRANIAC sent 3 members to ANAC's National Conference.
2009 Chapter activities included review and revision of our strategic plan, by-laws and conference guidelines. Our participation in six health fairs showed the continued committment of our members to our community. We participated in the HIV/AIDS Candlelight Memorial Walk, and submitted our 2007 Chapter of the year award photo to the Reyataz photo contest. We held a garage and jumbalaya sale as our fundraiser, and continued to sell our Fruit of the Spirit cookbooks. One of our members served on the HANCB board, and another attended the HANCB Practice Analysis meeteing. We created member satisfaction surveys to help in our recruitment and retention efforts. In October, we submitted an article "Every Nurse is an HIV Nurse" which was published in the Pelican Newsletter for the LA state board of nursing. Development of our own BRANIAC website was started. BRANIAC provided charitable donations to the SAS Foundation for HIV/AIDS in Uganda, the local HIV Consumer Advisory Council and gift prizes for the ANAC conference. Three of our members were able to attend ANAC's National Conference in November. The year ended with a very successful World AIDS Day Program in partnership with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana. BRANIAC provided an HIV/AIDS lunch & learn program and co-hosted an evening reception to view 2 panels from the AIDS Memorial Quilt. We have started our planning for 2010 activities which will include: review & revision of our strategic plan and by-laws, submitting an article on HIV/AIDS to Baton Rouge Parents Magazine, roll out of our new website BRANAC.org and planning our 2010 HIV Education Symposium. Our focus in 2010 will be education for school nurses and staff in the BR Region.
2010 was a successful year for the chapter. The BR chapter participated in several community events and fundraisers including the Annual Candlelight Memorial and Baton Rouge Pride Fest. As BRANIAC continued to highlight its chapter to the community, two programs were hosted entitled “HIV Testing and its Impact on Treatment” both of which were very well attended by community professionals. BRANIAC successfully met the challenge of our 2010 focus on education for school nurses in our community and addressing issues surrounding HIV/AIDS and our adolescent population. Members developed a 4 hour continuing education approved program that was presented at the East Baton Rouge Parish School Boot Camp. The Boot Camp was attended by approximately 50 school nurses and social workers from the East Baton Rouge public schools. The information was well received and opened doors for the chapter to participate in local schools. BRANIAC also hosted its 3rd Educational Symposium continuing the focus on adolescents. The symposium featured expert speakers and topics related to adolescents. The target audience was community professionals that provided services to adolescents. The symposium was attended by 75 participants (nurses, social workers, physicians and counselors) from the Baton Rouge and surrounding communities. A waiting list of approximately 30 people for the symposium was maintained. Since the symposium, many of the attendees have reached out to the Baton Rouge Association of Nurses in AIDS Care for additional information and resources. Members have been invited to participate in area school events for adolescents and to do HIV related presentations. Members have also participated in mobile school clinics and assisted with HIV testing and counseling. The featured symposium has truly opened doors to further increase awareness and prevention strategies in this adolescent age group.
In 2011, our Chapter focused a great effort on recruiting new members. We spear-headed this effort with a new Recruitment and Retention policy in which we assisted members – that committed to a two-year membership - with the cost of national and local membership dues. This initiative sought to ensure our minimum membership requirement was satisfied, while also appealing to new members. Our efforts were successful and our Chapter assisted 9 members.
Also in 2011, BRANIAC supported several Community Based Organizations by offering donations for their outreach and prevention efforts. We made donations to the HIV/AIDS Alliance for Region Two’s (HAART) inaugural Red Hat Run Fundraiser. We also supported their Candlelight Memorial by working the first aid booth and participating in the Memorial Walk. We supported the local LSU HIV Clinic’s Consumer Advisory Board by donating funds used to purchase necessary supplies and refreshments for their monthly meetings. A donation was also made to the Campaign to End AIDS (C2EA) Women’s Summit which was held in Baton Rouge in October, 2011.
Several of our members were instrumental in sharing our vision of HIV Prevention with the community. Pamela Williams joined the Southern University HIV Prevention Task Force and participated in their World AIDS Day Event in late November. Denise Dandridge also participated in the SU World AIDS Day Event, as well as speaking at a local FQHC regarding HIV and prevention. BRANIAC sponsored three members, Pamela Williams, Denise Dandridge, and Patricia Grover, to attend the National Conference in Baltimore, Maryland! Denise Dandridge was elected to the Awards Committee and served as Co-Chair for 2011--2012.
In 2010, ANAC received funding from the Elton John AIDS Foundation to implement a Basic HIV Nurse Train the Trainer program for non-HIV specialist nurses. Pamela Williams developed the four hour Basic HIV Nursing: Train the Trainer Program module and presented it three times in the Mississippi Delta Region that year. This program was so successful that ANAC asked Pam to continue the training. In 2011, Pamela presented the program in Louisiana, Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, and Alabama. She continued her work with the National office in 2012 by developing and facilitating 5 educational webinars and served as a mentor to nurses who had completed the Train the Trainer programs in the previous years. The webinars, entitled "HIV/AIDS: What Every Nurse Needs to Know," focused on HIV incidence and access to care, testing and treatment, as well as, HIV in youth, women and aging populations.
2012 proved to be another challenging, yet rewarding and successful year for our Chapter! Our Recruitment and Retention plan was in its final phase and again assisted members with their national and local dues. Although we were not as active in attending health fairs, our members remained committed to educating our local community about HIV/AIDS and its impact on our region. In March, Karen Thomas attended Southern University’s National Women and Girls’ HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. In May, Jackie Shellington presented “HIV in Louisiana and Baton Rouge: Prevention and Services” to the Louisiana Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers. Jackie was also an active member of the LA Commission on HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis C. Once again, several BRANIAC members participated in HAART’s Candlelight Memorial Walk in May. In August, Pam Ellis presented on HIV at the AWHONN (Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses) Meeting. BRANIAC was also a supporter of their statewide meeting, held at Women’s Hospital in Baton Rouge in October, by donating several of our cookbooks as door prizes. Dolly Williams and Jackie Shellington presented an HIV/AIDS Update for the Medical Management Team at Our Lady of the Lake Hospital – Baton Rouge’s largest hospital. BRANIAC was proud to sponsor two attendees to the National ANAC Conference in November in Tucson, Arizona. At this conference, our member, Meredith Lampton, was the recipient of ANAC’s 2012 HIV Educator Distinguished Service Award.
BRANIAC was proud to welcome Dr. Keith Henry with Gilead Pharmaceuticals in June, 2013 to a packed house at a local restaurant to discuss “HIV Therapy as Prevention: Reducing the Risk of HIV Among Uninfected Adults.” This event included continuing education credits for both nurses and social workers and gave BRANIAC members an opportunity to network with area professionals and recruit a few new members! BRANIAC sponsored one member, Jackie Shellington, to attend USCA in September. We sponsored two members, Denise Dandridge and Karen Bess, to attend National Conference in Atlanta in November. Denise served as Chair of ANAC’s Awards Committee and Karen was a first-time participant at the Conference.