First Virginia Chapter
(Last Updated 2012)
The First Virginia Chapter of ANAC was the brainchild of Judy Wessell, Nurse Practitioner at the Center for Comprehensive Care of Immune Deficiency (C3ID) at Eastern Virginia Medical School. Judy had this great vision after attending one of the National Conferences. Judy sent out letters in August 1999 to assess interest of area nurses working locally in the field of HIV/AIDS. It was during her first year as a health care provider in 1998 that Judy was the only practitioner in the office. She states that she felt isolated. She further states that only after attending one of the national ANAC conferences, felt it imperative and necessary to network with other area HIV/AIDS health care providers.
The first chapter-in-formation meeting was held at Fletcher Conference Room in Hofheimer Hall at Eastern Virginia Medical School. During that meeting the chapter was officially named The First Virginia Chapter, Judy Wessell elected president, Alycia Dickens was elected president elect, John Gourley was elected secretary and Kathy Puglise was elected treasurer. It was decided that the chapter would have ten educational meetings annually on the first Monday of the month, alternating locations between the cities of Norfolk and Virginia Beach, Virginia. The following committees were also developed: Education/Research with co-chairpersons Annie Wentzel and Cindy Lewis; Community Service/Fundraising with co-chairpersons Ginny Bobby and Carol Dalton and Scholarship with Ouida Glenn and Kathy Puglise as co-chairpersons.
The original nine members present at the chapter-in-formation meeting were:
• Judy Wessell FNP,
• Alycia Dickens, FNP,
• Kathy Puglise RN,
• Mary Cope RPh,
• Ginny Bobby,
• Carol Dalton RN,
• Cindy Lewis RN,
• John Gourley RN
• Laura Jordan RN.
Our bank account was established at Suntrust Bank on September 18, 2000. The First Virginia Chapter of ANAC was chartered on November 2, 2000. Judy was president throughout the chapter-in-formation process and first year thereafter.
January 2002 initiated the reign of Alycia Dickens as president. Alycia started her professional career as an FNP at Eastern Virginia Medical School in June of 1999. She was the second nurse practitioner at C3ID. The focus of her term was to develop community service activities. We first saw the development of the Red Ribbon Scholarship which was a $250.00 gift given to a nursing student who has a special interest in HIV/AIDS nursing. Project Hope was the second project undertaken by the chapter during this time. Project Hope is a faith based HIV/AIDS education program. Its primary focus was to bring together local faith leaders to educated and sensitize them on the various psychosocial issues affecting people living with HIV/AIDS within our community. The Project Hope 2002 meeting was considered a big success with over 35 faith leaders present. The Red Ribbon Scholarship, on the other hand proved dismal with zero student applications during the first year. Alycia’s reign ended with communication from the national office regarding The First Virginia Chapter’s position affirming the voting and office rights of our non-nurse members. The chapter membership voted to challenge the national office in a letter requesting that non-nurse members of our chapter be allowed to vote and hold office.
Luann Gahagan began her two-year presidency of the First Virginia Chapter in January 2003. The two year term was a direct result of the above controversy as the president elect was in fact not a nurse and subsequently left the organization. Luann began her tenure by changing the chapter bylaws to be in compliance with the national bylaws. Unfortunately, with this ruling we lost many of our non-nurse members however, a smaller more cohesive group was formed. Also during Luann’s term a second Project Hope meeting was held however very few faith leaders attended. We also had to find one nursing student to give $500.00 for the Red Ribbon Scholarship. Chapter membership, based on lack of community interest, decided to no longer pursue these community activities.
The primary focus of Luann’s tenure was to increase chapter membership and to recruit current nurse members to take on more active roles within the organization. This proved to be successful with membership increasing by 30% under her tenure. Additionally, we had two new nurse members to become officers. Luann also started to discuss at every chapter meeting the AIDS certification as the way Registered Nurses can prove competency within the field of HIV/AIDS nursing. Luann has offered to mentor anyone interested in taking the ACRN examination. Since that time we have had one person, Alycia Dickens, take and pass the exam. Luann was presented with a plaque for “Outstanding Service” to the First Virginia Chapter for serving two consecutive terms as president.
Judy Wessell volunteered to be president again for the year 2005. She has continued the push for members to become AIDS Certified Registered Nurses and begins every meeting acknowledging the ACRNs present and has information available about registering for the test. The focus of her second term as President is patient education. Judy’s goal for this year is to have at least two educational meetings when members bring someone infected or affected by HIV/AIDS. Our first meeting of this kind was a big success with over 48 people present half of whom were patients.
Leah Boyd, LPN, Case Manager at C3ID became the President for the year 2006. Allison Gray, RN was elected to the office of Treasurer and Jackie Rickers, LPN was elected as our Secretary. We increased our membership, adding more nurses from the Virginia Beach City Jail and some other healthcare agencies in our area. We had educational meetings every month with the exception of November and December due to the holidays. We began having a 50/50 raffle to help increase our treasury. Three of our Chapter members were able to attend the National Conference in Orlando, Florida. December’s World AIDS Day was a success. Forty –five people participated in the morning activities and 15-20 participated in the afternoon activities. EVMS Consumer Advisory Board did a silent auction in conjunction with the event and raised $2777 for AIDS CARE which benefits HIV positive persons with services not covered by other resources.
The elections for 2007 gave us Bonnie Block, RN as President, Amy Jacobs, MSW-C3ID Case Manager as Treasurer and Monica Greene, LPN as Secretary. Once again this year, we have had educational meetings every month. Our membership remains strong with at least 25 members attending the meetings each month. We now have two physicians who routinely come to all of our Chapter meetings. This year we voted to amend our Chapter’s bylaws allowing affiliate members to hold a local office. The Chapter remains in compliance with all requirements designated by the National Committee. The President for the upcoming year-2008 will be Sandra Humphrey, RN, Monica Greene, LPN-Secretary and Cindy Lewis, RN-Treasurer.
The First Virginia Chapter of ANAC started out the year 2012 with the following slate of incoming officers: Cindy Lewis, President: Cate Dalton, President-Elect; LuAnn Gahagan, Secretary, and Tanya Kearney, Treasurer. Our membership has been holding pretty steady over the last few years with 29 National and local members on our roster this year. Our members cover the entire spectrum of healthcare providers including physicians, nurse practioners, RNs, LPNs, social workers, case managers, HIV educators, home healthcare and even one of our local pharmacies who specialize in the HIV community. The Bonnie Block Scholarship has been a goal of our chapter for the last several years. It was established in 2009 to honor Bonnie Bock, an RN nurse educator at Eastern Virginia Medical School, and former president of our chapter who passed away after a valiant battle with cancer. We’ve had only 1 applicant since that time and so the scholarship committee this year revamped the application, and it has been sent to several nursing schools in our area in hopes that we will be able to award the scholarship to a deserving nursing student. Judy Wessell, DNP, our chapter founder brought another service project to our attention. Donations of pillowcases by members were sent to an organization in Central America that made them into dresses for girls and shorts for boys and taught the children how to sew. We received some wonderful pictures from the children who modeled the outfits they made from the pillowcases we donated. This being the 25th anniversary of ANAC, we enthusiastically jumped on the bandwagon to donate a quilt square to the national quilt. Judy Wessell’s daughter Carrie designed and created our square. Of course we may be a little prejudiced, but we think it’s the best of the bunch!! We elected our 2013 slate of officers at our September meeting. Dinner programs were held every month this year with the exception of August and November.