Houston Gulf Coast Chapter

Houston Gulf Coast Chapter

(Last Updated 2005)

The location of the archives of the Houston Gulf Coast (HGC) chapter’s history prior to 1997 is unknown. It is believed that the chapter was chartered on November 9, 1991; however, charter /founding members names have been lost. Additionally, lists of officers, accomplishments or awards prior to 1997 have not been found. It is believed that Dr. Diane Ragsdale was the first president of the group.

In January 1997, the HGC hosted a meeting that included a program “Update of the Fourth Annual Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections” and there were 84 in attendance. The records of the four meetings for the remainder of the years reflect  participation of 15-40 in attendance, although the number one problem listed on annual report for that year was poor meeting attendance.  In December of 1997, the chapter hosted a reception on World AIDS Day in honor of Dr. Diane Ragsdale.

In 1998, the chapter report begins to reflect poor attendance at meetings as the main core of nurses were involved in employment issues. Officers resigned or moved away and “lack of interest on the part of our participants and time commitments of the remaining officers lead for almost no activity in 1998.”

Little or no activity in the HGC chapter continued into 1999. In March 1999, Joanne Despotes, the ANAC Chapters Committee Chairperson, sent a letter to the HGC chapter members. The letter stipulated the risk of losing the chapter charter due to required chapter reporting had not occurred. In response, a few interested members met and agreed to be acting officers until elections could be held. A letter was sent from the local chapter to members, urging response and a show of interest, if the chapter was to remain intact. One official meeting occurred in September 1999 and officers were elected, and the chapter charter was renewed. There were 15 members for the year of 1999.

Unfortunately, the HGC chapter became less active in 2000. A board meeting was held January 10, 2000 in which future meetings were discussed. A treasurer’s report was filed, reflecting honorarium for a speaker in 2000, but there is no record of the chapter report available for the year 2000. There is no documentation that any meetings were held in 2001 and no new officers were elected. It is thought that the bank account was closed in 2001.

In the summer of 2002, with the support of a pharmaceutical sales representative with Ortho-Biotech, efforts were made towards revitalization of the Houston Gulf Coast chapter. A list of paid members was obtained, and members as well as potential members were contacted via mail and email, requesting their opinions about reactivating the chapter. Response was overwhelmingly positive. Contact was made with the ANAC national office and verification was received that the chapter had been out of compliance since 2000. It was negotiated with the national office and Chapter Committee Chair that the chapter charter would not be revoked, while efforts were being made to reactivate the chapter. A chapter liaison/leader was appointed, who attended the conference and chapter leadership workshop in San Francisco, November 2002. Despite the fact that the chapter was inactive, the annual conference in November 2002 brought recognition to several members who presented research and others who were awarded recognition for their dedication to HIV nursing. Kim Evans received the ANAC Pediatric HIV Nursing Excellence Award and Nancy Calles was honored with a graduate student research award.

Houston Gulf Coast chapter of ANAC became active again in 2003, with a number of committed members and through the generous sponsorship of our pharmaceutical partners and friends. Officers were elected and meetings were held quarterly that year. Work began on development of chapter by-laws and the establishment of another bank account. During 2003, Robin Hardwicke and Debra Trimble became co-authors of the ANACDOTES column “Ask the Experts.” Debra Trimble served on the 2003 conference planning committee for the national conference held in New York City in November 2003. At least six local members attended the conference, where they supported their co-members accomplishments. Robin Hardwicke was an invited speaker; Jerry Boice and Brenda Haile presented oral abstracts; Robin Hardwicke and Mary Caprio had posters displayed; and Mary Caprio lead a roundtable. The awards luncheon was a festive affair, as Brenda Haile was honored with the ANAC Educator Award and Mary Caprio was named the recipient of the Joanne Ruiz Acheivement Award for Excellence in Clinical Practice.

In 2004, HGC continued to grow and thrive. Many old members came back and re-joined, and many new members were recruited. Pharmaceutical support continued and dinner meetings were held every other month, some with CEU’s awarded. Speakers for most of the meetings were local HIV nursing experts, many presenting their own research. A chapter goal for the year was realized in October 2004, when the chapter was able to bring the first ANAC Distinguished Lecturer program to the members with Cassandra Miller-Hardwick’s presentation “Addressing Cultural Sensitivity Among Multi-Ethnic Groups: The Role of the Service Provider.” During this year, by-laws were written and adopted by membership. Three board of directors, Debra Trimble, Robin Hardwicke and Brenda Haile, attended the Regional Leadership conference and workshop held in New Orleans in July 2004. Other participation of membership included national committee membership in the By-Laws Committee and the Palliative Care Specialty Committee by Debra Trimble.

Interest in HGC ANAC chapter continues to increase in 2005, with more associate members continuing to join. Thus far, the group has been privileged to have two more Distinguished Lecturers present at meetings. The bank account continues to grow, and through unrestricted grants received, the chapter has been able to provide for dinner meetings and honoraria without pharmaceutical speakers and programs. Despite a membership of approximately 50, meetings are attended by about 20 most of the time, due to distance/ geographical expanse of the chapter and time conflicts. Efforts continue by the chapter to support ANAC’s mission and participate in the strategic development of the national/international organization. Under the leadership of president Robin Hardwicke the Houston-Gulf Coast Chapter was honored with the “Chapter Recognition” award at the national conference.
In 2006, under the leadership of president Barbara Sepcie, the chapter offered its first “Day of Education” held at the Center for AIDS. A second annual Day of Education was offered in 2007 at the offices of the Visiting Nurses Association under the leadership of president Robert Manning. President Shelley Buschur, in 2008, helped to take the chapter in a creative direction with participation of the chapter in the renowned Houston art car parade, featuring the chapter’s “condom car”. In spite of Hurricane Ike the tradition of the Day of Education continued with a daylong symposium. In 2009 the 4th annual Day of Education was expertly managed by president Norma Cooper. In 2010 affiliate member Michael Miller assumed role as president of the chapter.  The Houston-Gulf Coast Chapter was chartered in 1991. Our current president is Shajuanda Walker. 2012 began with a revamping of the chapter website to reflect Ms Walker's interest in membership growth and student involvement. Current projects are a collaboration with the Texas Association of Addiction Professionals (TAAP) in an HIV Symposium and chapter sponsorship of a member to attend the national conference celebrating 25 years of ANAC.

Chapter Presidents
1992    Diane Ragsdale
1993    to 1996 unknown      
1997    Steven Lee
1998    Steven Garcia
1999    Paul Simmons
2000    Kim Evans
2001    Inactive
2002    Inactive
2003    Debra Trimble
2004    Debra Trimble
2005    Robin Hardwicke
2006    Barbara Sepcie
2007    Robert Manning
2008    Shelley Buschur
2009    Norma Cooper
2010    Michael Miller
2012    Shajuanda Walker


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