The St. Louis Chapter of ANAC
(Last Updated: 2005)
The SLANAC Chapter was founded in 1993 due to the increasing rates of HIV/AIDS in the St. Louis Metropolitan area and other outlying cities. All of the founding members were nurses from the Washington University Infectious Disease Clinic and the Aids Clinical Trials Unit. The founding members were few, but mighty and passionate about their work and their patients. The members consisted of Sue Wightman, Mike Klebert, Liz Diener, Mike Conklin and Lori Watkins. Although few in number, these founders were true pioneers in St. Louis and inspired those around them to become proactive in their education regarding HIV/AIDS. Their determination and education, is what has allowed SLANAC to be the active chapter it is today. Currently our chapter has about 22 active ANAC members and 15 other SLANAC members who are considering joining the National ANAC Chapter.
Over the years, SLANAC has been blessed with wonderful Chapter leaders who have maintained the spirit and mission of our SLANAC Chapter. From 1993 to 1994, Liz Diener was the President, followed by Sue Wightman from 1995 and 1996, then Barb Krazel from 1997 to 1998. In 1999, Susan Klepper became President and continued her leadership until 2000. In 2001, Felicia Easley then became President. Jane Fischer-Messner became the President in 2002, and under her leadership, the Chapter increased its membership to more than ever before. After Jane, Phyllis Ballard was the President in 2003 and then Jane Tarlow was President until the fall of 2004. Jane had to leave her office before the end of the year, so Kerry Sweeney finished out her term and is the current President.
If SLANAC were to highlight their biggest event to date, it would have to be when the SLANAC chapter helped host an ANAC meeting in St. Louis during the year 2002/2003. Jane Fischer-Messner played a vital role in bringing the National group here to St. Louis. Our future goal is to host an ANAC National Convention in St. Louis and are currently working with the St. Louis Bureau of Tourism to begin the process.
Over the years, SLANAC has been an active and vital presence in the HIV community. However, SLANAC also realizes that with more education and communication between different AIDS Service Organizations, those at risk for HIV or living with HIV, could be better impacted from our efforts. Because of this, both SLANAC and the Kansas City ANAC Chapter is working on a training day that will take place in the fall of this year. The collaboration includes MATEC, the STD Planning Council, and many other organizations with the goal of reaching and educating as many nurses, case managers, physicians, prison HCP’s and pharmacists in the entire state of Missouri.
Other activities SLANAC has been continuously involved in is the St. Louis Aids Walk. Participation has included carrying and displaying the SLANAC/ANAC flag while sponsoring educational booths. Every year, SLANAC participates in Gay Pride and this year SLANAC members administered Hepatitis A and B vaccines, as well as tested for Hepatitis C.
One of the main organizations SLANAC has begun to support, is Project ARK. This is a local organization that deals with children and their family members infected or affected by HIV. For the past several years, SLANAC members have volunteered as camp counselors at CAMP HOPE. This event occurs yearly and is often the only opportunity many of these families have a chance to relax and spend time together. At Camp Hope, SLANAC members sponsor families and run the health clinic. Last year, SLANAC held a toy drive and donated all contributions to Project Ark.
Overall, SLANAC has continued to support the HIV community in St. Louis, while offering insight and education to those health care professionals treating those living with HIV/AIDS. Our ongoing goal is to continue evolving and discern new ways SLANAC can make a difference in Missouri. SLANAC is attempting to increase community communication via pamphlets and websites in order to truly live the mission of the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care.