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Official news from the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists

Nurse Anesthetists Establish Diversity and Inclusion Lecture at 2018 Congress

  • Sep 23, 2018

For immediate release: September 24, 2018
For more information: AANA Public Relations

Park Ridge, Illinois— The inaugural lecture on diversity and inclusion is named after the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists’ 1973-1974 President, Goldie D. Brangman, MEd, MBA, CRNA. Brangman is the first and only African-American President of the AANA and will celebrate her 101st birthday in October.

Courtney Brown, PhD, CRNA will lecture on “Crafting a Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plan at a Nurse Anesthesia Program: A Journey Not a Destination.” Dr. Brown is the associate director of Didactic Education at the Wake Forest School of Medicine Nurse Anesthesia Program.

Decades before diversity and inclusion was a much talked about business principle, or a core value of the AANA, Goldie Brangman, MEd, MBA, CRNA, saw the value in having nurse anesthesia professionals from all demographics and cultural backgrounds.

Brangman graduated from Harlem Hospital Center’s nursing program in 1943 and went on to accept a nursing job at the hospital. She was just about to give up on nursing, having decided that bedside nursing was not for her, when World War II began. When the United States entered the war, many of Harlem Hospital’s anesthesiologists were recruited for active duty. To fill the gap, the hospital began seeking volunteers to train as nurse anesthetists. 

In a 2013 interview, Brangman recalled, “The residents and surgeons trained us in all aspects of anesthesia. I really enjoyed the work. Unlike many nursing jobs, [in nurse anesthesia] you have a beginning and an end—you put the patients to sleep and you later have the satisfaction of seeing them wake up and begin the recovery process.”

When Harlem Hospital decided to open a nurse anesthesia program in 1951, the administration asked if she would be interested in leading the program. Brangman welcomed the opportunity to open one of the first programs in the country that boasted a diverse student body.

“There weren’t too many schools at the time that admitted blacks, men, or students from foreign countries,” Brangman explained in a past interview. “We would hold dinners each weekend and try different foods representing one of our student’s diverse ethnic backgrounds.”

In addition to her many achievements as founder and program director of the Harlem Hospital Center School of Anesthesia for Nurses (where she also held positions of director of continuing education for the departments of anesthesia and respiratory therapy), Brangman was elected president of the New York State Association of Nurse Anesthetists in 1959 and later served on the AANA’s national board of directors—first as treasurer from 1967 to 1969, then as president in 1973-1974.

“I was the first woman of color in a leadership position in the AANA, and as a result I had to run for every AANA office at least twice,” said Brangman, recalling her efforts to win AANA elected positions in a 2013 interview. “More minority nurse anesthetists need to run for AANA leadership positions and encourage nurses from underrepresented populations to pursue careers in anesthesia.”

Brangman is the 1995 Agatha Hodgins Award recipient, and the 1983 recipient of the Helen Lamb Outstanding Educator Award

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Chris Bettin, MA
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