CHANGEMAKERS: Black Nurses Association helps provide health equity in Wichita

Since the 1970s, the Black Nurses Association has been providing health equity in Wichita.
Published: Feb. 7, 2022 at 7:08 PM CST
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - The Wichita Black Nurses Association was founded in the early 1970s to ensure diverse populations have access to proper healthcare. Now, they’re helping lead the fight against COVID-19 one clinic at a time.

The organization is known to assist with health fairs and working to combat high infant mortality rates in the African American community. But when the pandemic hit, the WBNA became a leading force in making COVID-19 testing and the vaccine accessible in underserved communities.

Margaret Thompson is a founding member of the organization. She said while even some nurses were hesitant about getting the shot, it was their mission to make sure that they followed through to help the community.

“We said, ‘we gotta to walk that walk, if we’re going to talk that talk.’ We had many nurses immediately who were scared. I was one of them. I had my shot on Facebook, I did it on Facebook, these are the symptoms I’m having, my arm hurts,” Thompson explains.

The pandemic was unexpected, but like health challenges in the past. The Black Nurses Association worked to make a difference. Touting having vaccinated thousands, the organization continues to encourage those who are fully vaccinated to get their boosters.

“We said we have to get out in our community because the percentage of black and brown in our community for having vaccines was so low and what can we do to help,” said Thompson.

Community members say they appreciate the Black Nurses Association.

“It’s very good they are here in the targeted communities, where transportation is scarce, their incomes are low and many are elderly, they can’t get out,” said Bridget Phillips who was visiting one of the WBNA’s clinics.

WBNA organizes clinics in partnership with the Sedgwick County Health Department. You can find more details below.

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