For the last two years, Shawana S. Moore, DNP, APRN, WHNP-BC, PNAP, FAAN, who works as the Interim MSN and DNP Program Director at Emory University’s Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, has served as the first African American President of the National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women’s Health (NPWH).shawana-s-moore-reflects-on-serving-as-the-first-african-american-president-of-npwh

Minority Nurse asked Moore to reflect upon what she’s accomplished, what she’s proud of, and what still needs to be done. What follows is our interview, edited for length and clarity.

What was it like for you to be the first Black/AA President NPWH? Do you think you gave more of a voice to minorities? 

I am honored to share my experience as the first African-American President of the National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women’s Health. Serving in this role has been a tremendous privilege and a humbling experience.

When I first took office, I recognized the significance of being a trailblazer and the responsibility that came with it. Being a representative for my community and advocating for the needs and concerns of women’s health nurse practitioners across the nation has been challenging and rewarding.

Throughout my tenure, I have worked tirelessly to advance our organization’s goals and mission, ensuring that women and gender-related health remain at the forefront of healthcare discussions. I have championed initiatives that focus on equitable access to healthcare, particularly for underserved populations.

As the first Black President, I have prioritized diversity, inclusion, and equity within our organization. I believe that embracing our differences can foster a stronger and more inclusive community of nurse practitioners in women’s health. I have actively encouraged mentorship and professional development opportunities for underrepresented individuals, enabling them to thrive and excel in their careers.

In addition to these efforts, I have collaborated with other professional organizations to advocate for legislation that supports women’s health. Guided by evidence-based practice and the expertise of our members, we have successfully influenced key decisions that ultimately improve the quality of care for women across the country.

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I am grateful for the support and encouragement from my colleagues, mentors, and the broader healthcare community. Together, we have made significant strides in advancing women’s health and breaking down barriers that hinder access to care.

During my tenure as the President of the National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women’s Health, I prioritized amplifying the voices of minorities within our organization. Recognizing the importance of representation and inclusivity, I implemented several initiatives to ensure that the unique perspectives and needs of minority healthcare professionals were heard and addressed.

First, I was the Co-Chair of the inaugural committee focused on enhancing inclusivity, diversity, and equity within our association. This committee comprised representatives from various minority groups, creating a platform for open dialogue and collaboration. Through this committee, we developed strategies and initiatives to foster a more inclusive and equitable environment for all members.

Additionally, I actively sought out opportunities to engage with minority nurse practitioners and healthcare professionals by attending conferences, workshops, and events specifically tailored to their needs and interests. By actively participating in these forums, I showcased the importance of diversity within our field and provided a platform for minority voices to be uplifted and celebrated.

Moreover, I facilitated educational workshops and seminars that addressed the unique healthcare challenges faced by minority populations. By focusing on cultural competence, implicit bias, and health disparities, I equipped our members with the knowledge and tools to deliver equitable care to all women, regardless of their background or ethnicity.

Finally, I prioritized recruiting and retaining diverse nurse practitioners by meeting with WHNP students nationwide and reinvigorating our mentorship and scholarship programs. These initiatives aimed to provide support and resources to aspiring minority healthcare professionals, ensuring their success and advancement within the field of Women’s Health.

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Through these efforts, I am proud to say that I made a difference in amplifying the voices of minorities within the National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women’s Health. By fostering an inclusive and diverse environment, we not only enriched the experiences of our members but also enhanced the quality and equity of care provided to women nationwide.

How long was your term? Once it ended on December 31, 2023, how will continue to be involved in the organization?

While my time as the first Black/AA President ended, my commitment to advocating for women’s and gender-related health and promoting inclusivity, diversity, and equity in healthcare will continue. I hope my tenure has paved the way for future leaders who will further advance the field and ensure equitable and comprehensive care for all women.

The organization has developed the President’s Circle to maintain the active involvement of Past Presidents. I will actively participate in the forum. Additionally, I will support the organization in developing a maternal health series, an environmental health series, and other projects.

It has been an honor to serve as the first Black/AA President of the National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women’s Health, and I look forward to witnessing our organization’s continued growth and progress in the years to come.

Please tell us what you believe are the most important goals you accomplished while in your role as President. How did these actions help improve the lives of nurse practitioners? 

As President of the National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women’s Health, I am proud to have accomplished several important goals that have impacted our organization.

One of the most significant achievements was ensuring equity was woven throughout our organization. Recognizing the importance of equity, I spearheaded the revisions and updates of our bylaws with a lens of equity. This initiative proved invaluable in fostering inclusivity, diversity, career advancement, skill development, and networking opportunities for our members, staff, and Board of Directors.

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Another crucial goal I accomplished was expanding educational resources and professional development opportunities. Establishing partnerships with renowned institutions and experts in women’s health resulted in a wide variety of high-quality educational materials, webinars, and conferences. These resources enhanced our members’ knowledge and skills and served as a platform for sharing cutting-edge research and advancing best practices in the field.

Furthermore, I prioritized advocacy efforts to ensure policies that promote equitable maternal and reproductive healthcare for women and gender-related populations. I collaborated with local, state, and national stakeholders to advocate for changes that positively impacted our profession and the patients we serve. Through strategic initiatives, we raised awareness about women’s health issues and influenced policies that address disparities and improve healthcare outcomes.

Lastly, I focused on strengthening the sense of community and engagement among our members. Implementing time to meet with the president of the academic WHNP program across the country, I facilitated in-person and virtual listening sessions. These initiatives fostered collaboration, shared experiences, and supportive connections among our diverse membership.

My tenure as president of the National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women’s Health was marked by significant equity, education, advocacy, and community-building achievements. I am incredibly proud of the strides we have made in advancing women’s health and ensuring the well-being of patients nationwide.

What kind of feedback did you receive while in this position? 

My feedback from members and stakeholders has been overwhelmingly positive and encouraging. Many expressed gratitude for my leadership, emphasizing the significance of representation and inclusivity in our organization. The feedback highlighted the impact of my efforts in promoting diversity, equity, and inclusivity within the association and the broader healthcare community.

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This feedback has served as both validation and motivation, reinforcing the importance of our work and inspiring future initiatives aimed at promoting diversity and advancing healthcare for all women.

What are you most proud to have accomplished? 

One of my proudest accomplishments was spearheading the update of our organization’s bylaws with a lens of equity at the center. It was vital to me that all members, regardless of their background or identity, felt equally represented and supported within our association.

What more work do you think needs to be done? Why?

Significant work remains. While progress has been made, issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion within the organization and the broader healthcare landscape must continue to be addressed.

Specifically, efforts must be made to increase further representation of underrepresented minority groups in leadership positions and decision-making processes. This can be achieved by implementing inclusive recruitment and retention strategies, mentoring programs, and creating opportunities for professional development to foster a diverse and inclusive membership.

Ongoing advocacy is needed to address healthcare disparities, particularly those disproportionately impacting marginalized communities. This may involve collaborating with other organizations and stakeholders to promote policies and initiatives that promote equitable access and quality care for all women.

While progress has been made during my tenure as the first Black President, there is still more work to be done to ensure true equity and inclusivity within the National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women’s Health and the healthcare field.

What were your biggest challenges? 

Throughout my tenure, I faced several challenges. However, my biggest challenge was breaking through existing barriers and overcoming deep-rooted biases within the healthcare industry.

Structural inequalities and unconscious biases presented obstacles that required persistent efforts to raise awareness, educate, and enact meaningful change.

Despite these challenges, I remained resolute in advocating for inclusivity, equity, and fairness in the field, ensuring that the voices and experiences of all nurse practitioners, especially those from underrepresented backgrounds, were heard and valued.

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What were your most significant rewards?

Serving as the first Black President of the National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women’s Health has been an incredibly rewarding experience, both personally and professionally. This milestone’s significance cannot be understated, as it represents a step forward in promoting diversity, inclusion, and equity within our field.

Being in this role has allowed me to uplift and amplify the voices and contributions of Black nurse practitioners, as well as other underrepresented minority groups. By actively advocating for their needs and concerns, we have fostered a more inclusive and supportive environment for all members.

Furthermore, the opportunity to connect with and learn from fellow nurse practitioners across the country has been invaluable. Together, we have collaborated on initiatives to improve healthcare outcomes for women, particularly those facing racial disparities and inequities.

Witnessing the positive impact of our collective efforts and the growth and success of our members has been the greatest reward of all. This experience has reinforced my commitment to breaking barriers, inspiring future leaders, and promoting inclusivity, diversity, and equity in healthcare for the betterment of all women.

Michele Wojciechowski
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