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National Association of Indian Nurses of America (NAINA) 3rd clinical Excellence and Leadership Conference

The National Association of Indian Nurses of America conducted their 3rd Clinical Excellence and Leadership Conference on Oct 29th-30th, 2021 at the New York LaGuardia Marriott Hotel. This event was hosted by the Indian Nurses Association of New York (INA-NY) a chapter of NAINA. The overall theme of the conference was “Advancing Health Equity and Building resilience”. Over 250 Registered Nurses, Advanced Practice Registered Nurses, Nurse Educators, Nurse Researchers, Nursing Faculty and Nurse executives, from various backgrounds and specialties attended this two-day educational event.

The conference was “kicked-off” by NAINA president Dr. Lydia Albuquerque along with NAINA Education Committee Chair Sandra Emmanuel, Conference Conveners, Dr. Bobby Varghese, Vice President, NAINA and Dr. Anna George, President of INA- NY and Advance Practice committee chair of NAINA. The conversation on the first day focused on Transforming Health Care: Building Resilience and Decreasing Burnout along with R5 Framework in VUCA World: Leadership and DEI imperatives. Dr. Amit Sood, CEO of Global Center for Resilience, former professor of Medicine, Mayo clinic, Dr Jackie Michael, Associate Chair of Nurse Practitioner Programs, Dr Solymole Kuruvilla, Director of Occupational Health services at NYC Health + Hospital and Missam Merchant, Hospital Supervisor, University Health were speakers for the day.

The day culminated in a gala night celebration with New York Indian Consulate General Mr. Randhir Jaiswal lighting the lamp and applauding NAINA and INA-NY for their work in facilitating a conference which sought to equip nurses with the skills necessary for success in today’s world. The festive evening was complete with dances performed by talented nurses from New York, New Jersey, and Texas chapters. Dr. Anna George, President of INA-NY and Co-Convener of the conference welcomed all guest and dignitaries, she applauded the well-wishers of the community and partners, vendors, exhibitors for their generous support, without which this event could not have been possible.

NAINA’s President, Dr. Lydia Albuquerque, delivered her presidential address during which she highlighted the purpose of the gala night being three-fold, first was to celebrate the frontline heroes, celebrate 15-year anniversary of NAINA and the NAINA- DAISY: Advancing health Equity award. She then presented the strategic plan for the organization using the CARES model (Communication, Advocacy, Research, Education and Storytelling). Dr. Albuquerque emphasized that communication with its members is one of the key initiatives that has been enhanced through an improved and updated website, virtual town hall meeting, virtual back-office space, and social media. Advocacy is enhanced through the CARITAS project which serves frontline nurses in India and the resilience options project that reached out to nurses in India during the COVID Tsunami. She highlighted that NAINA is an ANCC accredited provider for contact hours and NAINA chapters provide free contact hours required for nursing licenses and certification. This year NAINA received it re-accreditation from ANCC, and she congratulated the Provider Unit Director, Sandra Emmanuel, and her team for this effort. Research is an integral part of any professional organization, NAINA is no exception. For the first time, NAINA offered an opportunity for its members to be part of Research Interest Groups. The committee has applied for grants to enhance its partnership with American Nurses Association (ANA), Center for Disease Control (CDC), Johnson & Johnson and most recently Novo-Nordisk. Dr. Albuquerque emphasized that storytelling is gaining momentum among NAINA members and applauded Georgia Indian Nurses (GINA) and American Association of Indian Nurses in New Jersey (AAIN_NJ2) for providing platform for nurses to relate their stories.

The highlight for the evening of celebration was the NAINA- DAISY: Advancing Health Equity award. The DAISY Award is an internationally acclaimed recognition provided to nurses for their compassionate and extraordinary care provided to their patients and community. Dr. Sujaya Devarayasamudram, President of Indian Nurses Association of North and Indian Nurses Association of NY were the recipients of this prestigious award this year in the Individual and Chapter categories, respectively. Vidya Kanagaraj, Chair of the Awards and Scholarship Committee was instrumental in ensuring the process was seamless. The conference souvenir was also released during the Gala event by Consulate General Randhir Jaiswal, NAINA Vice President, Dr. Bobby Varghese and NAINA Editorial chair Liffy Cherian. NAINA also celebrated its 15th anniversary during this occasion with cake-cutting by the present and past presidents. NAINA’s first president and founding member, Sara Gabriel, was honored with a lifetime achievement award during the gala event considering her contribution to the overall mission, vision and growth of the organization. The night was further made jubilant with various cultural activities presented by NAINA’s chapter members. The overall essence of the cultural activities showcased the diverse culture and patriotism we still embrace even while we remain far away from our homeland.

The second day of the educational conference commenced with the keynote presentation by Dr. Lily Thomas, Vice President Systems Nursing Research, North Well Health, Institute of Nursing. Dr. Thomas emphasized the influence of social determinants and health behaviors on health outcomes. The education offerings covered topics on Beyond Future of Nursing 2020-2030 report, minority nurse’s role impact in promoting health outcomes, Diversity Equity and Inclusion on health care today, Novel care models to improve value and address disparity. Renowned speakers, Dr. Veronica Feeg, Associate Dean, Director of PhD program and center for Nursing Research and Evaluation, Barbara H. Hagan School of Nursing and Health Sciences Molloy College, Dr. Mary Joy Garcia-Dia, President of Philippine Nurses Association of America, and Dr. Michele Gribko, Director of Quality Management and Performance Management Neurology Northwell Health System. Project Firstline, a partnership with ANA and CDC kickoff was executed by Dr. Nisha Mathew, Professor at San Jacinto College and Dr. Lydia Albuquerque, Naina President & Assistant Professor at William Paterson University, Wane, NJ. This conference gave opportunity for 16 podium presentations in four breakout rooms and 12 posters. Prizes were awarded to the outstanding posters. The Resilient Options received the first prize, CARITAS TEAM received second prize and Shipra Prasad received a third prize for HIV Screening and Clinical Education in a Primary Care Practice.

NAINA applauds the committees led by Suja Thomas, Secretary, Accamma Kallel, Executive Vice president, Tara Shajan, treasurer NAINA and all governing board members of NAINA and INANY- NY for their outstanding contribution to a successful conference.


NAINA President Dr. Lydia Albuquerque on her Presidential address:

NAINA Executive Board: Left to Right: Dr. Bobby Varghese - Vice President, Suja Thomas - Secretary Dr. Lydia Albuquerque – President, Tara Shajan- Treasurer Accamma Kallel - Exe. Vice President

Randhir Jaiswal, Consul general, Indian Consulate, New York felicitated by Aleyamma Mathews, Joint Treasurer, INANY

Accamma Kallel felicitating Keynote speaker Dr. Lily Thomas

Lifetime achievement award: Sara Gabriel, Founding member of NAINA, 1st & 5th President of NAINA