Media Relations

AACN Invited to Represent Nursing Education at White House Regional Forum on Healthcare Reform

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Press Release
For Immediate Release

AACN Invited to Represent Nursing Education at
White House Regional Forum on Healthcare Reform

WASHINGTON, DC, March 31, 2009 – To underscore the importance of nursing education in the national discussion on healthcare reform, Dr. Geraldine “Polly” Bednash, the CEO and Executive Director of AACN, attended the White House Regional Forum on Health Reform held earlier today in Greensboro, NC. The White House invited Dr. Bednash to the hearing to represent the interests of professional nursing education and research.

Hosted by the Honorable Beverly Perdue, Governor of North Carolina, the forum began with a welcoming video from President Obama and opening remarks from the Governor and Nancy-Ann DeParle, Director of the White House Office on Health Reform. The discussion featured remarks from the patient and provider communities and focused on the exceptional cost of health care in the U.S., as well as the need for increased innovation. The White House has partnered with Democratic and Republican governors around the country to offer these forums as a way of engaging a diverse group of stakeholders and elected officials in discussions about the future of health reform in the United States.
“Dr. Bednash’s invitation to this White House Forum is a critical step toward elevating the importance of supporting nursing education in the national dialogue about health reform,” said AACN President Dr. Fay Raines. “We cannot have meaningful national debates on innovations in healthcare delivery without the participation of nurse educators.”

Along with Dr. Bednash and representatives from other national nursing organizations, nurse educators at the forum included Dr. Patricia Chamings, Dean of the North Carolina A&T State University School of Nursing; Dr. Lorna Harris, Chair of the North Carolina Central University Department of Nursing; and Phyllis Horns, Vice Chancellor for Health Sciences at the East Carolina University.  In the first regional forum held March 12, 2009 in Michigan, Dr. Kathryn May, Dean of the School of Nursing at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, had the opportunity to represent nursing education. Dr. May questioned Melody Barnes, White House Director of Domestic Policy, on the need for a reinvestment in traineeships and facility investment grants for nursing schools.

The White House is seeking comments and suggestions from stakeholders and the public on innovations related to health reform. To send your comments or suggestions to policymakers engaged in this work, see

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) is the national voice for university and four-year college education programs in nursing. Representing more than 640 member schools of nursing at public and private institutions nationwide, AACN's educational, research, governmental advocacy, data collection, publications, and other programs work to establish quality standards for bachelor's- and graduate-degree nursing education, assist deans and directors to implement those standards, influence the nursing profession to improve health care, and promote public support of baccalaureate and graduate nursing education, research, and practice.

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Robert Rosseter, 202-463-6930, ext. 231