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American Nurses Association Launches Racial Reckoning Think Tank to Address Systemic Racism Within the Organization

The Think Tank will focus on the reconciliation and healing between ANA and ethnic nursing organizations impacted by systemic exclusion.


SILVER SPRING, MD - Starting today, the American Nurses Association (ANA) launched the Racial Reckoning Think Tank (Think Tank or the Think Tank) to convene over a six-month period and develop actionable strategies in support of ANA’s commitment to its organizational Journey of Racial Reconciliation. As part of this commitment and the goals of the Think Tank, the discussion and subsequent recommendations will focus on the mending of ANA’s relationships with its fellow nursing associations that represents members of historically excluded identity and affinity groups. 

“As a Think Tank, we are dedicated to confronting the enduring legacy of racism and its impact on our patients and colleagues. Our responsibility is to promote health equity and address the systemic racism that perpetuates health disparities and suboptimal health outcomes,” said Think Tank Co-Chair and National Coalition of Ethnic-Minority Nurse Associations (NCEMNA) Executive Director Dr. Debra A. Toney, PHD, RN, FAAN. 

“This gathering of minds is a critical moment for purposeful dialogue and even more meaningful action. In recent years, ANA’s Journey of Racial Reconciliation has focused on our shameful past and the harm we as an organization have caused since our inception. Now is the time to take this seeking of forgiveness and turn it into strategies that heal the wounds of racism and inaccessibility. I am excited to look at this journey as one that brings us into a more equitable future with open dialogue, solutions, and action,” said Think Tank Co-Chair and ANA President Jennifer Mensik Kennedy, PhD, MBA, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN.

President Mensik-Kennedy and Dr. Debra A. Toney will work together as Co-Chairs to support the process, provide guidance, and impart insight to the Think Tank’s participants. Representatives from the following organizations comprise the working committee:

  • American Nurses Association (ANA)
  • Asian American / Pacific Islander Nurses Association (AAPINA) 
  • Chi Eta Phi Sorority, Inc.
  • National Alaska Native American Indian Nurses Association (NANAINA)
  • National Association of Hispanic Nurses (NAHN)
  • National Association of Indian Nurses of America (NAINA)
  • National Black Nurses Association (NBNA)
  • National Coalition of Ethnic-Minority Nurse Associations (NCEMNA)
  • Philippine Nurses Association of America (PNAA)


The Think Tank is being co-facilitated by Dr. G. Rumay Alexander, Professor at UNC-Chapel Hill as well as Senior Equity Advisor for ANA and Professor of Nursing at UNC-Chapel Hill alongside Wendy Amengual Wark, Founding Partner of Inclusion Strategy Solutions LLC. Together they will lead the process, coordinate and facilitate meetings, and be responsible for related communications over the Racial Reckoning Think Tank’s tenure.


TheAmerican Nurses Association(ANA) is the premier organization representing the interests of the nation's more than 5 million registered nurses. ANA advances the profession by fostering high standards of nursing practice, promoting a safe and ethical work environment, bolstering the health and wellness of nurses, and advocating on health care issues that affect nurses and the public. ANA is at the forefront of improving the quality of health care for all. For more information,

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