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UR Nursing Alumni, Faculty Win Local, National Black Nurses Association Awards

  By Gianluca D'Elia
  Monday, July 25, 2022

Several University of Rochester Medical Center and School of Nursing students, alumni, and faculty earned awards from both the National Black Nurses Association (NBNA) and its Rochester chapter (RBNA) over the weekend.

At the national level, Assistant Professor Natalie Leblanc, PhD, MPH, RN, BSN received the NBNA’s 2022 Nurse Researcher of the Year Award, which honors a nurse researcher who has completed an outstanding research study and who has excellent potential to develop and implement a program of research that contributes to the well-being and health care of minorities. Leblanc’s research aims to improve sexual health and HIV-related outcomes with a focus on marginalized and vulnerable populations. Her current research focuses on health care provider perspectives and praxis in sexual health promotion, including across the HIV care continuum.

RBNA award winners group photo at Davinci of Greece
Natalie Leblanc, Mitchell Wharton, Mary Starks, Yvette Conyers, Kathy Rideout, Sheniece Griffin, Kristin Hocker, Laverne Sleugh-Sharpe, Faith Lambert and Jose Perpignan Jr. at the Rochester Black Nurses Association's Annual Awards Luncheon on July 23, 2022.


URMC Nursing Director for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and UR Nursing alumna Sheniece Griffin, DNP, RN, CNL and Family Nurse Practitioner student Bryanna Patterson, RN were named 2022 Under 40 Award winners by the NBNA. The Under 40 list recognizes young nurses across the U.S. who “are rocking the nursing world through professional and educational achievement, leadership, and civic involvement in their NBNA chapters and in the communities they serve,” said NBNA President Dr. Martha A. Dawson.

Patterson and two more members of the UR Nursing community also won scholarships from the RBNA on Saturday during its annual awards luncheon at Davinci of Greece on July 23: Faith Lambert, MS, RN, FNP-BC, a student in the combined MS-PhD program; and Mary Starks, RN, DNP, an alumna of the Doctor of Nursing Practice program who is also a founding member of the RBNA.

RBNA Award recipients from URMC and the School of Nursing include the following:

  • Alumna Yvette Conyers ’07N, DNP, MS, RN, FNP-C, CTN-B, received the Spirit of Nursing Leadership Award and celebrated the end of her term as RBNA President.
  • Sheniece Griffin received the RBNA’s Community of Rochester Nurse Pioneer Award.
  • Kathy Rideout, the School of Nursing’s outgoing dean, was named the Spirit of Rochester Distinguished Nurse Leader.
  • Wilhelmina Sizer ’15N (MS), NP, who earned her Post-Master’s certificate here in 2015, received the RBNA’s Unsung Hero Award and a certificate scholarship.

The University of Rochester School of Nursing is a sponsor of the Rochester Black Nurses Association.

Categories: Diversity, Community, Alumni

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