NAHN was founded in 1975 by Dr. Ildaura Murillo-Rohde. Ildaura was concerned that the American Nurses Association might not be serving Latino nurses’ needs. Latinas were to be assisted in securing their education so that they can serve their communities and help themselves as well.
Rohde was born in Panama in 1920 and arrived in the United States in 1945. It was in San Antonio, Texas, where her nursing career began that she was exposed to a largely Hispanic population. The Hispanic community lacked nurses of Hispanic descent. At Columbia University in New York, she obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing as a result of this experience. After graduating from New York University, she pursued a Master’s and a Doctorate degree.
Rohde was appointed to review federal grants for research and education in the 1970s. Similarly to San Antonio, she encountered a lack of Latina nurses in academic settings and public policy; she was motivated to make a difference.
As a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing, Dr. Rohde achieved one of nursing’s highest honors. At the School of Nursing of SUNY, in Brooklyn, New York, she was Dean and Professor Emeritus. She has always been actively involved in nursing, serving as faculty, then as professor, and then as Dean. She was also appointed permanent representative of the International Office at UNICEF, New York. Professional and Business Women’s Federation.
She was always present at NAHN conferences until ill health prevented her, and she always wore an orchid that her members provided.
Hispanic nursing educators are entitled to receive the Dr. Ildaura Murillo-Rohde Award for Education Excellence. NAHN member scholars and/or nursing educators receiving this award will be honored. Nursing education, research, and practice contributions, as well as distinguished clinical expertise, qualify for this award.
As well as offering the Dr. Ildaura Murillo-Rohde Scholarship, NAHN supports Hispanic nursing students in nursing programs.
This nurse’s achievements and dedication have been honored and celebrated by NAHN. Everyone who knew Dr. Rohde was always inspired by her.
In her native land of Panama, Dr. Ildaura Murillo-Rohde died on September 5, 2010.
Ildaura Murillo-Rohde, PhD, RN, FAAN celebrates National Hispanic Heritage Month
Throughout her career, Ildaura Murillo-Rohde (1920-2010) championed the unique health care needs of Hispanics in her work as an academic, health policy advocate, and nurse. She obtained an undergraduate degree in the teaching and supervision of psychiatric nursing from Teachers College, Columbia University, after earning a nursing diploma at the Medical and Surgical Hospital School of Nursing in San Antonio, Texas. Her first position was at Bellevue Psychiatric Hospital, dealing with patients diagnosed with “Puerto Rican syndrome,” which was originally used to describe traumatized Puerto Rican soldiers. A psychiatrist at Wayne County General Hospital recruited her before she returned to New York to open the first psychiatric division at Elmhurst General Hospital. New York University awarded her the first PhD to a Hispanic nurse in 1971.
Hispanic nurses remained a strong focus throughout Murillo-Rohde’s career. Additionally, she sought to increase the number of policy experts advising lawmakers on Hispanic community health care concerns based on her experience as a federal research and education grant reviewer. In the 1970s, Murillo-Rohde was an active member of the American Nurses Association (ANA), where she worked for two years to ensure that the Spanish-Speaking/Spanish Surname Nurses’ Caucus was an ANA committee. As a result of the ANA’s refusal to recognize the caucus, Murillo-Rohde formed the National Association of Hispanic Nurses (NAHN) with a group of about 15 nurses in 1975.
In the United States, NAHN has long worked to improve the quality and delivery of healthcare to the Hispanic community. It sponsors a scholarship for Hispanic students enrolled in nursing programs that lead to licensure, as well as an award for distinction in nursing scholarship, research, and practice.
Besides Hispanic Health Care International, NAHN publishes research on issues affecting Hispanics in the United States and abroad. In 2012, NYAM Fellow Judith Aponte was named associate professor of nursing at Hunter College and editor-in-chief of the journal HHCI.
A psychotherapist, marriage, and family therapist, Murillo-Rohde also served in academic administration, including as Dean of the College of Nursing at SUNY Downstate Medical Center. The impact of Murillo-Rohde was also felt internationally through her appointment as WHO’s psychiatric consultant to Guatemala’s government, which established a pilot program for training psychiatric personnel. Besides serving as UNICEF’s Permanent UN Representative, she also served as the International Federation of Business and Professional Women’s Permanent UN Representative. Murillo-Rohde, who was 89 years old when she died in 2010, passed away in her native Panama.