As part of the Black, Brown and Green Voices series, and collaboration with the African American Irish Diaspora Network and the John Brademas Center of New York University, and NYPL Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, we present a public interview with Dame Elizabeth Anionwu, nurse, healthcare administrator, lecturer, and Emeritus Professor of Nursing.
Born in Birmingham in 1947, Dame Anionwu identifies herself as of Irish/Nigerian heritage and started work for Britain's NHS as a school nurse assistant at the age of 16. In 1979, she helped to establish in Brent the first nurse-led UK Sickle & Thalassaemia Screening and Counselling Centre. In 1988 she was awarded a PhD from University College London (UCL). From 1990-1997 she worked at the Institute of Child Health, UCL as a Lecturer then Senior Lecturer in Community Genetic Counselling. She has written extensively and is a co-author, with Professor Karl Atkin, of The Politics of Sickle Cell & Thalassaemia. She was honoured with a Damehood (DBE) in the 2017 Queen’s New Year’s Honours List for her services to nursing and the Mary Seacole Statue Appeal. In 2004 she was presented with the Royal College of Nursing Fellowship (FRCN) for her work in the development of nurse-led sickle cell and thalassaemia counselling services and education and leadership in transcultural nursing. She is a Patron of the Sickle Cell Society, the Nigerian Nurses Charitable Association (UK) and the Sickle & Thalassaemia Association of Nurses, Midwives & Associated Professionals (STANMAP) and she has chaired several projects for the NHS Sickle and Thalassaemia Screening Programme. Her memoir, Dreams from my Mother, was recently reissued.
Black, Brown and Green Voices represents a documentation strategy and public humanities initiative which aims to amplify the diversity of the Irish diaspora by recording interviews with Black and Brown Irish Americans and those who speak to the Black experience in Ireland. The project director is historian Dr. Miriam Nyhan Grey who has been affiliated with New York University since 2008 and is a founding board member of the African American Irish Diaspora Network.
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