Niagara University’s College of Nursing hosted a discussion focusing on the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals and their implications on the nursing profession April 7. “Embracing UN Sustainable Development Goals to Advocate for Population Health—A Call to Action,” featured Dr. Pennie Branden, liaison to the United Nations for Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing.
The session began with a welcome from Cheryl Hayes, president of the Gamma Theta chapter of Sigma; Dr. Christine Verni, dean of NU’s College of Nursing; and Dr. Linda Scharf, president of the Professional Nurses Association of Western New York.
Dr. Branden, an award-winning global advocate, educator, and healthcare consultant who has impacted global health through care, innovations, and advocacy, offered a brief history of the development of the U.N.’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals and spoke to the crucial role nurses and nursing students can play in their achievement.
“Healthcare providers and nurses are key to achieving these sustainable development goals because we work closely with communities and are critical to empowering individuals to be advocates in their own health,” she said. “We know we can take care of people when they’re ill, but they need to know how to take care of themselves to stay healthy, and that’s a huge component of this. We have a moral imperative to advocate for positive change for our communities, for our patients, and for the global interest.”
Following Dr. Branden’s presentation, panelists, including NU College of Nursing alumnae Dr. Fran Crosby, ’67, and Karen Ballard, ’66, shared their insights about advocating for equity at the local, regional, national, and international levels, and facilitated table activities to generate ideas for a strategic action plan in support of the SDGs.
The event was sponsored by the Gamma Theta chapter of Sigma, the Professional Nurses Association of WNY, and the NU College of Nursing, and supported by an Advancing Excellence in Nursing Education alumni grant.