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Catherine Alicia Georges 400

C. Alicia Georges ’65, Ed.D., R.N., FAAN, chairperson of the Department of Nursing at Lehman College, of the City University of New York, president of the National Black Nurses Foundation, Inc., and College of Nursing alumna, has raised the bar in academics, research and community activism. She recently spent a few minutes reflecting on her impressive career.

You worked as a community nurse in New York after you graduated from Seton Hall. How did this experience affect you as a nurse?
I was a visiting nurse from 1965-75 and I absolutely loved it. Many students want to work in hospitals, but I tell them if a person lives to be 100 years old, they only spend a short time in the hospitals – community nursing is where the action is! You get to see people in their homes, as they truly are.

Any challenges?
Of course. There was a huge drug epidemic – people were doing heroin and there were some buildings in New York that we couldn’t even enter. Treating children who were suffering from withdrawals was difficult. In the beginning we didn’t have escorts, but then we needed to have someone accompany us into these uncomfortable areas. New York is much safer now – I would say it’s as safe as any city.

When you were honored at the College of Nursing’s tea celebrating Black History Month, I learned about all of your accomplishments and achievements and yet, the thing that struck me was your genuine delight and enthusiasm for your classmate’s and colleagues’ accomplishments, as though you were more excited for them than for yourself.
I just have the greatest respect for people who do what they do every day with no thought of monetary gain, and it makes me happy to get up and go to work every day. Brenda Bennett (a fellow Seton Hall nursing classmate, who continued on to medical school) could have specialized in plastic surgery or gone into practice anywhere, but she chose to open her office in Harlem. And I just have the greatest admiration for Annette Hubbard (’65, R.N., B.S.N., M.A.), who has made such a difference in our community.

How has your position as a black female leader in education helped you make strides toward your goals of eliminating health disparities and improving the health of minorities and the disadvantaged?
We have fair, equitable admission criteria, but we get the opportunity to increase the ethnic mix and admit students who can serve as role models. People respond better when treated by someone with similar cultural and ethnic backgrounds. We are able to ensure that nurses who work in our neighborhoods are reflective of the population they serve.

I know that you love to travel. Can you tell me your favorite place that you have visited?
My two favorite places would be Cape Town (South Africa) and Hong Kong. Cape Town is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen and it reminds me of St. Thomas, where I was born. Hong Kong is one of the most cosmopolitan places in the world. You can meet everybody and do everything, yet there are still strong Asian traditions – I love the contrast.

Favorite restaurant in NYC?
Le Bernardin, but I only go on special occasions!

For more information please contact:
Christine Aromando
(973) 378-9840


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