ANA Mourns Hazel Johnson-Brown (1927-2011)

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SILVER SPRING, MD –The American Nurses Association (ANA) joins with the larger nursing community in mourning the passing of Hazel Johnson-Brown, PhD, RN, FAAN. She passed away at her home Friday, Aug. 5, at the age of 83. Johnson-Brown was a leader and educator whose determination and dedication to the profession provided inspiration to generations of nurses.

Hazel Johnson-Brown was denied entrance to the West Chester School of Nursing because of her race. Undaunted, she enrolled in the Harlem Hospital School of Nursing in 1947 and began her career at Philadelphia’s Veteran’s Hospital, before joining the U.S. Army in 1955. Dedicated to improving education for military nurses, Johnson-Brown rose through the ranks, and eventually became the first African-American woman to achieve the rank of brigadier general in the Army. As chief of the Army Nurse Corps (1979-83), Johnson-Brown oversaw 7,000 men and women nurses in the Army, Army National Guard, and Army Reserves. Additionally, she set policy and monitored the operations of eight Army medical centers, 56 community hospitals, and 143 freestanding clinics in the U.S. and abroad. In her post-military career, Johnson-Brown continued her outstanding work as a nurse educator, teaching at George Mason, Georgetown, and the University of Maryland schools of nursing. At George Mason, she was instrumental in founding the Center for Health Policy, designed to educate and involve nurses in health policy and policy design. She also served as the director of Government Affairs at ANA from 1984-86.

Johnson-Brown will be laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery after a service at St. Clare of Assisi Church in Clifton, Virginia.