Society, Health and Justice in the School of Nursing Talks
I am aware that what is deeply embedded in the mission of health workers is to make societal impact, and deeply embedded in our society are health disparities that require the attention of nurses, doctors and health professionals alike. - Andrew Benson Greene
excerpt from speech at Maryland School of Nursing.
"Thank you, Professor Lori Edwards, for the opportunity to talk to you and your students in the class of Society, Health and Justice in the School of Nursing.
My name is Andrew Benson Greene and I come from Sierra Leone in West Africa where I was born and raised and where I was active for many years in rebuilding the lives of children and youth who faced unprecedented violence.
I am a Board member of the Maryland United for Peace and Justice, among others. I am also currently enrolled as a student of the University of Maryland - Francis King Carey King School of Law, MSL Program, specializing in Patent Law.
When societies are confronted with social problems, health crises and economic challenges, people from many professional backgrounds especially health workers are jolted to act.
Both the war in Sierra Leone and the Ebola outbreak have demonstrated the critical role of health workers to respond to crises, and health workers and nurses have utilized their nursing skills to be activist and help bring health justice and solve critical national health crises and problems.
In my presentation today, I will talk about my efforts to help bring about social justice, through my interventions in education, creativity and innovation in helping the people of Sierra Leone rebuild their lives.
I will also discuss the role doctors and nurses played during two national crises, during the war and its aftermath in Sierra Leone which left thousands dead and wounded and their fight to stop the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone.
Health disparities account for higher death rates, earlier disease onset, and greater severity of disease, stemming from differences in demographics such as race, age, and geography.
In our societies to ensure that justice prevails in administering health, it is important to look at ways to help close the healthcare gaps, promote health equity, social justice as a central part of the work and mission of health institutions.
I am aware that what is deeply embedded in the mission of health workers is to make societal impact, and deeply embedded in our society are health disparities that require the attention of nurses, doctors and health professionals alike.
In many respects, in health equity and social justice model, everyone is supposed to have the same access to healthcare services, regardless of race, ethnicity, income, or any other difference. Attaining this critical element of fairness is one of the many tests that nurses, doctors and other health care professionals faced in the wake of the war and the Ebola outbreak and all its aftermath.
As Sierra Leone rebuilds and recovers, it is critical for the health sector to be improved not just with the infrastructure and the medical equipment, but also with trained nurses who are committed to ensure that justice prevails in the health sector and patients are treated equally. There is a new film ‘Survivors’ about the EBOLA in Sierra Leone that has recently been nominated for the Emmy’s. In fact, one of my past students was the video producer and co-director.
For nurses or students trying to become nurses, you are taking up the cudgel and responsibilities to bring health justice to society. Your role is critical in helping to save lives in society.
You will realize that your task goes beyond administering medicines to patients, but one that involves restoration, healing, and hope. You are indeed the symbol of hope, fairness, restoration of life and justice in many situations that seem hopeless and you will be often called to action to help solve society's problems. I implore you to act with fairness, and justice and respond to critical needs".