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For immediate release
December 17, 2004

Sandy Summers 410-323-1100
or 443-253-3738

Nurses urge U.S. to change name of "Doctor Day" campaign

Health Gap imageLast week the Center for Nursing Advocacy launched a campaign to persuade the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to change the name of its annual "Take a Loved One to the Doctor Day" campaign to one that would not exclude Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs), who provide vital primary care to the very minorities the campaign targets. The nurses' campaign has been joined by prominent nursing groups including the American Nurses Association, American College of Nurse-Midwives, American Academy of Nurse Practitioners and the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists. Nurses have already sent more than 200 letters to HHS and prominent urban radio figure Tom Joyner, who serves as honorary chair of the HHS campaign.

"We believe this name change would enhance the HHS campaign's effect on the target populations, and at the same time address the public image problem that is a critical factor in the nursing shortage," said Center Executive Director Sandy Summers. "Over 200,000 APRNs provide high quality, cost-effective health care in the U.S. today. And despite some unsupported remarks you might hear in the media, research has shown that APRN care is at least as good as that of physicians. APRNs should not be excluded from the name of a campaign addressing health disparities that they do so much to reduce."

APRNs generally have graduate nursing degrees, and they include Nurse Practitioners, Nurse Midwives, Nurse Psychotherapists, Nurse Anesthetists and Clinical Nurse Specialists. Many practice in otherwise underserved urban and rural areas.

Summers noted that HHS has in the past asked APRN organizations to help promote the so-called "Doctor Day" campaign. "That's ironic, don't you think?" she asked. "Of course nurses support the worthy goals of the campaign. But it makes no sense to ask APRNs to promote a campaign whose name tells people to see someone else for care in which the APRNs themselves are expert."

"The nursing shortage is threatening lives worldwide," noted Summers. "Most if not all the factors contributing to the shortage are directly related to a lack of understanding about nurses' life-saving contributions. But recognition of APRNs in a major federal campaign like this one would tell everyone that nurses are a vital part of our health care team."

For reference, the contact information of the relevant officials is at the bottom of this press release.

Campaigns initiated by the Center for Nursing Advocacy have recently inspired nurses the world over to come together to protest harmful media depictions. Since last year, these efforts have led to the removal of "naughty nurse" advertising images created by Skechers, Disney, Clairol, Pennzoil and Physicians Formula cosmetics company. Other successful campaigns include those regarding Dr. Phil, Vogue, Jeopardy! and shock jock Mancow.

(Nurses, click here to take action)

The Center for Nursing Advocacy, founded in 2001, is a Baltimore-based non-profit that seeks to increase public understanding of the central, front-line role nurses play in modern health care. The focus of the Center is to promote more accurate, balanced and frequent media portrayals of nurses and increase the media's use of nurses as expert sources.

For more information on the "Doctor Day" campaign, contact:

Sandy Summers, MSN, MPH, RN
Executive Director
The Truth About Nursing
203 Churchwardens Rd.
Baltimore, MD 21212-2937
office 410-323-1100
cell 443-253-3738

Contact information for HHS officials and Tom Joyner

Secretary Tommy Thompson
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
200 Independence Avenue, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20201
phone: 202-619-0257
fax 202-690-7203

Tom Joyner --

HHS officials:

Garth Graham, MD, MPH, Director, 301-443-5084

Tuei Doong, Deputy Director, 301-443-5084

Mirtha Beadle, Acting Deputy Director

Teresa Chapa, PhD, MPA, Director, Division of Policy and Data 301-443-9923

Cynthia Amis, Director, Division of Program Operations, 301-594-0769

Blake Crawford, Director Division of Information and Education, 301-443-5224

They can be reached at this address:

Office of Minority Health
Department of Health and Human Services
The Tower Building
1101 Wootton Parkway Suite 600
Rockville, MD 20852
General number: 301-443-5084

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