Gaurdia Banister ('80) Wins National Award

 Black woman in black and grey suit

Gaurdia Banister -- 1980 BSN alumna and 2008 Distinguished Alumna from the University of Wyoming Fay W. Whitney School of Nursing as well as member on the Friends of the Fay W. Whitney School of Nursing Board -- was awarded the Mary Mahoney Award at the June 2012 American Nurses Association (ANA) House of Delegates meeting. This national award acknowledges significant contributions to advancing equal opportunities in nursing for members of minority groups.

From the ANA NursingWorld.Org press release of June 16, 2012:

Gaurdia Banister, executive director at the Institute for Patient Care at Massachusetts General Hospital, is a role model, mentor, and advocate for minority students. Banister’s forte is collaboration and professional development, and her accomplishments have had a profound influence in Massachusetts and the District of Columbia.

Described as a champion of diversity, Banister has dedicated significant energy to advancing a program to enhance the nursing career opportunities of minority students at the University of Massachusetts at Boston, as well as other schools of nursing. Through the Clinical Leadership Collaborative for Diversity in Nursing, minority students are offered both scholarship assistance and mentoring. More than 64 undergraduate and 16 graduate students have benefited from the program and are now employed in the Massachusetts General Hospital system.

Banister has demonstrated leadership and contributed to the impact of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation New Careers in Nursing Scholarship Program as a member of the National Advisory Committee. The program awards scholarships to nursing students from underrepresented groups. Banister serves as an exceptional role model for those following in her steps.

While in the District of Columbia, Banister’s vision led to the development of a program in DC schools for disadvantaged minority students who were interested in pursuing health careers. One by one, she has had a positive influence on those students as they entered nursing.

Compassion characterizes many aspects of Banister’s career. While on the DC Board of Nursing, Banister introduced a program to assist nurses with substance use problems. Entitled COIN (Committee on Impaired Nurses), the program is staffed with experts in the mental health field. Letters from former participants attest that this program not only saved careers, it saved lives. With the establishment of COIN, Banister has left a long-standing contribution to the DC nursing community.

More about the Mary Mahoney award:

Mary Eliza Mahoney (1845-1926) was inducted into the American Nurses Association Hall of Fame in 1976.

From the ANA NursingWorld web site:

America's first black professional nurse, Mary Eliza Mahoney is known not only for her outstanding personal career, but also for her exemplary contributions to local and national professional organizations. Mahoney inspired both nurses and patients with her calm, quiet efficiency and untiring compassion.

Patients tended by Mahoney throughout her career gave glowing testimony of her expert and tender care. She graduated from the New England Hospital for Women and Children Training School for Nurses in 1879. She was one of only three persons in her class to complete the rigorous 16 month program. In 1909, Mahoney gave the welcome address at the first conference of the National Association of Colored Graduate Nurses (NACGN). In recognition of her outstanding example to nurses of all races, NACGN established the Mary Mahoney Award in 1936. When NACGN merged with the American Nurses Association in 1951, the award was continued. Today, the Mary Mahoney Award is bestowed biennially in recognition of significant contributions in interracial relationships.”


Since Banister won this award in 2012, she was named the University of Wyoming Distinguished Alumna in 2014. In 2017, an interview with Banister was posted on this website.


updated 7/3/2017

Gaurdia E. Banister, RN, PhD

Gaurdia E. Banister, RN, PhD
Banister received the 2012 Mary Mahoney Award from American Nurses Association on June 16, 2012.
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