A JOURNEY INTO THE INDIAN AMERICAN NURSES ASSOCIATION OF GREATER HOUSTON (IANAGH)
IANAGH has achieved its glory through the sacrifices, dedication, and the challenging work of the pioneers who carried and nurtured the vision, mission, and core values of IANAGH. Immigrating to another country is not an easy task and presents its own set of challenges for the individuals and those associated with them. Despite the challenges, the immigrant nurses from India strived to provide exceptional nursing practice and demonstrated professionalism, dedication, humility, and maintained unsurpassed work ethics. The need and desire to support the immigrant nurses from India led the Indian nursing community in Houston to take the first steps toward discussing the dynamics of such an effort in the year 1982.
Once the discussions began, there was no turning back. The nursing community then identified their strength in each other, and the necessity of a professional organization became evident. This undertaking called for dedicated and resilient leaders. Mary J Abraham, Nurse Educator at MD Anderson Cancer Center and Saramma Jacob, Critical Care Nurse at Westbury Hospital, were the fearless nurses who made the first move to form an association to support immigrant nurses from India. The initial goals of this association were to support the immigrant nurses from India with state board nursing licensures, career advancement and to achieve higher professional standard through continued education, such as seminars and workshops. Due to the limited resources and associated personal and professional challenges of its leaders and members, the association unfortunately stayed dormant until the year 1994.
As the years progressed, there was an increase in the influx of immigrant nurses from India to the United States of America. This was evident in the mid-80s, ’90s, and early 2000s. It was imperative at this point that a professional association is required to support and represent the growing committee of nurses. Mary Roy, Mary J Abraham, Leela Thayil, Saramma Jacob, Mariamma Thomas, Claramma Mathews, Mary Thomas, late Rosakutty Chacko and many unnamed visionary leaders and individuals came forward to play key roles in forming the Indian American Nursing Association of Greater Houston (IANAGH) in the year 1994. Since then, IANAGH has stayed active in supporting the nurses and the community with its robust activities and contributions.
IANAGH Received 501(c) status in 2016 under the leadership of President, Sally Samuel. Since then, we have our own by-laws. Currently we have more than 500 professional nurses as annual and lifetime members. Our members provide services from bedside to board room and hold faculty, leadership, and research positions. Many of our members contribute to the local and global community through research and publications. Many members have received prestigious awards and recognitions from their respective employers and various professional organizations. Many leaders emerged from this organization to lead locally and nationally including Dr. Omana Simon (NAINA President-2008-2010)
SILVER JUBILEE: – IANAGH commemorated its 25th anniversary in 2019 by becoming a leading organization for nurses and nursing students. This is a testament to its remarkable growth and leadership.
NAINA: – The National Association of Indian Nurses of America (NIANA) represents the immigrant nurses, and nursing students of Indian origin and heritage at the national level. NAINA was established with the goal of uniting all Indian nurses with one voice to increase visibility within the professional arena and to rejuvenate their unique cultural heritage and values.
In 2006, the leaders of Houston, Dallas, Miami, Chicago, and New York agreed to unite under one umbrella to form a national organization. Our own member, Dr. Alice Neycheril developed the logo for National Association of Indian Nurses of America (NAINA). With the initiation of NIANA, IANAGH became one of the initial chapters of NIANA.
NIANA was official inaugurated on May 4, 2007, and this was hosted by the IANAGH chapter under the leadership of IANAGH President Mary Thomas. Among the more than 400 honored guests were the Texas Congressman Nick Lampson, the Honorable Consul General of India Mr. S.M. Gavai, and nurses from all over United States. IANAGH published the first souvenir in commemoration of NAINA inauguration.
IANAGH is proud of its achievements as a professional organization and has become a platform for nurses to represent themselves and stay dedicated with their strong presence in the community.
May God help us!
Below are some of the major accomplishments and activities hosted by IANAGH throughout these years: –
- Assisted with establishing CGFNS and NCLEX educational centers in India
- Every year as a part of Nurses Day celebration IANAGH give scholarships for nursing students both in USA and in India
- Hosted the second NAINA National conference in 2010
- Hosted the first APN clinical excellence conference in 2017
- IANAGH members joined in Indian consulate on April 21, 2018, with Indian Nursing Council President Mr. Dileep Kumar and University of Houston Dean, Dr. Tart, and Dr. Shainy Varghese (Faculty, UT Houston) for the MOU signing ceremony for DNP /NP program in India.
- Our members have opportunities to participate in various projects locally and nationally
- Every year we conduct educational conferences with ANCC Accredited Contact Hours
- We conduct DRUG and Alcohol prevention education for school children.
- We provide volunteer hours for high school students and our members.
- Our lifetime members get student discounts through various universities
- We support our members pursuing certifications, higher education and have master’s and Doctoral degrees
- We offer preceptor opportunities.
- We collaborate with local radio stations Mallu Café Radio and Asha Radio on bringing health education in different topics
Service and Philanthropy:
- Our Members Volunteers with Indian Doctors Association of Houston charity clinic
- We Conducted educational seminars and CPR training sessions in India and Haiti
- Members Volunteered with surgical/medical missions to countries like India, Mexico, Bolivia, and Haiti.
- We Volunteered at Hurricane Relief efforts and other disaster relief programs and donated monetary contribution to the Houston Mayor’s Hurricane Harvey fund
- We Donated $5000.00 for Kerala Flood Relief and four IANGH members and one family member went to Kerala and participated in medical mission in collaboration with NAINA and “Let them Smile” foundation from 9-14-18 till 9-25-18, conducting 16 mission camps, distributing care kits to include food items, infant formula, clothes, and personal hygiene items. The team provided primary care and medication supplies for about 3250 patients and completed 39 surgeries.
- For the last 15 consecutive years participated at the Star of Hope during December with Christmas toy donation and Christmas program for the homeless women & children under the leadership of Accamma Kallel NP.
- Our members participated in the Kerala mission trip in January 2019.
- We associate blood donation drives and bone marrow collection drives throughout Houston area
Collaboration with other organizations:
- Collaborates with “United Light of Hope,” “Let them Smile Again” foundation and Indian nursing Council to provide outreach activities globally.
- Conducted annual fund raising for American Heart Association and our team participated every year for American Heart walk and for Wear Red Day.
- Our members volunteered actively with Bhutanese Refugee project
- Raised $25,000.00 under the leadership of President Accamma Kallel and sponsored to build the first clinic in collaboration with United light of Hope at Canaan, a remote village in Haiti. Our team of seven nurses went to Haiti for a medical mission and inaugurated the Clinic of Hope in January 2018 at Canaan and 322 patients received primary care. The clinic now continues to provide basic health care and education.
- Volunteered at Houston food bank and channel 8 (Public Broadcasting Service) multiple times.
- We network with other organizations like MAGH, India House, Indo American Cancer Network, Indian Doctors Association of Houston, Universities and all Hospitals in Houston and National level.
- We have a good relationship with our local chapters.
- We maintain a good relationship with our local leaders and elected officials.
- We acknowledge our sponsors and vendors for all their support.