PHOTO: Ihuoma Ezebuihe

Ihuoma Ezebuihe

Ihuoma Ezebuihe is the recipient of the Janice Nelson Scholarship Award. She obtained both a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and a Master of Public Health(MPH) from Howard University, Washington DC, and a Master of Science (MS) and post-Master in Global Health from the University of Maryland. In addition Ihuoma earned a post-master certificate as a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) from West Virginia, and a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree from The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa. She is currently enrolled in The University of Alabama Tuscaloosa and University of Alabama in Huntsville -Joint Nursing Science Ph.D. Program.

Growing up in Nigeria in Sub-Saharan Africa, Ihuoma had a firsthand experience of the negative impact of disease knowledge deficit can have on patients and their respective families. At that time, people in her community were experiencing a very high rate of diabetes. She met patients who believe in traditional medicine, voodoo explanations, and superstitions about diseases, particularly diabetes. Sometimes they believed someone has put a spell on them. Most of those patients have limited knowledge of diabetes necessary to manage the disease, particularly the dietary portion regarding low glycemic index and load foods indigenous to them. She became interested in becoming a nurse to help people improve upon their limited access to care in their community. The knowledge she acquired in nursing provided her the opportunity to provide evidence-based diabetes knowledge to her people in their Igbo vernacular, and it made a significant impact on their diabetic related lab results. She was comfortable interacting with those in her community and felt a sense of belonging, she was determined to help people who were trying to survive against all odds.

Making a more positive impact on the lives of individuals in the United States and Nigeria who are living with diabetes and other chronic diseases is just one of her nursing career goals. She is currently conducting research in the translation of diabetes instruments and diabetes knowledge to expand the understanding of vulnerable underserved populations.

Upon completion of her BSN degree, she worked at both Georgetown University’s same-day surgery unit and Howard University’s medical-surgical unit. As a member of the nursing faculty at Coppin State University-School of Nursing, she taught undergraduate and graduate nursing students while completing my DNP degree and continued to work there while currently completing her Ph.D. degree. Her MPH, post master’s in Global Health and Certificate as a Family Nurse practitioner, all enabled Ihuoma to provide primary health care and evidence based health educational intervention to people in all communities, who are living with diabetes, and other chronic illnesses.

Advancing the science of nursing and improving the nursing faculty shortage by teaching and mentoring graduate nursing students drives Ihuoma. She decided to go back to school to obtain a Ph.D. degree to foster her research focus: eliminating health disparity among minority populations, particularly among African Americans and African Immigrants.

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