Rhetaugh Graves Dumas (1926 – 2007)


Inspiration for Activism

  • Esteemed nursing “leader with vision, insight, and wise counsel who had a major impact in the advancement of nursing, health care, and academic programs
  • inspired to become a nurse because of her mother, who wanted to be a nurse but could not because of her race
  • Strong advocate for Black women and Black nurses, urging baccalaureate education for all
  • First nurse to conduct clinical experiments that evaluated nursing practices
  • First African-American woman to be named as a Dean of Nursing, University of Michigan (1981). Subsequently appointed as Vice-Provost of the University, serving until her retirement.
  • First woman and first nurse to serve as deputy director of the National Institute of Mental Health 1979-1981
  • As President of the American Academy of Nursing (1987-89), led the establishment of Expert Panels to develop strong policy statements based on nursing expertise

More information here and here

Rhetaugh Dumas with Peggy Chinn, 2005

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