Yvonne J. Graham, Assistant to Brooklyn Borough President, Delivers Keynote at Touro College School of Health Sciences Department of Nursing Pinning and Awards Ceremony

Date: July 11, 2008
Left to right: Dr. Alona Harris, chairperson, Department of Nursing, Touro College School of Health Sciences, with Yvonne J. Graham, assistant to Brooklyn Borough President.
Left to right: Dr. Alona Harris, chairperson, Department of Nursing, Touro College School of Health Sciences, with Yvonne J. Graham, assistant to Brooklyn Borough President.
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Department of Nursing awards 23 Degrees to the Class of 2008.

Brooklyn, N.Y. - Yvonne J. Graham, assistant to Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, addressed 23 graduates of the Touro College School of Health Sciences recently at a pinning and awards ceremony that attracted a crowd of approximately 300.

Surrounded by their families and friends at the June 22nd ceremony at the Renaissance Ballroom in Brooklyn, the candidates were recognized for associate in applied science degrees with a concentration in nursing.

The highlight of the event was the pinning ceremony - a symbolic bridge linking nursing’s past to nursing’s future. At the ceremony, the students dedicated the actual pinning to family members and/or faculty who guided and helped them along the way.

Dr. Alona Harris, chairperson for the Department of Nursing, welcomed the attendees, thanked families, faculty and administration for their continued support, and hailed students for their accomplishments.

Dr. Joseph Weisberg, dean of the School of Health Sciences, told the graduates: "You are about to start practicing your nursing skills and you will be working with others as members of the medical team. Please do not be shy. Ask questions. If you do, you will make fewer mistakes, and you will grow professionally."

Ms. Graham told the graduates, "Where you go in your lives shall have an impact on your profession. Always remember where you received your education; always remember Touro College." She continued: "Your warmth and sensitivity as a nurse will always have an impact on those you come in contact with. Make an effort to join the political network to advocate for your nursing profession and your community at large."

In her closing remarks, Ms. Graham reminded the graduates that "being compassionate and caring will yield immeasurable results."

Ms. Graham has been a pioneer in the arena of public health for over 20 years. Before coming into office, she founded and was executive director of the Caribbean Women’s Health Association (CWHA), which provides comprehensive, culturally-sensitive health care, immigration and social support services to diverse communities.

In her present position Ms. Graham oversees health care policy and all human services for the Brooklyn Borough President’s office. Her vision was critical to the 2005 founding of Brooklyn’s first Center on Health Disparities, which is working to reduce cardiovascular disease, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, infant mortality, asthma, and diabetes among minority communities.

Ms. Graham is an RN, holds an undergraduate degree from St. Joseph’s College, and a Master of Public Health from Hunter College. She also completed the Executive Program in Business Administration at Columbia University and recently received an Honorary Doctor of Law degree from St. Joseph’s College. She lives in the Clinton Hill section of Brooklyn.

Ms. Graham has served on the Mayor’s Committee on Immigration, the New York City HIV Planning Council, and the Mayor’s Commission on the Status of Women and has received numerous awards and honors in the community.