Saturday, June 15, 2024

New healthcare institute aimed at increasing diversity opens in Wilmington

WILMINGTON — A new healthcare teaching facility opened its doors in downtown Wilmington Thursday.

Sankofa Training & Wellness Institute will offer a 19-day certified nursing assistant program, along with CPR and first aid courses and integrative health and life coaching certifications.

READ MORE: County’s building purchase for CFCC is aimed at the nursing shortage. Here’s how it could help.

Sankofa, led by registered nurse and educator Suprena Hickman, will gear its programming toward attracting, educating, training, and employing African Americans and other minority talent to enhance diversity in the medical profession. 

“Representation matters,” Hickman said in a press release. “Sankofa will provide an important bridge to healthcare careers, one that eases access, understands the time and financial burdens, and removes barriers so that our community’s healthcare system better represents our community.”  

Suprena Hickman’s 25-year nursing career has included neuroscience, coronary care, primary care and intensive care in hospitals, veterans clinics and for healthcare staffing agencies. Suprena earned her certification as an Integrated Health Coach and expanded her services to include health sciences education, mentoring, coaching and training. In 2021, she published “The Diaries of a Resilient Black Nurse: An Anthology of Struggles and Achievements of Black Nurses in America.”

Sankofa’s program has earned the North Carolina Community College System’s certification for health and wellness programming. The institute will fill in gaps between nursing schools, which are increasingly requiring a CNA for admission to their programs, and potential students.

Sankofa’s schedule will run two 19-day sessions over a six-week period for CNA certification concurrently, graduating up to 20 CNAs at each session’s conclusion. Hickman expects half of her students will graduate to immediate job placement and half will pursue additional nursing education. 

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