Who We Are

The Colorado Council of Black Nurses, Inc. (CCBN) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit, philanthropic organization that has been a staple in the Colorado health community for 50 years as of 2023! Comprised of a multi-generational network of leaders, pioneers, visionaries and students in the profession of nursing and nurse pathway careers, CCBN addresses health equity from a cultural perspective with a focus on improving the health status of ALL people.


Culturally competent and equitable health care locally, nationally, globally, and interstellarly!


The mission of the Colorado Council Black Nurses, Inc. is to improve the health status of all people through empowering under-served communities to be equal contributors in the determination of healthcare standards by increasing the number of Black/African American professional nurses throughout the health care continuum, and by increasing college matriculation and successful graduation rates among Black and other underrepresented students in postsecondary education, thereby empowering under-served communities to not only be participants but active contributors to an equitable health care system in local, national, global, and space settlement arenas.


The Colorado Council of Black Nurses, Inc. (CCBN) was founded in May 1973, by a small group of Black nurses who were concerned with the low quality of healthcare provided to ethnic populations within the United States of America and particularly in Colorado. The ingenuity of both our founding and charter members in fulfilling their mission to facilitate better patient care in the Black as well as other ethnic communities through social action, advocacy, and collaborative practices was ahead of its time.

With a focus on health education and patient care needs, our founders accomplished CCBN's objectives by developing action-oriented strategies that included collaboration with community organizations that shared in CCBN's vision to improve better access and care for all regardless of race or socioeconomic status, and to recruit more ethnically diverse nurses into the healthcare industry. Mentoring and providing scholarships to potential nurses enhanced CCBN's mission of promoting culturally competent care.

Since its inception, CCBN has been an integral part of many community health promotion activities and educational programs including but not limited to providing free health screenings and/or workshops on diabetes, cardiac diseases and disorders, sex and HIV/AIDS awareness, as well as on healthcare disparities that affect underrepresented ethnic populations. CCBN was influential in bringing much needed services to underrepresented communities including but not limited to providing free mobile mammograms and prostate screenings, in addition to the formation of community-based organizations such as the Center for African American Health. In 1984, after a little over a decade of dedicated volunteer health promotion services to underserved and underrepresented communities, the Colorado Council Black Nurses Inc. was granted 501(c)3 nonprofit status.

A voice in the global health care arena, CCBN's influence reaches far past the continental United States of America. Our commitment to improvement for ALL people drives our global outreach. CCBN's scholarships are specifically inclusive of African students studying within the United States and CCBN's Scholarship Program is expanding to address the needs of African students. In addition, individual CCBN members have been instrumental in bringing education services to the continent of Africa through parish nursing initiatives in Zimbabwe, starting nursing schools in several African countries including Cameroon, and supporting health clinics in countries including Sierra Leone.

In 2020, CCBN realized our reach around the globe was not far enough and we reached up to the stars. CCBN's Aerospace Nursing department, which recognizes our flight nurses and military nurses, celebrated a successful lift-off and steady trajectory that's been out of this world. In 2021, CCBN launched the CCBN Space Expo so that our youth could see themselves as an integral part of space discovery, using our talent, expertise, and a great community of resources in the health, education, arts and aerospace industries to remove barriers that prevent youth from realizing and sharing their space talents and ingenuity. CCBN remains steadfast in opening doors that elevate the profession of Nursing, including our initiative to get nurses in space, an initiative that has been wholeheartedly embraced by many space and non-space sectors alike. In 2022, CCBN's Nurse Aviator Program made moves to get the first nurse outside Earth's orbit as pilots. Later that year, CCBN Inc Aerospace was formalized to incorporate Space Nursing, Drone Nursing, and all interstellar aspects of the Nursing profession. For CCBN, the sky is NOT the limit, it's a destination!

Although the Colorado Council Black Nurses Inc.'s concern has expanded up to the stars, our primary focus remains on addressing the health disparity in Colorado communities. Our programs such as the CCBN Health Equity Accord and CCBN New Grad Symposium, as well as collaborations with such health organizations as the Association of Black Social Workers (ABSW), Center for African American Health (CAAH), Colorado Black Health Collaborative (CBHC), Denver-Rocky Mountain Association of Black Psychologists (D-RMABPsi), Inner City Health, and Wellpower (formerly Mental Health Center of Denver), to name a few, in addition to our relationships with Nursing organizations such as Colorado Center for Nursing Excellence (CCNE), Colorado Nurses Association (CNA), National Association of Hispanic Nurses (NAHN), Philippine Nurses Association of Colorado (PNACO), and The Nursing Collaborative allows us to share our knowledge, resources, and advancements across cultural divides and throughout the state of Colorado. Functional relationships with Nursing education institutions such as the Arapahoe Community College (ACC), Community College of Aurora (CCA), Community College of Denver (CCD), Metropolitan State University of Denver (MSU), and the University of Colorado Anschutz College of Nursing (CUCON) allows CCBN to make great strides toward fulfilling its mission regarding the matriculation and graduation of underrepresented Nursing students. Championing health equity and cultural competency at home in Colorado is what provides the fuel that exacts change in national, global, and interstellar health.


It is paramount that the officers and department leaders of the Colorado Council Black Nurses Inc. reflect the continuum of the nursing profession, from essential pre-nursing pathways to the upper echelons of the nursing profession. All sectors of nursing are valued and the gravity brought from their particular area of nursing brings balance and relevancy to our organization. Our display of their education journeys are purposeful and intentional, first listing additional certifications or credentials, then degrees, and then Nursing or nurse pathway levels achieved, and finally the most current Nursing level last. It is our hope that it serves as an inspiration for those pursuing the nursing profession to be steadfast in reaching their nursing goals.

Board of Directors:

President: Velvia Garner MSN, BSN, RN

Vice President: Laura Howard BSN, RN

Treasurer: Robin Bruce FN, BSN, RN

Recording Secretary: Beverly Wasserman MSN, BSN, DN, RN

Financial Secretary: Jennifer Allen-Thomas RN

Historian: Arabela Celestine NA, QMAP, EMT

Chaplain: Emma Jackson FCN, SNP, MA, MS, BSN, RN

Immediate Past President: Robin Bruce FN, BSN, RN

CCBN Advisory Board

Comprised of community leaders, healthcare professionals, and other citizens who are committed to addressing healthcare disparities within the community, CCBN's Advisory Board members donate their time, talent and expertise to provide guidance in the fulfillment of CCBN's mission and completion of goals. They are as follows (in alphabetical order):

Robert Bruce M365, MCP, A+, HDI - SCA

Laura Excell, PhD, ND, APRN, MS, MA, LPC, NCC, RN, Chairman

Shane Hoon, MBA

Walter Huff II

Zach Lynkiewicz, BA

Rahem Mulatu, MS

Lisa Neal-Graves, Esq.

Jacquelyn Stanton, PhD, ABD, LCSW, MSW

Jennifer Vander Meer, MSN, BSN, RN

Divisions and Departments:

Department and Program Chairmen (in alphabetical order by department)

Aerospace Nursing Department Chair: Robin Bruce FN, BSN, RN

CCBN Inc Aerospace Chair: Robin Bruce FN, BSN, RN

Community Outreach Department Chair: Elerie Archer MBA, BSN, RN

Information Technology Department Chair: Robert Bruce M365, MCP, A+, HDI - SCA

International Relations Department Chair: Angie Fellers LeMire MS, BSN, RN

Publicity and Social Media Department Chair: Mary Etta Curtis BSN, RN

Social Action & Legislation Department Chair: Laura Howard BSN, RN

Scholarship Program Chair: Kelci Boyard BSN, BS, RN

Profession Advancement Division

    Membership Program - Point of Information: Falilat Oduwaiye BSN, RN

    Professional Development - Point of Information: Lynn Hoskins BSN, RN

    Aerospace Nursing - Point of Information: Jacqueline Withers MS, BSN, NA

    CCBN Inc Aerospace - Point of Information: Chairman Robin Bruce FN, BSN, RN

    Office of the Chaplain - Point of Information: Jael Mallory BSN, RN

Academic Advancement Division

    Curriculum Management - Point of Information: Omarah Macias BSN, RN

    Scholarship Program - Point of Information: Chairman Kelci Boyard BSN, BS, RN

    Academic Investment- Point of Information: Robin Bruce FN, BSN, RN

Community Advancement Division

    Community Outreach - Point of Information: Chairman Elerie Archer MBA, BSN, RN

    International Relations - Point of Information: Janitta Lumu MSN, BSN, RN

    Social Action and Legislation - Point of Information: Chairman Laura Howard BSN, RN

    Publicity and Social Media - Point of Information: Janaye Culton MLT, AS, CNA, MA, QMAP, SN

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