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Commencement Speaker Dr. Shirley Evers-Manly discusses her pathway into healthcare, her humanistic approach to healing, and inspiration for the Class of 2022

Shirley Evers-Manly, Ph.D., RN, FAAN will serve as the keynote speaker for the SCU Class of 2022 Commencement Ceremony.

SCU’s Class of 2022 Commencement Ceremony will be held Friday, Dec. 16, 2022 at the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach, located at 21500 E Pacific Coast Hwy, Huntington Beach, California, 92648. Doors will open at 9 a.m. for guest seating and the ceremony will begin at 10 a.m.

Dr. Evers-Manly is the founder and President of All Healthcare, Imani’s in Oakland, California, as well as Interim Dean for the School of Nursing at Alcorn State University, in Natchez, Mississippi.

Prior, Dr. Evers-Manly served as the Senior Managing Director of Clinical Development at Paladin Healthcare Management, in El Segundo, California, where she served as Chief Nursing Officer and Vice President of Patient Services at six nationwide hospitals.

Dr. Evers-Manly earned a Ph.D. from the University of California, San Francisco, Bachelor of Science Nursing degree and a Master of Science Nursing degree from Samuel Merritt University in Oakland, California.

Dr. Evers-Manly has more than 35 years of experience developing and implementing clinical, academic, and community-based health promotion and prevention programs; as well as working with vulnerable populations and speaking about diversity locally and abroad. She served as the Principal Investigator for the Aim 2 Care Multiple Chronic Conditions training grant, Bridges to the Doctorate and Song Brown Student Success grants.

She has received numerous prestigious awards for her accomplishments and contributions to improve clinical practices, inpatient and community health outcomes, and academic success and was awarded Congressional Recognition for Outstanding Community Service by the California State Senate and United States Congress. In 2014, she was awarded the prestigious honor of induction into the Inaugural Leadership Hall of Fame, Sigma Theta Tau International, Honor Society of Nursing, Alpha Eta Chapter (UCSF).

Dr. Evers-Manly is an internationally recognized expert in oncology and health disparities throughout the life span. She has made significant contributions in advocating to eliminate health disparities and inequities throughout the world. She gives voice to those who feel they have no voice. Dr. Evers-Manly’s understanding of underserved populations brings a humanistic approach to strategic, safe, high quality and cost-effective healthcare.

For her significant contributions in the areas of service, scholarship, community and leadership, she was inducted as a fellow in the American Academy of Nursing, which was established to serve the general public and nursing profession by advancing health policy and practice through the generation, synthesis and dissemination of nursing knowledge. Dr. Evers-Manly is on faculty at the University of California, San Francisco, School of Nursing, is a former Regional Chair for Sigma Theta Tau International Nursing Honor society where 26 nursing honor society chapters reported to her. Currently she serves as member of the National Black Nurses Association and is the Chair of the Association’s Ad hoc Committee on the Global Health.

Following is a Q&A with Dr. Evers-Manly on what’s to come and advice for the Class of 2022 graduating health sciences students.

Q: What inspired your path into healthcare?

A: When I graduated from high school, I submitted applications to several universities for pre-med, nursing, even forestry and oceanography programs, just to name a few. As an inquisitive child, I had a brilliant mind, and at five I could take a TV apart and put it back together again. If a bird dropped from a tree and broke a leg, I would make crutches from popsicle sticks and help it back into the tree or nest. I had a love and desire to become an archaeologist, architect or interior designer. My mind was everywhere. Believe it or not, I was accepted to 20 schools. I did not know how special being accepted in those schools were until later in life.

My mother was a very strong and caring woman who worked at our high school. As a member of the Evers Civil Rights family, she always wanted the best for her children and all children that crossed her path. In addition to raising her six children, she raised 11 foster children and an exchange student from India. Growing up in a Civil Rights family, we were taught that we must live with purpose, and not stand on the sidelines. We were taught to lead and bring about change and that we had to stand for something in order not to fall for anything. 

Upon receiving all the admission letters, my mother shared with me that my grandmother and great grandmother were midwives and how they delivered several babies in the community, including my brother. Her stories about my grandparents sealed the deal for me. Thus, my passion for healthcare was cultivated through my family. Moreover, throughout my childhood and adolescent years, my younger sister had a heart condition that required frequent hospital visits, surgeries, and procedures. I became her care taker. Looking back, those experiences influenced my entire career in so many diverse ways. Learning ample amounts of wisdom from various honorable people and patients along the way, young and old, those who survived and those who transitioned. As a child, I was always trying to help everyone and everything to heal. I wanted to become an expert in helping people put the pieces of their lives back together.

 

Q: What are some ways that  healthcare professionals can find balance, flow and stay inspired during these ongoing endemic times?

A: Think of the greater good. Center on what makes you feel cultivated, nourished and what gives you meaning. Think of things that are part of easing feelings of stress and anxiety to strengthen your foundation. Additioal suggestions:

  • Write a song, play music and dance, and smile.
  • Do things that are good for your body, spirit and soul!
  • Be realistic about your concerns. Focus on what you can do. Accept what you can’t.
  • Start a gratitude journal and write about something you are thankful for, every day.

Since the pandemic, my family and I have held a weekly ZOOM. We share our feeling about this crisis. We comfort each other; give updates on academic and athletic accomplishments, celebrate birthdays, births, and anniversaries.

We can’t forget that  healthcare professionals need healing, too. The more we connect with each other, the more effective our responses will be.

 

Q: As a School of Nursing Dean, what is your vision for how we all, in the health sciences realm, can promote health equity and diversity in  healthcare?  

A: As a dean of nursing, I do not believe that negative things and exclusion of people should overcome the positive. I see every situation and every person in life as one with positivity. To that end, I celebrate diversity and inclusion. I further believe that having varied perspectives helps us to generate better healthcare delivery systems and an array of diverse ideas to help solve complex and diverse healthcare problems. My vision is that we all accept and find great value in the differences and similarities that we bring to the table.

 

Q: Are there any questions you ask yourself – – that you would encourage new health sciences graduates to ask themselves — as they transition to the healthcare field, in order to help frame their days?

A: When I wake up in the morning, I pray and meditate on the day that I left behind and visualize the grandeur and endless possibilities ahead of me. Some days I must take slow, methodical, guided, and careful planed out steps, while other days I must jump over hurdles (I was a junior Olympian in sprits and hurdles)! Sometimes it takes leaps and bounds to reach a goal, or all the goals I have established for the day.

I ask myself daily: 

  • What did I accomplish?
  • How many people did I help along the way?
  • Did I allow my light to shine?
  • What would I do differently?

 

I keep in the forefront, an acronym my nephew coined: F.I.N.O., pronounced as fee-no, standing for: failure is no option. Along with the the ‘L words’ that my mother instilled in us as children: love, listen, learn, lift, lean, lead, laugh, live.

I wasn’t just educated to be a nurse. Through my nursing journey and early childhood education from my mother, I was pushed to be a leader in caring for the marginalized. At the end of my career, I want to be able to say that I had the opportunity to provide a healing touch and gentle smile to patients all over the world.

As health sciences graduates, you’re graduating from a rigorous program that provided you with a clear understanding of human behavior, and a way to think critically about the ways of living from a holistic point of view. Your training will allow you to apply mind, body, soul and sprit concepts to help with disease, caring and healing at all transitions of life.

 

Q: At SCU, our vision is “Transforming and Redefining Health and  healthcare Education”. As our new graduates go into the world, transformed by their education, how can they take the next step and go beyond in transforming integrative, whole-person  healthcare?

A: Education is a force for transformation. Now that you’re graduating from school, do not rest on your successes. Develop your passion to go beyond, to be more, to know when and how to do the right thing. As thought leaders, we will become the voice for the voiceless, and become advocates and policy makers to help implement programs from the grounds of training teachers; to theoretical foundation of understanding emergency responses. We have come a long way as a human race and we owe it to knowledge, knowing and scientific processes.

To transform healthcare, we must learn from all experiential sources, including our diverse lifestyles and ways of knowing; values, mores, critical analysis, thinking and application of knowledge. Education is vital to improve our quality of life and build a deeper understanding of the world around us. The education that the you as students have earned over these last several years has helped you to build character. Having a sold character leads to good virtues. With a strong and virtuous character, you’ll be able to understand the ethical and moral values you must have to help empower individuals, families, communities, and populations.

Finally, you as graduates have the tools to conduct research on the best integrative health systems models of healthcare that touch the whole-person, and keeps the patient at the center of care – wherever they are, across the globe.

 

Q: What can we all do to help make 2023, and the future, brighter for all?

A: You all made the decision to join the healthcare arena out of a desire and love of the community that thrives around you. The compassion, drive, and dedication to your patients, community and profession should always shine bright like a diamond. To make 2023 brighter for all, I feel it is important to have a goal in life, and it is important to me to show my family the value of setting goals – and achieving them, as well. What better way to have a brighter world than to give back to those in need by serving in a profession within the healthcare industry!

Congratulations, SCU Class of 2022! 

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