Could you please share with us what drew you to your role as Senior Adviser for Nursing at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation? I was drawn to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s organizational advocacy for marginalized and under-resourced populations. I became a nurse because I wanted to serve others, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has enabled me to develop and support programs that work toward giving everyone a fair and just opportunity for health and well-being. It’s been amazing to be part of an organization dedicated to creating long-term, systemic change. What are some of the programs at RWJF that you are most proud of? I am extremely proud of our nursing leadership programs, including the Future of Nursing Scholars, New Careers in Nursing, the Executive Nurse Fellows, and the Nurse Faculty Scholars. These programs engaged nurses in life-changing leadership development, with a vision of building health through nursing. They inspired and equipped nurses to lead courageously in their communities, states, nation, and world. The Future of Nursing Scholars program is still active, and RWJF has launched new leadership programs designed to develop strong, interdisciplinary networks of leaders from every sector who have a shared vision of what shapes health—and a desire to work together. Nurses interested in applying to current Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) leadership programs can apply to our Clinical Scholars, Culture of Health Leaders, Health Policy Research Scholars, and Interdisciplinary Research Leaders programs. I am also proud of The Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action, a nationwide initiative led by RWJF, AARP, and the AARP Foundation to improve health through nursing by advancing the landmark Institute of Medicine recommendations on the future of nursing. The Campaign has strengthened nursing education, promoted leadership, advanced practice, and improved workforce diversity. The Campaign is now focused on building stronger communities by leveraging the nursing workforce to address unmet social needs. With the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, how do you see the future of health care and nursing evolving in response to the lessons learned? While it’s still far too early to articulate all the lessons we are learning from this pandemic, it’s clear that marginalized populations are faring far worse. This crisis has made an already unfair system even worse, and it’s completely unacceptable. The pandemic has brought our collective failures to create health equity into stark relief. For instance, the poor, unhoused, and immigrant populations are at higher risk. Preliminary data show that black people are being infected and killed at significantly higher rates than whites. According to a ProPublica report, black Chicagoans make up half of all COVID-19 cases in the city and more than 70 percent of deaths, even though they comprise only about 30 percent of the city’s population. In Milwaukee County (Wisconsin), blacks made up almost half of all cases and 81 percent of deaths, even though the black population is only 26 percent. In Louisiana, the black population is about 32 percent but makes up 70 percent of deaths. It’s critical that we make real and lasting improvements through community action and public policy, including paid sick leave, affordable health insurance, access to care, and strengthening critical safety net programs like Medicaid and SNAP. These forms of aid should be prioritized and bolstered, not stigmatized and cut. Otherwise, the world’s wealthiest nation will have failed its people. The second lesson learned is that our nation needs to be better prepared to support our health care workforce. Frontline health workers are logging long hours, spending days – and in some cases, weeks – away from their families at great risk to their own health. We need to make sure that nurses, physicians, and other frontline workers have adequate masks and personal protective equipment, as well as an adequate supply of tests, ventilators, and hospital beds for patients. We must do everything that we can to help our workforce feel as safe as possible at work and to avoid the risk of infecting their loves ones. The pandemic has also highlighted the importance of telehealth in expanding access to care, as well as supporting policies that enable nurses to practice to the full extent of their education and training. Executive orders or other state-level policies in Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, and Texas have temporarily expanded access to care by enabling nurses to practice to the full extent of their education and training. These policies need to become permanent in order to expand access to care. What are some important takeaways NPs should understand about coronavirus and blood donations? The need for blood donations doesn’t stop during a pandemic. Donated blood and platelets are essential to care for patients relying on lifesaving blood transfusions for surgeries, cancer treatments, car accidents, and other emergencies. Volunteer blood donors have made it possible for the American Red Cross to meet immediate needs of patients relying on lifesaving blood products. Volunteers are still needed to donate blood and platelets to ensure a stable supply during the pandemic. What do we know about COVID-19 and the presence of antibodies in the bloodstream? How might this impact future testing and immunity development? According to the American Red Cross, people who have fully recovered from COVID-19 have antibodies in their plasma that can attack the virus. Scientists are evaluating this convalescent plasma for patients seriously ill with COVID-19. Convalescent plasma has been used as potentially lifesaving treatment in the past when new diseases or infections develop quickly, and no treatments or vaccines were available yet. The Food and Drug Administration has asked the Red Cross to help identify prospective donors and manage the distribution of these products to hospitals treating patients in need. However, we do not currently know if convalescent plasma will be an effective treatment against COVID-19. It is one of multiple options that the scientific community is considering. Another possibility is that a test could be developed that looks for antibodies in the bloodstream of a COVID-19 survivor. This test could show that the person is immune to the virus and could avoid social distancing restrictions and return to work. However, the science is uncertain, since it is not clear how long COVID-19 immunity lasts without a vaccine. The bottom line is that there is still a lot we don’t know about COVID-19 and the presence of antibodies in the bloodstream. What does it take to be a nurse leader at this time? It takes teamwork, perseverance, decisiveness, speaking up, compassion, and above all, servant leadership – the desire to serve the needs of others. I’ve been hearing stories about how the frontline workforce is coming together and working in teams to save as many lives as possible. I’ve been amazed by the dedication and perseverance nurses and other health care workers who are showing during this unprecedented health crisis, and how they are putting their own lives at risk to save others. Retired nurses are returning to the workforce to fight COVID-19. Nurse leaders are being decisive in testing, triaging, and treating people. The best nurse leaders are communicating well with their staff to understand their needs and advocate for them as needed. Nurses have continually spoken up about the dire shortages and the need for masks and personal protective equipment to save lives – both their patients and their own. Their organizations should support their calls to improve safety, rather than terminating them for speaking up. And finally, I’ve been touched by the examples of the compassion nurses have shown in the midst of this crisis, from communicating with family members about their loved ones to bringing iPads into patients’ rooms to enable them to communicate directly with their loved ones. Nelson Mandela once said, “What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.” Nurses are making a tremendous difference.