Scholarship recipients Jessica Nelson (second to left) and Johanni Cadet (far right) posing for a picture with two co-chairs of education of the Haitian-American Nurses Association (HANA) of Florida.

The Haitian-American Nurses Association (HANA) of Florida has presented 18 graduate school scholarships to 11 nursing students in the U.S. and seven in Haiti during their 37th annual gala on Saturday at the Biscayne Bay Marriott Hotel in Miami, Florida.

HANA also issued 13 awards and the organization’s new president, Rose Valcin, and the other six members of the board were sworn in.

There were about 70 attendees due to the COVID-19 pandemic guidelines and about 50 people watched the three-hour event via Zoom. 

Valcin was elected as president after being with the organization for seven years.

“It’s a great task, not to take lightly,” Valcin, 47, said. “It’s a great opportunity to give back to the community. I’m just fortunate that as a Haitian-American nurse practitioner HANA gave me the platform to help the Haitian community.”

Rose Valcin, the Haitian-American Nurses Association (HANA) of Florida’s president, speaking during the organization’s 37th gala. Photo credit: HANA

Before becoming president of HANA, Valcin was second vice-president and chair of activity. She also won the Rookie of the Year award in 2014 and the Nurse of the Year award in 2016. 

In the first three months of Valcin’s two-year term, she plans to focus on recruiting new members, enhance HANA’s social media presence, and motivate the nurses who have been discouraged due to the COVID-19 pandemic through mentorship and workshops.

Valcin has also set the goal to extend HANA internationally. As of now, HANA has four branches in Florida, two in New York, two in New Jersey and one in Georgia and Illinois and Maryland each. 

One of the 13 accolades HANA have issued at the gala was the Community Action award to the City of North Miami. Katiana Blaise won the Rookie of the Year award while Myrnelle Fleur-Aime was awarded the Nurse of the Year accolade.

Fleur-Aime has won other awards throughout her 13-year nursing career but she calls the HANA Nurse of the Year her “favorite.” 

“This particular one has a lot of meaning to it because it comes from an organization and association that I absolutely love,” Fleur-Aime, 40, said. “When you’re recognized by your peers, they see your hard work and contribution, it’s great.”

Fleur-Aime has been taking care of patients going through chemotherapy at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, some of whom had just recovered from COVID-19.

Former President Pauline Louis-Magiste received the Unsung Hero & Outstanding Leader award and Leonie Hermantin, Sant La’s director of development, was awarded the Community Action accolade. 

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Onz Chery is a Haiti correspondent for The Haitian Times. Chery started his journalism career as a City College of New York student with The Campus. He later wrote for First Touch, local soccer leagues in New York and Elite Sports New York before joining The Haitian Times in 2019.

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