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Juanita Kirkland Hunter

She is accomplished in the area of Healthcare.
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Juanita Kirkland Hunter is a graduate of Buffalo's Hutchinson Central High School. She wanted to attend college. "I grew up in a family of five girls," she said, "and it wasn't a time when we were encouraged to go to school. It did require a bit of determination."

She chose nursing because she could earn a degree more quickly. "I knew four years was beyond my means, and nursing was a suitable alternative," said Dr. Hunter. "Once I got into it, I found it to be quite a challenge."

After graduation from the former Edward J. Meyer Memorial School of Nursing, she worked as a staff nurse there and within two years was appointed head nurse of a medical unit and recognized early as a role model for other nurses and for her activities as a patient advocate.

In 1978, she joined the University of Buffalo faculty, coming from the Veteran's Administration Hospital where she was a public health nurse coordinator. Healthcare for the homeless was a focal point of interest to her and was the focus that she used to establish the nursing school's Center for the Homeless. This program provided services to the homeless population in the Buffalo areas. Dr. Hunter also wrote a book on the subject. She has advanced degrees in community health nursing and curriculum planning from UB.

Dr. Hunter was married to the late Archie Louis Hunter, a social worker who was active in the community. They had three children, all of whom have completed master's degrees: Jeffrey Alan, a Certified Public Accountant with the National Endowment for Democracy; Wayne Bernard, a staff analyst for Rochester Telephone; and Gail Deneen; who is a graduate from the law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Though Dr. Hunter got into nursing by chance, she has affirmed the choice repeatedly and has been honored extensively by her peers for contributions to the field. Dr. Hunter has been active in numerous local, state, and national professional organizations. She served, most recently, as the president of the New York State Nurses' Association. She also chaired the first New York State Nursing Association Committee on Human Rights and the America Nursing Association's Commission on Human Rights. She was awarded the Associations' Honorary Human Rights Award. In May 2017, she was recognized as the Community Leadership Awardee of the University at Buffalo Alumni Association.

She also is active in her church, First Shiloh Baptist Church and volunteers in numerous community organizations. She was on the governing boards for Medaille College, Meals on Wheels for Western New Yok and the Grace Manor Nursing Home. In 2016 she spearheaded the campaign to re-name public school #74 after local educators, the late Claude and Ouida Clapp. She said that the Clapps were her mentors.

When asked if she would recommend nursing to those making a choice today?

I think nursing has a lot of promise," she said. "More than ever we need qualified people who are highly creative people because I don't think we can envision what health care will be like in twenty-five years.