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Nursing Instructor's Dissertation Unveils Strategies to Address Drowning and Swimming Disparities Among Black Population


Instructor Lorna Wilson successfully defended her dissertation on July 19, 2018, and has completed the requirements for her Ph.D. in nursing from Barry University.

Her dissertation was titled, The Decision Making Process of Afro-Caribbean Parents Towards Swimming Competency for the Family. Wilson's research was undertaken in response to a community need.

“Broward County’s aquatic environment provides many recreational activities for both residents and visitors seeking fun in the sun and water, but the county has one of the highest rates of drowning in Florida, claiming the lives of Black children disproportionally according to the Florida Department of Health Bureau Vital Statistics, from 2013- 2015,” said Wilson.

Her study produced evidence that has unveiled a significant strategy to reverse the history of mistreatment and racial discrimination of Blacks at beaches and pools, which contributed to limited access to water and swimming for this population. This may be accomplished through community swim centers that has programs inclusive of all its community members. 

“Nurses have a professional commitment to be active participants in identifying and working to eliminate health disparities,” said Wilson. “Understanding and addressing the drowning and swimming disparities in the black population is important to the theme that Black Lives Matter.”

Wilson received her nursing diploma in Jamaica; and Bachelor of Arts and Masters of Science in Nursing from Barry University. She has been an instructor at Bethune-Cookman University for three years.

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About Bethune Cookman University:

Founded in 1904 by Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune, Bethune-Cookman University (B-CU) today sustains her legacy of faith, scholarship, and service through its relationship with the United Methodist Church and its commitment to academic excellence and civic engagement.  B-CU offers 38 degrees on its main campus and online college. Located in Daytona Beach, B-CU is one of three private, historically black colleges in the state of Florida. The institution boasts a diverse and international faculty and student body of nearly 4,000.  For more information, visit

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