Philippines :A Nurse Nation

A Salute to the Philippines as a Nurse Nation providing nurses for the International Community


Clarita Miraflor

Unifying Filipino Nurses in the United States


Clarita Miraflor was elected as the First President of the Federation of Philippine Nurses Associations in the United States (FPNAUS), later renamed as the Philippine Nurses Association of America (PNAA), after presenting a topic on The Unification of Philippine Nurses in the United States at the PNA-New Jersey (PNA-NJ) convention held in East Brunswick, NJ, on April 21, 1979.


Her dauntless leadership skills were attributed to her previous roles in professional organizations in Illinois and California. She was a President of PNA-Chicago (PNAC) now known as PNA-Illinois (PNAI) for five years, a Board Member and Vice-President of the Illinois Nurses Association (INA), and President of the State Nurses Active in Politics in Illinois (SNAPI), the political arm of INA. Later on, she became a member of the California Nurses Association and held positions as Chair of the Human Rights Committee and Commissioner in Nursing Practice. She also became a member of the Advisory Council of PNA-Southern California.


She continues to serve the profession by teaching as an Adjunct Professor at West Coast University and by providing consulting and travel seminars for MIRAFLOR and ASSOCIATES.







      Phoebe C. Andes is the 2nd President of Philippine Nurses Association of America (PNAA), initiated its founding on April 21, 1979 in Ramada Inn, East Brunswick, NJ, during the PNA-NJ.convention, its incorporation on October 2, 1981, and its change to PNAA, in Trenton, NJ. She is the Founding President of PNAA Foundation in 2001.


     Phoebe calls herself a “dreamer”, a “go-fer”, go for this…do this…and that” for a good cause. Friends and colleagues calls her visionary, doer not a talker, slave driver, assertive, aggressive, hard worker, classy, quiet, funny, and “loves”  meetings. She has been a president of distinguished organizations.  She admits “a little bit of the above”. Investment of 30 years to the PNAA is worth the money, time and effort.  “I met the most beautiful, awesome, intelligent people who share my passion for advancing the nursing profession and improving the image and quality of life of the nurse.”


     She describes her tenure as challenging, exciting, colorful and productive. Her officers were inducted in the Philippine Embassy, Washington, DC, by Officer de affair Lonides Caday, that included dialogue on problems encountered by Filipino Nurse in the United States. Officers were: Marie Couper, Ist VP, Virginia D. Stivers, 2nd VP, Dula Pacquiao, Recording Secretary, Lily Sabinay, Corresponding Secretary, Maria Publico, Treasurer, Maria Lapid, Assistant Treasurer. Board of Directors: Rosario de Gracia, Esther Cash, Delia Goggins, Seny Lipat, Trini Lum, Dr. Clarita Miraflor, Emma Nemivant, and Edna Rodis. Adviser: Dr. Purita F. Asperilla, Legal Adviser: Wilfredo Panotes, Jr. Esq. Agenda at Board Meetings revolved around recurring problems: low board exam rate, discrimination practices, CGFNS, by-laws revision, and membership drive.


    Her utmost contribution is the creation and publication of newsletter, “The Philippine-American Nurse” with editorial staff, Trini Lum, Dula Pacquiao and Oddie Tablit. Other achievements include: Criteria for Awards, Human Rights Committee; inclusion to the ANA 1984 Biennial Convention program in New Orleans: “The Asian Nurse in the Health Care Delivery System: Issues and Trends in the 80’s” and operational administrative activities to conform to the standards of professional organization.


    Phoebe is a recipient of many awards, including the Philippine Presidential “BANAAG Award”, Don and Diva by the NJ State Nurses Association, UP Distinguished Professional Award in USA, and also a member of the Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society.  She is a doting grandma, Kate12, Aviel 9 from son Edwin and Sheila, Aris 5, Sean 15 mos. from daughter Pam and Daren Phillips. Hobby: traveling. She received BSN from University of the Philippines, College of Nursing and Master of Arts (MA) from Columbia University, NYC.








Filipinas Juan Lowery was installed as the 5th President of the Philippine Nurses Association of America (PNAA) by American Nurses Association (ANA) President Margretta Styles on June 11, 1988 in Louisville, Kentucky. The chapter membership gained one during her term resulting in seventeen chapters at the end of her term.


The overriding issue during this time was the dilemma of Filipino nurses whose H-1 visas had reached the 5-6 year limit and were faced with the threat of deportation. PNAA had to articulate the vital role of Filipino nurses in alleviating the acute nursing shortage and the impact of their departure on the health care delivery system. The Nursing Relief Act of 1989 was enacted on December 18, 1989 after several months of relentless and concerted lobbying efforts by PNAA and constituent chapters under the leadership of Filipinas Lowery, in collaboration with other nursing and hospital organizations. This law provided for the adjustment of permanent resident status H-1 to Registered Nurses (RNs) who entered the United States prior to September 1, 1989 regardless of numerical limitations as long as they were still working as H-1 RNs three years prior to the submission of an application and were still employed as registered nurses on the date of the enactment.


 On June 23-25, 1989, the PNAA celebrated its 10th anniversary at the Annual Convention held at the Radisson Hotel in Virginia Beach, Virginia. To commemorate the occasion, awards were presented to all past presidents and charter members of the PNAA. The theme of the convention was Professionalism: Strategies for Success.


Filipinas Lowery dedicated her talents and energy in chairing the PNAA Task Force for the designation of the Philippines as an international NCLEX (National Council Licensing Examination) Testing Center.  This was achieved on February 8, 2007 when the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) made this decision following their two hour meeting in Chicago with the Philippine Presidential Task Force on NCLEX and leaders of the PNAA. This initiative started in December 2002 and spanned over almost five years with three PNAA presidents. Members of the Task Force include: Brenda Cohen (CA), Lolita Compas (NY), Leo Felix Jurado (NJ), Seny Lipat (NJ), Rosario May Mayor (NY), Reynaldo Rivera (NY), Ernesto Rosas (KC), Linda Simunek (FL), Remedios Solarte (MI), and Mila Velasquez (CA). 








        Remedios Solarte was a member of the Michigan Board of Nursing when she took the Oath of Office as the 6th President of the Philippine Nurses Association of America (PNAA) on June 15, 1990. In her acceptance speech, she created the famous PNAA slogan of 3 Vs: Visibility, Viability and Vitality. Her term of office is credited for the following achievements with the spirit of teamwork pervading among the members of the Executive Board and Committee Chairpersons.


In line with visibility, PNAA was invited to the dedication ceremony of the new headquarters of the American Nurses Association (ANA) in Washington, D.C. PNAA was a member of the Distinguished President’s Club  having donated $10,000 to the ANA Nursing on the Move. PNAA was also visible in the Philippines. With the help of PNA Michigan, PNAA sponsored Nelda Escueta, RN, who came to the United States from the Philippines to become the first US-trained Filipino Enterostomal Therapist. She was trained at Cleveland Clinic Foundation Rupert Turnbull, Jr. School of Enterostomal Therapy.  She is currently a Head Nurse at the GI Unit of the Philippine General Hospital and continues to train nurses on ostomy care all over the country. In addition, PNAA donated $3,950.00 to Mount Pinatubo victims through PNA-Manila ear-marked for building Artesian wells and toilets. 


In terms of viability, chapter membership increased from 17 to 23 chapters with the publication of the maiden issue of the PNAA Directory participated by five chapters: Chicago (now Illinois), Michigan, New Jersey, San Diego, and Tide Water (now Virginia Beach). Many remember that the revision of the Bylaws was a long, painful process but resulted in the elimination of “Block Voting” which is one of the greatest contributions of this term. How PNAA survived when Chapter Membership dues at that time was only $1.00 per member remains the biggest question and it actually showed some viability there.            


For vitality, PNAA gave the first Excellence Awards: Clinical Nursing, Beatriz Miranda; Administration, Dulcenia Stahl; Research, Divina Grossman; Education, Emma Nemivant; Entrepreneurship, Violeta Manzanares; and Community Service, Dionisia Battung. It is worth mentioning that four first-time attendees to the 1991 PNAA National Convention held in Detroit, Michigan got hooked up and eventually became PNAA Presidents. They are Ampy dela Paz, Pete Calixto, Mila Velasquez and Rosario May Mayor. The first Biennial Report was published in 1992 at the end of this term.










Betty Miranda was the PNAA President when former US President William “Bill” Clinton lobbied extensively on the passing of a universal health care delivery system for all Americans at the beginning of his first term. Though it failed to pass at the US Congress, it was an exciting time for nursing leaders to gather support from all over country, especially from health care professionals who saw the tremendous need for a national health care program.


Under her leadership, PNAA stood visible and credible with other national organizations in supporting the Nursing Agenda for Healthcare Reform proposals. She was responsible for charting the course of Asian-Pacific Islanders’ healthy communities and eventually spearheaded the New Jersey Health Study, a research work done by New Jersey (NJ) Filipino-American community and NJ Department of Heath. As the PNAA’s representative to the planning of First Asian and Pacific Islander Americans (APIA) National Health Summit, the team convened to create the summit mission, a call on governments’ attention to the ethnic group’s health disparities and be addressed accordingly.


Ms. Miranda is the PNAA’s 7th President inducted at Las Vegas Hilton in Nevada on June 22,1992. She saw the continued growth of PNAA under her term when PNA-Nevada, PNA-El Paso (Texas) and PNA-Missouri were created or organized. Educational conferences were given to memberships in California,Eastern Tri-state, Florida and Texas. Coalitions and effective networking inside and outside of the country were made that subsequently produced great outcomes.


PNAA and University of Santo Tomas (UST) Alumni Northern California with Manila’s UST Alumni and Deans of Colleges staged a magnificent Nursing International Symposium in December 1993. But the joys the delegates from the US  experienced in their short stay at the Motherland were mixed with extreme pain upon witnessing lots of  poverty, homelessness and political strife.   


At the 15th Annual PNAA National Convention that was held in San Antonio, Texas on June 7-9, 2009, Ms.Miranda was hopeful that nursing leaders would continue on using this profession as a unifying force in keeping the shared vision of much-needed health care reforms alive in the future. Like its theme said: The Winds of Change: Visions of Health Care and Nursing in the 21st Century, she believed that the job is not finished and it will resurface again sooner or later. Betty holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree from the University of Santo Tomas in Manila, Philippines and a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree from Seton Hall University, South Orange, NJ.