There is a common thread running through the tapestry of Sonja Fuqua’s life, and that is a passion for empowerment.
Early in her 34-year tenure as a nurse, Sonja worked 14 years in labor and delivery, assisting families in bringing forth new life and empowering novice nurses to provide exemplary care.
She later took pleasure in the unique opportunity to become involved with the Jackson Heart Study (JHS), “a longitudinal epidemiological research program addressing high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease risk in the African American community.” Responsible for hiring and managing the team of recruiters that amassed a cohort of more than 5,300 participants, she was inspired to pursue her doctorate in African American Studies. “The JHS has strong community involvement and was again an opportunity to follow my passion of empowerment,” she says.
Currently the director of clinical quality at the Mississippi Primary Health Care Association, Sonja empowers clinicians and community health centers through training and technical assistance to practice in a manner that will achieve better clinical outcome measures.
Sonja has been active in STTI since her becoming a charter member of Theta Beta Chapter at the University of Mississippi School of Nursing in 1982. She has held many chapter positions including president, treasurer, and newsletter editor. She has served as a chapter delegate at STTI’s biennial convention five times, and led the charge to complete the application for Theta Beta Chapter’s first Chapter Key Award, as well as winning submissions for Showcase of Excellence Awards. She is currently serving a second term as Regional Coordinator for Region 8 (Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennessee).
Sonja says that her favorite role in STTI so far has been as Regional Coordinator, a role in which she empowers 33 chapters across the region to support their commitment to STTI, promote chapter health and encourage chapter leaders to move from local to regional/international service.
Sonja says, “I find that ‘active’ participation in STTI and other professional organizations supports my efforts to strive for excellence and provide exemplary care whether in clinical practice, education, leadership, or research…My passion is evident in what I do.”