Ildaura Murillo-Rohde dedicated her life to not only providing care to members of the Hispanic community but also making sure others were equipped to do so as well. A key component of her approach was stressing the importance of nurses being culturally aware to provide the best possible care.
Wednesday marks the beginning of National Hispanic Heritage Month, and to kick it off, Google will dedicate its Doodle to the Panamanian American nurse and educator. Murillo-Rohde specialized in psychiatric nursing, but she was also an academic and organizational administrator. She founded the National Association of Hispanic Nurses in 1975 and served as a World Health Organization consultant to Guatemala, among her many achievements.
Running from Sept. 15 through Oct. 15 each year, National Hispanic Heritage Month recognizes and celebrates the cultures and contributions of Hispanic Americans. In previous years, Google has also honored Puerto Rican civil rights pioneer, Mexican American botanist and baseball great and humanitarian .
Born in Panama on Sept. 6, 1920, Murillo-Rohde emigrated to the US in 1945, where she began her nursing career in the largely Hispanic populated city of San Antonio, Texas. After finding there were few Hispanic nurses in the area, she was inspired to recruit and train more. As part of that effort, she earned an undergraduate degree in the teaching and supervision of psychiatric nursing; a master's degree in teaching and curriculum development; and a master's degree in education and administration.
She went on to serve academic appointments at several universities, including being the first Hispanic nursing dean at New York University. In 1994, the American Academy of Nursing named Murillo-Rohde a Living Legend.
She died in Panama in 2010, a day short of her 90th birthday.
Los Angeles-based guest artist Loris Lora, who created Wednesday's Doodle, says the artwork features colors inspired by Latin American textiles, as well as the orchid, which Murillo-Rohde was known to wear at nursing conferences. Lora, whose own sister recently became a nurse, said she hopes people will be inspired to learn about Murillo-Rohde's achievements and her influence in the Hispanic nursing community.
"I felt very honored and excited to take on such a special project," she told Google. "I love highlighting minority women who have helped their community and have made a big change for women of similar backgrounds."