Elizabeth R. Thomas, BSN, MN, ARNP of Seattle first attended Alabama State College, then received her preparation as a Licensed Practical Nurse at Good Samaritan School of Nursing. She continued her education at Shoreline Community College where she received her Associate of Arts Degree. She received her Baccalaureate Degree in Nursing Science from Seattle University and was the first African American to complete the Pediatric Nurse Practitioner program at the University of Washington School of Nursing and the first one to work as an ARNP in Seattle.
Elizabeth has been an active, involved member of WSNA for over 28 years. She’s served on both the WSNA and KCNA Board of Directors and was a founding member of the WSNA Nursing Foundation.
Elizabeth was a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner for over twenty-five years before retiring from Odessa Brown Clinic to become self-employed as a health consultant. While at Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic, she was not only the famous clinician for teen mothers but also an avid community advocate for all youth and their families. Elizabeth collaborated with the King County Health Department to set up “The Baby Buckle Program and was instrumental in obtaining funding to sustain the program for years. She participated on the steering committee to develop and assist with implementation of the Washington State immunization law. This law is still in place and continues to impact the immunization status and health of all children.
Elizabeth started the ongoing community parenting program, which provided positive parenting skills and is used by parents involved with the courts for Child Abuse and Neglect, and the teen outreach program at Washington and Meany Middle Schools in partnership with the Junior League and the National Council of Negro Women. This program was able to demonstrate that 30% of the young women involved in the program continued onto higher education. She’s been a preceptor for nursing students from all the major nursing schools in the Seattle area, as well as for physicians.
Elizabeth is known to families, patients, and friends as an unsung hero who is totally committed to the well-being of all children. After receiving the Human Rights Award from the Seattle Chapter of the UN Association, Elizabeth was sent to Rome to meet with Pope John Paul, where she continued to advocate for teens by openly debating the need for birth control to prevent teen pregnancy.
Elizabeth’s many outstanding contributions to nursing will be long remembered by her peers, clients, communities, schools of nursing, and nursing organizations. She is a true nursing role model.