Ildura Murillo-Rohde devoted her life not only to providing care to members of the Hispanic community, but also to ensuring that others were equipped to do the same. A key component of her approach was to stress the importance of nurses being culturally aware in order to provide the best possible care.
Wednesday marks the start of National Hispanic Heritage Month, and to kick it off, Google will dedicate its doodle to the American nurse and educator from Panama. 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 consultant to the World Health Organization in Guatemala among her many achievements.
Running from September 15 to October 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 human .
Born on September 6, 1920, in Panama, Murillo-Rohde moved to the United States in 1945, where she began her nursing career in San Antonio, Texas, a city with a largely Hispanic population. After finding a few Hispanic nurses in the area, they were inspired to recruit and train more. As part of that effort, she earned a bachelor’s degree in the teaching and supervision of psychiatric nursing; Master’s degree in Teaching and Curriculum Development; and Master’s degree in Education and Administration.
She served 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.
He died in 2010 in Panama, a day before his 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 orchids, which Murillo-Rohde was known to wear to nursing conventions. Lora, whose own sister recently became a nurse, said she hopes people will be inspired to learn about Murillo-Rohde’s achievements and their impact in the Hispanic nursing community.
“I felt so honored and excited to take on such a special project,” she told Google. “I love highlighting minority women who have helped their community and made a big difference for women of similar background.”