Dr. Irene Trowell-Harris

During National Business Women’s Week (NBWW), October 20-24, 2014, Business and Professional Women’s (BPW) Foundation honors and salutes the following five outstanding military/veteran business women and the employers who support them. NBWW awards are given in honor of these courageous and creative women and employers who are making a difference in their military/veteran communities. Today we honor:

Dr. Irene Trowell-Harris: As the first female African-American general in the 357-year history of the National Guard, and the first Air National Guard nurse to command a medical clinic, Dr. Irene Trowell-Harris has long been a supporter and advocate for women in the military and women veterans in all phases of their lives. During her military career Dr. Trowell-Harris held numerous positions, including chief nurse executive, flight nurse examiner, commander, and advisor for nursing and readiness. After a distinguished military career in the Air Force and National Guard, she continued serving her country as Director of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Center for Women Veterans from 2001-13.

As a long-time member of the American Nurse’s Foundation, she recently made a $100,000 gift to support the development of nurse leaders. The Irene Trowell-Harris Endowed Leadership Fund will support initiatives that give nurses a greater voice in influencing health care delivery and policy.

“Investing in nurse leadership as a legacy is important to me for inspiring and educating future generations of nurse leaders to excel in the civilian, military and Federal sectors,” said Trowell-Harris. Her own successes in nursing and the military have enabled her to be a national role model. We honor Dr. Trowell-Harris for her military service to her country; her decades of support for women veterans, and for helping nurses take a leadership role in healthcare policy. We also salute her for her long-standing membership in BPW and her current volunteer service as a member of BPW Foundation’s Women Joining Forces Advisory Council.