Philander Smith College Celebrates Historic Milestone: Inaugural Cohort of CNA Program Pinned
Thursday Jun. 15 2023

Philander Smith College Celebrates Historic Milestone: Inaugural Cohort of CNA Program Pinned

Philander Smith College is honored to announce a significant moment in its history as it proudly pinned the first cohort of its Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) Program on Thursday, June 15, 2023. The inaugural cohort, consisting of Leilana Holmes, Susie Bryant, Ashley Thomas, and Ayanna Allen, has achieved an exceptional milestone in their healthcare education journey.

After eight years of unwavering dedication and relentless pursuit, this momentous occasion marks the realization of a long-held dream. In 2015, Philander Smith College proudly established the esteemed Dr. Joycelyn Elders School of Allied and Public Health, setting forth on a mission to address health disparities in underserved communities across Arkansas.

The college takes immense pride in having alumna Dr. Joycelyn Elders, ‘52, a prominent advocate for health justice, the first African American and second woman US Surgeon General, join the celebration. Her presence underscored the significance of this achievement in the ongoing fight for equal healthcare access and improved outcomes for all.

At the ceremony, Dr. Shannon Clowney-Johnson, Academic Affairs and Chief Academic Officer at Philander Smith College, delivered a heartfelt message to the completers. She expressed her deep pride, acknowledging the challenges they have faced, particularly during the ongoing pandemic. Dr. Clowney-Johnson stated, “You have witnessed firsthand the impact it had on healthcare professionals, yet you chose to stand tall and join the cause. Nurses are the heart of healthcare, and caring takes courage. Thank you for accepting the challenge, being courageous, and embracing a field that desperately needs you.”

Philander Smith College holds a Certificate of Approval from the Arkansas Department of Human Services Office of Long-Term Care to provide Nursing Assistant Training. Additionally, the college is licensed by the Arkansas Department of Higher Education to operate a CNA school. Through its rigorous training and comprehensive certification preparation, the college equips CNA candidates with the necessary skills and knowledge to excel in their roles. Graduates of the program are fully prepared to take the state examination for certification as a nurse assistant.

To learn more about the CNA Program and the exceptional healthcare education offered at Philander Smith College, please visit the college’s official website at