In Memoriam: Minta Laverne Smith Uzodinma

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Memorial RemembranceMinta Laverne Smith Uzodinma, CNM, MN, FACNM 

March 29, 1935 – April 28, 2021

Minta Laverne Smith Uzodinma, CNM, MN, FACNM was an American nursing administrator, and nurse midwife, she received numerous honors including merit scholarships to the University of Iowa (1953–1956), Senior Nursing Student Award (1956), Nominee for ANA Mary Mahoney Award (1980), listing in Personalities of America (1985), listing in Two Thousand Notable American Women (1989), in Who’s Who in American Nursing (1990–1996), the Alton B. Cobb Lifetime Achievement Award (Mississippi Public Health Association, 1996), Thelma Worksman Award (League of Women Voters Mississippi, 1998), Nursing Alumni of the Decade Award (University of Mississippi, 1998), University of Iowa Scholar (1953-1956), and the Maternal-Child Health Community Nurse of Year (Mississippi March of Dimes, 1995, 1998).

Ms. Uzodinma’s professional career spanned 38 years in nursing and 25 years in nurse-midwifery. She was a member of the first class of the University of Mississippi Nurse-Midwifery Education Program and graduated in 1970. Appointed by the Governor, Ms. Uzodinma served on the Mississippi Board of Nursing from 1979 to 1984 and during her tenure helped to develop rules and regulations for expanded role nurses, including CNMs. She was treasurer 1980–1982 and president 1983–1984. 

She was the Director of the Nurse Midwifery Education Program at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, where she served on the admissions committee for the Education Program and from 1976 to 1985 was chairperson. After receiving a master’s degree in nursing in 1975, she became a faculty member of the University of Mississippi Nurse-Midwifery Education Program and assistant professor in the School of Nursing. Ms. Uzodinma served as Director of the Nurse-Midwifery Education Program from 1982 to 1985. The University of Mississippi Medical Center offers the The Minta Uzodinma Community Nurse Award to the graduate student dedicated to community nursing.

In the late 1990s, Ms. Uzodinma was employed by the Mississippi State Department of Health as assistant director of public health nursing and worked in a county health department maternity clinic. She also had a faculty appointment as clinical instructor with the University of Mississippi School of Nursing. 

Ms. Uzodinma’s ACNM activities have included serving as chairperson of the Nominating Committee 1978–1979, member of a grievance committee in 1976, member of the Task Force on Refresher Programs 1984–1989, member of the Board of Review 1987–1990, assistant editor, Region 3, Journal of Nurse-Midwifery 1986–1993, and proctor for the Division of Examiners 1975–1985. Her ACNM Chapter activities within Mississippi include serving as chairperson 1991–1994, secretary 1984–1986, treasurer 1978–1980, program chair 1976–1978, and secretary-treasurer 1975–1976. 

She was the wife of the late Dr. John Uzodinma and mother of Chikwe, Chika, Amechi and Eze (Cynthia McQuitter) Uzodinma. She has several grandchildren including violinist, Dr. John Eze Uzodinma. She was an active member of the League of Women Voters and Farish Street Baptist Church, where she was long-time church clerk.

Tributes:

Minta and I enjoyed many years of working together at UMMC SON. She was an asset to the Pediatric Nursing Practitioner Program. Always present and happy to be a part of the practice, willing to advise, participate, the students and I adored her. God be with you through this tunnel of grief and hold you in the palm of His hand.

– Jan M. Evers


It was one of the greatest pleasures of my life to have worked with Minta. She was truly a committed nurse midwife who always worked on improving the health of mothers and babies in Mississippi. A calm, quiet soul, she could move mountains when it came to the practice of advanced practice nurses. She loved her family as well. I treasure the time I was able to work with her.

– Kaye Bender

Minta made a major difference in the improving the health of many Mississippians through her work in Public Health Nursing. She served with kindness, compassion, dedication and competence. It was an honor to have known and worked with her. May your memories bring you comfort, may the thoughts and support of friends give you strength and may God give you peace. I will keep your family in my prayers.

– Kathy Burk

Minta was a leader in the League of Women Voters of the Jackson Area for a number of years. She was know for her gentle spirit, dedication to family and community and her leadership abilities. I am grateful for having known her.

– Barbara Powell