About NCNA

Remembering Dr. Russell Eugene Tranbarger

For Immediate Release
October 20, 2023

NCNA is deeply saddened by the recent loss of Dr. Russell Eugene “Gene” Tranbarger, one of the most high-profile, beloved, and successful nurse leaders in North Carolina history.

In the spirit of Relentless Inclusion, we would be remiss not to highlight his trailblazing role in diversifying nursing leadership and the profession in general. Tranbarger spent his entire career advocating for – and challenging the stereotypical roles of – men in nursing.

He was honored in 2008 as ANA’s first-ever recipient of the Luther Christman Award, which recognizes “substantial contributions made by an individual man in nursing to the profession of nursing in areas that include, but are not limited to, practice, research, education, public policy and/or community service.” He was inducted into NCNA’s Hall of Fame in 2011 and inducted into the ANA Hall of Fame in 2012.

Tranbarger was the first male President of the North Carolina Nurses Association, the first male Chair of the North Carolina Board of Nursing, and served as a two-term President of the American Association for Men in Nursing. In 1981, he teamed up with NCNA members Ernestine Small, the association’s first Black President, and Frankie Miller, its Executive Director, to push through significant changes to the state’s Nurse Practice Act.

The leadership roles Tranbarger held and the influence he wielded with countless nursing students and colleagues made him an important mentor for many nurse leaders. Immediate Past ANA President Ernest Grant recently said about Tranbarger, in his own NCNA Hall of Fame induction speech, “I can’t tell you the number of hours or conversations that we had just talking about the nursing profession and my future plans.”

NCNA is grateful for Tranbarger’s contributions to the profession and his remarkable impact on the association.

#Nursing Forward®



Chris Cowperthwaite, APR
Director of Communications & Outreach
(919) 821-4250 or

As the leading professional organization for North Carolina’s registered nurses, we equip nurses at all stages to thrive in an ever-changing healthcare environment. NCNA helps keep North Carolina nurses on the cutting edge of nursing practice, policy, education, and more. Join us as we work to advance nursing and ensure high-quality healthcare for everyone.

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