In the mid 1970s, GI Nurses and Associates (previously referred to as GI Assistants) throughout Tennessee were calling acquaintances and other facilities to share information and to problem solve. This led to informal meetings, followed by the beginning of organization. The “GI Assistants of Memphis” recorded their first minutes July 13, 1978, and planned meetings for November and March. There were 17 GIAs present. In 1979, Jeanne Alley from Knoxville, was contacting others in the state regarding the possibility of a state meeting. On April 11, 1980, there was an organizational meeting in Nashville to begin preparations for a Tennessee Regional SGA. Anita Pattinson from Nashville was appointed Acting Chairman of the “Tennessee Regional Society Committee”.
In May 1980, a Bylaws Committee consisting of Jane Kiss, Chairman, Janice Stockard (Adams), Secretary, Cathy Chiti, Mary Rogers, Helen Tate, Rena Fletcher, and Debbie Gattas had several meetings to write the proposed Bylaws for TSGNA. They were completed on May 14, 1980. The final Bylaws were voted on and approved April 9, 1981. The membership was 59 at this time.
Further preparations were made at an Acting Board of Directors Meeting in Nashville in September 1980.
The first annual TSGA meeting was held April 11, 1981, in Knoxville. Jeanne Alley was the Program Chairman. At this time the membership was 64. The first elected officers were Alechia Jane Kiss, President: Gayle Mahan, President Elect: Janice Stockard (Adams), Secretary; and Nita Hudson, Treasurer. The treasurer’s report reflected a contribution of $200 from TSGE to help with a financial foundation. TSGE had its 6th Annual Meeting on the first year for TSGA. A Board of Directors’ Meeting was held at this April meeting to clarify requirements for Charter with SGA, and to assure that TSGA met those requirements. The Eastern Division of TSGA was holding meetings in January, August, and November, the Middle Division was holding meetings in January, March, July, and October, the Western Division was holding meetings in March, July, and November, and now TSGA had begun its first annual meeting.
TSGA received its charter from SGA in May, 1981, in New York.
The first TSGA Newsletter was published in September, 1981, with Gina Rains the Editor.
The second annual TSGA meeting was held April 16 and 17, 1982, in Memphis. Jeanne Alley was presented with an engraved plaque as a token of appreciation for her work and dedication in founding the state organization. She was active in SGA, but had declined office at the state level with the objective of motivating, encouraging, assisting and advising other GIAs with potential leadership abilities to take an active role within the Society.
Time has passed, many members have made valuable contributions to the growth and viability of the organization, the name has changed to the Tennessee Society of Gastroenterology Nurses and Associates, and the membership now numbers 174.
Submitted by Janice Adams, April 1998