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Bridget D. Reed

2023 Iowa Women's Hall of Fame Honoree: Bridget D. Reed 

Bridget D Reed smiling, in front of a multicolored background

Bridget D. Reed - Waterloo, Iowa

Bridget D. Reed was born in Waterloo, Iowa. She earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing, and Master’s Degree in Public Health. She is a registered nurse who has accepted the call to serve and has made a significant impact on the community serving others. She started an initiative called Focus on Diabetes that partners with accredited doctors to share education and new treatment options coupled with world-class healthcare organizations to introduce new technologies, and free screenings for diabetic patients, their families, and the community. In 2022, she started an initiative called Project Health, a prostate cancer study, to study disparities in the most common cancer among men. Specifically studying why, the death rate for black men is two times higher than their peers when prostate cancer is almost 100% curable. She is presenting the data from her study at the Iowa Public Health conference and partnering with the University of Iowa and the Iowa Cancer Consortium to expand this research.

Bridget elevates that status of women as an organizer. When Bridget volunteers you don’t just see her, most often she is joined by her peers who are also healthcare workers. As a group they are visible in the community offering free healthcare services, serving on committees and boards. As a clinic supervisor, Bridget has increased the number of black women working in healthcare, having recently hired a single mother that graduated as a certified medical assistant years ago and experienced difficulty in the job market. In another instance, Bridget helped a single mother gain admission into nursing school and even bought her a new computer so that she could do her class work. Additionally, Bridget serves as a Janette Rankin Foundation scholarship reviewer, where she reviews scholarship applications for women 35 and older, who are returning to college.

Bridget has helped open new frontiers for society in general by her willingness to serve others. Bridget’s community service is not limited to hosting healthcare events as she has been actively engaging elected officials about the burden of healthcare disparities and how laws can be made to help the most vulnerable. She has served as a precinct captain in 2016 and 2020 presidential election cycles as well as hosted house parties so that candidates could have personal experience with candidates in their neighborhood.

She has volunteered for Empower Northend, a grassroots candidate forum that invites political candidates to participate in forums in the heart of the black community.

As a history maker, Bridget hosted a house party for Senator Elizabeth Warren when she ran for President. This was historic because Senator Warren was the top Democratic candidate, and her house party marked the first time in the history of Waterloo that a tier 1 presidential candidate held a house party in a predominately black neighborhood.

Bridget’s story of grit and perseverance is an inspiration. Living in the Salvation Army’s Women shelter with four kids under 20, she could have chosen a different path.

Bridget’s story is being written as we speak. Young women need to see the acknowledgement and uplifting of women like Bridget, a young black woman, serving others, overcoming personal challenges. Bridget has invested in our community and the state of Iowa without asking for anything in return.

Focus on Diabetes, is her most well-known accomplishment, today, she is known as a community resource that helps others. On social media, one lady described her as “the lady that gives away free stuff”.  Focus on Diabetes does not charge patients or their family for education resources. 

Honors and Awards:

  • 2022 Iowa Cancer Consortium Spirit of Collaboration Award
  • 2022 Cedar Valley United Way 100 Community Hero
  • 2021 State of Iowa Volunteer Hall of Fame Inductee
  • 2021 Iowa Nurses Association Excellence in Leadership Lighting the Way Award
  • 2020 LinkedIn Influential African American Businesswoman
  • 2017 Jefferson Foundation Bronze Award
  • 2016 WCF Courier’s 20 under 40