Virginia K. Joseph Saba

20 March 1926 - 20 November 2021

Under: Obituary
Virginia K. Joseph Saba

Dr. Virginia K. Joseph Saba "Ginger" of Arlington, VA, pioneer and leader in the field of nursing informatics, died on November 20, 2021 in Indianapolis, IN. She was attending the Sigma nursing convention to present the Virginia K. Saba Nursing Informatics Leadership Award.

Ginger was born on March 20, 1926, to the late Kalil "Kelly" Shakar Joseph and Freda Noujaim who came to Adams, MA, from Maassar el Chouf, Lebanon. The family started a soda shop, Kelly's on the Corner, that specialized in "Kelly's" famous homemade ice cream. Other ventures included the Adams movie theater and real-estate. Ginger and her siblings supported all the family businesses but preferred scooping ice cream.

She received a scholarship from the U.S. Cadet Nurse Corps and earned a BS/RN degree in 1948 from Skidmore College, NY. Early in her career, Ginger was a home visiting nurse in Cambridge, MA and Washington, DC and an outreach healthcare nurse with the Arabian American Oil Company in Saudi Arabia. She earned an MA in public health nursing education from Columbia University, New York and joined the US Public Health Service (USPHS) in 1964, serving as a Commissioned Officer active-duty nurse. In 1981, she received an MS in information management & computer science and an EdD from American University, Washington, DC. After retiring from the USPHS as a Captain in 1985, Ginger served as a Distinguished Scholar at Georgetown University.

At the USPHS and Georgetown University, Ginger led federally-funded research and developed the Clinical Care Classification system (CCC) for categorizing, coding, and analyzing data on nursing practices. Use of the CCC system has improved patient care in hospitals across the globe. Ginger was the founder and president of SabaCare, Inc. and worked with healthcare facilities around the world to promote the field of nursing informatics. She co-edited/co-authored definitive texts on nursing informatics including the Essentials of Nursing Informatics (in its 7th edition), the CCC Manual: A User's Guide to Nursing Documentation, and many scholarly articles. She taught at the Uniformed Services University Graduate School of Nursing, MD.

Generations of nurses have been mentored and inspired by Ginger as they navigated the male-dominated field of medical informatics. She was a firm advocate for the nursing profession, presenting at nursing conferences all over the world. Ginger received honorary doctoral degrees from the University of Athens, Excelsior College, NY, the University of Maryland, and the University of Eastern Finland. She was named a Living Legend by the American Academy of Nursing.

Ginger expressed her creativity and talent through her paintings and sculptures, many of which were displayed in art galleries.

Ginger was predeceased by brothers and sisters Alfred L. Joseph, Janet E. Myers, baby Raymond Kenneth Joseph, Marshall E. Joseph, and Bernice T. Scully; and two nephews, Gregory C. A. Joseph and Michael J. Myers. She leaves nieces and nephews Douglas M. A. Joseph, Barbara A. McCleary, Robert W. Myers, Tesha A. Jarrett-Harrower, Nina E. Toffler-D'Onofrio, Beverly J. Myers Bailey, Caroline A. Scully, Richard A. Scully, and many great nieces and nephews.

The funeral will be on Tuesday, August 8, 2023, at 12:45 p.m., Old Post Chapel, Fort Myer, followed by inurnment at Arlington National Cemetery. Attendees must register for security clearance at Fort Myer and enter through Hatfield Gate.

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