University of Virginia School of Nursing Honored for Diversity

University of Virginia School of Nursing Honored for Diversity

The University of Virginia (UVA) School of Nursing recently received a Health Professions Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, which covers diversity in higher education. This was the first time UVA’s nursing school has been honored and they were among 35 health professions schools nationwide to receive a  2018 HEED Award.

Lenore Pearlstein, INSIGHT Into Diversity’s publisher, tells News.Virginia.edu, “The Health Professions HEED Award process consists of a comprehensive and rigorous application that includes questions relating to the recruitment and retention of students and employees – and best practices for both; continued leadership support for diversity; and other aspects of campus diversity and inclusion.”

Since establishing an initiative on Diversity, Inclusion, and Excellence Achievement (IDEA) in 2014, UVA’s nursing school has shifted its recruitment, admissions, and retention strategies to welcome more underrepresented and first-generation applicants, established affinity groups for students of color, initiated expansive diversity training for faculty and staff, and urged professors to incorporate diverse perspectives and inclusive content into their courses.

UVA nursing faculty and graduate teaching assistants attend trainings across a variety of diversity-related topics, and all nursing students take part in cultural humility training and a plethora of regular activities to drive the school’s message of inclusivity. In 2018, nearly a third of enrolled students are from groups underrepresented in nursing, and more than 17 percent are male.

To learn more about UVA Nursing’s Health Professions Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, visit here.

Advocate and Nonverbal Speaker to Give Vanderbilt Nursing Dean’s Diversity Lecture

Advocate and Nonverbal Speaker to Give Vanderbilt Nursing Dean’s Diversity Lecture

Holly Forlenza and Eileen Forlenza, a nonverbal motivational speaker and her mother, both advocates for family involvement in health care, will present the January 2019 Vanderbilt University School of Nursing (VUSN) Dean’s Diversity Lecture on Monday, January 14, 2019.

Their lecture titled “From Try to Triumph: The Journey of a Nonverbal Young Adult” will be open to the Vanderbilt community. Holly Forlenza is unable to speak and was diagnosed with severe mental retardation, epilepsy, and failure to thrive when she was 2 years old. In 2011, when she was 22, she began using an iPad and keyboard to communicate and has since become an advocate for the empowerment of nonverbal people. Her book, Just Because I Can’t Talk Doesn’t Mean I Don’t Have Anything to Say, tells her story and calls for inclusion and compassion.

Her mother, Eileen Forlenza, has been Holly’s advocate from her birth. Her personal experience with parenting and dealing with the health care, education, care coordination, and insurance systems has made her an expert in speaking on the importance of family engagement. Her advocacy and support of policy development on behalf of children with disabilities resulted in an invitation from President Barack Obama to join him at the White House to mark the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Linda D. Norman, DSN, FAAN, VUSN dean, and the Valere Potter Menefee Professor of Nursing, tells Nursing.Vanderbilt.edu, “Patient- and family-centered care improves patients’ health and the quality of health care. Yet as Holly and Eileen Forlenza can attest, sometimes people with disabilities don’t have a voice in their own care decisions – and sometimes the family’s knowledge and input aren’t utilized. I think the Forlenzas’ personal perspectives will challenge our assumptions and encourage us to consider patient and family care differently.”

The VUSN Dean’s Diversity Lecture Series was established in 2016 to explore the diversity of backgrounds, cultures, ideas, and viewpoints in our world today. It seeks to equip students, faculty, staff, and other community members with the knowledge and understanding needed to lead nursing forward in a global society.

To learn more about Holly and Eileen Forlenza, VUSN’s next diversity series lecturers, visit here.

Johns Hopkins School of Nursing Awarded INSIGHT Into Diversity Higher Education Health Professions Award

Johns Hopkins School of Nursing Awarded INSIGHT Into Diversity Higher Education Health Professions Award

The Johns Hopkins School of Nursing (JHSON) has received the 2018 INSIGHT Into Diversity Higher Education “Excellence in Diversity” Health Professions award for its committed efforts to support and sustain diversity and inclusion through education, programs, and outreach. The award is a national honor recognizing individual health institutions showing outstanding achievement in making diversity a top priority.

Diversity, equity, and inclusion are embedded into the strategic plan and overall mission at JHSON. Faculty, students, and staff are provided opportunities for collective cultural exchanges and experiences through encouragement from leadership and the school’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee. Efforts to promote respect for differing views and backgrounds are weaved into curriculum development, scholarships, recruitment, partnerships, and strategy.

Gloria Ramsey, JD, RN, FNAP, FAAN, who was appointed to serve as inaugural associate dean for diversity, equity, and inclusion to further the school’s diversity and its impact on innovation, education, practice, research, and service, tells Newswise.com:

“Our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion is clearly evident and well integrated into the operations of the school. Our entire community should feel proud and honored to receive the HEED Award because it represents a collective effort and underscores our values and commitment to inclusive excellence for 21st century nursing. As we celebrate the progress we have made, we continue to hold ourselves accountable to continue important work, be open to new ideas, and think forward toward creating a more diverse and inclusive environment in the future.” 

JHSON also focuses on advancing social justice in the community, cultural competence education, and minority awareness celebrations. Currently, 25% of faculty and 37% of students are from racial and ethnic minorities.

To learn more about the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing receiving the INSIGHT Into Diversity Higher Education “Excellence in Diversity” Health Professions award, visit here.

Nurses of the Week: UCLA Nursing Professors Christine Samuel-Nakamura and Mary Rezk-Hanna Pursue Work Inspired by Their Heritage

Nurses of the Week: UCLA Nursing Professors Christine Samuel-Nakamura and Mary Rezk-Hanna Pursue Work Inspired by Their Heritage

Our Nurses of the Week are UCLA School of Nursing professors Christine Samuel-Nakamura and Mary Rezk-Hanna who have both received grants from the UCLA Academic Senate Council on Research to conduct research projects inspired by their heritage. After earning their doctorate degrees at UCLA Nursing, both nurses were welcomed as assistant professors at the university.

Samuel-Nakamura grew up on the Diné (the indigenous name for Navajo) Nation reservation in New Mexico where she was the youngest child in a large family that raised its own livestock and crops. Her experience growing up on the reservation made Samuel-Nakamura aware of the challenges facing her tribe, including poverty and chronic health problems like diabetes and cardiovascular disease. She later decided to help address these issues by becoming a nurse.

Samuel-Nakamura earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing at the University of New Mexico, then pursued her Family Nurse Practitioner Master of Science in Nursing degree at UCLA. She tells Newsroom.UCLA.edu:

“I wanted to be able to work with communities on their health issues and empower people to help themselves…As a researcher, you investigate and explore what you see in clinical practice and develop some type of explanation for it and find a way to address it. Clinical practice informs research which, in turn, informs clinical practice.”

Samuel-Nakamura worked for several years in the clinical setting in the federally run Indian Health Service and in tribal hospital clinics on the Diné reservation in Arizona where community elders appreciated her ability to speak with them in their native tongue. She recently received two one-year grants to re-evaluate environmentally contaminated sites in Los Angeles County (home to the largest urban American Indian population in the United States). One grant comes from the American Indian Studies Center in the UCLA Institute of American Cultures and the second is from the UCLA Academic Senate Council on Research.

Mary Rezk-Hanna found inspiration for her research program growing up in Alexandria, Egypt, where both of her parents worked as physicians. She shadowed them as they treated patients, which influenced her decision to become a nurse. One thing she remembers from growing up in Alexandria is looking down from her apartment balcony and being fascinated by the popular hookah cafes across the street.

Rezk-Hanna’s family moved to the US when she was 13 and she later earned her associate degree in nursing and worked as a registered nurse where she became interested in the physiological effects of smoking in young adults with tobacco-related illnesses. She then obtained her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from George Mason University, and while pursuing a Family Nurse Practitioner Master of Science degree at UCLA, she was selected to conduct a community research project about a local population health concern.

Rezk-Hanna found that two of the largest hookah lounges in LA are within one mile of UCLA and considered a major community health concern. She noticed most customers were young adults, with a large portion of them being females, and decided to conduct a study to assess young adult hookah smokers’ attitudes, perceptions, and beliefs toward their choice of smoking, and to identify predictors of hookah smoking. She found that the majority of subjects believed that hookah smoking is not harmful to one’s health.

Rezk-Hanna tells Newsroom.UCLA.edu, “These data could be used to inform young adults about the dangers of hookah smoking as well as provide evidence to guide policy specific to hookah and other alternative tobacco products and nicotine delivery systems.”

Rezk-Hanna is building on her recent findings by studying other evolving hookah tobacco products and their effects on heart health. She has received three grants to investigate the potential cardiovascular toxicity of electronic hookah use among young adults: one from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, one from the UCLA Clinical and Translational Science Institute, and one from the UCLA Academic Senate Council on Research.

To learn more about UCLA Nursing professors Christine Samuel-Nakamura and Mary Rezk-Hanna and how their heritage has inspired their research, visit here.

American Association of Colleges of Nursing Announces Minority Nurse Faculty Scholars

American Association of Colleges of Nursing Announces Minority Nurse Faculty Scholars

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) has announced six Minority Nurse Faculty Scholars who were selected through a national scholarship program funded by the Johnson & Johnson Campaign for Nursing’s Future. The program was developed to help address the nationwide faculty shortage while enhancing diversity among nurse educators by offering financial support, mentoring, and leadership development to graduate students from minority backgrounds who aspire to teach.

The six new scholars will be joining 60 scholars previously selected for the prestigious honor. The new recipients are all enrolled in PhD or DNP programs and their names include:

  • Lourdes Carhuapoma, University of Virginia
  • Jenna Magallanes, University of Michigan
  • Angelina Nguyen, University of Arizona
  • Safiyyah Okoye, Johns Hopkins University
  • Sangita Pudasainee-Kapri, Rutgers University
  • Armiel Suriaga, Florida Atlantic University

Dr. Ann Cary, Chair of the AACN Board of Directors, tells Newswise.com, “AACN recognizes the strong connection between preparing a culturally diverse nursing workforce and the ability to provide quality patient care. We applaud the Johnson & Johnson Campaign for their generous support of our Faculty Scholars program that is opening new doors to careers in academic nursing for some of our best and brightest graduate students.”

To learn more about this year’s AACN/Johnson & Johnson Minority Nurse Faculty Scholarship recipients, visit here.

New Assistant Dean of Diversity and Inclusion at Vanderbilt School of Nursing

New Assistant Dean of Diversity and Inclusion at Vanderbilt School of Nursing

Earlier this fall, Vanderbilt University School of Nursing named Rolanda Johnson, PhD, MSN, as the new assistant dean for diversity and inclusion. Replacing assistant professor Jana Lauderdale in this new position, she is also continuing her roles as assistant dean for academics and associate professor of nursing. Dr. Johnson ensures VUSN continues to foster and provide an environment that is culturally appreciative and inclusive, especially for underrepresented and marginalized groups.

“We’re very fortunate to have Rolanda in this leadership role,” VUSN Dean Linda D. Norman, DSN, FAAN, shared with VUSN Communications. “With her experience in academic enhancement services, as the longtime adviser to the Black Student Nurses Association, and through her research in health promotion for African Americans and in black racial identity, Rolanda will bring expertise and wisdom to the role of VUSN’s assistant dean for diversity and inclusion.”

Dr. Johnson joined the VUSN faculty in 1998, after receiving her PhD in Nursing Science from Vanderbilt. Over her 20 years at Vanderbilt, she has served as director of the Fisk University-Vanderbilt University Nursing Partnership Program, she re-established Vanderbilt’s Black Student Nurses Association, and represented the School of Nursing in campus-wide programs such as the Provost’s Task Force on Sexual Assault, FutureVU Faculty Advisory Committee, and Diversity, Inclusion and Community Committee. Additionally, Dr. Johnson is the founding president of the Nashville Chapter of the National Black Nurses Association.

To learn more about Dr. Rolanda Johnson’s career and vision for diversity and inclusion at Vanderbilt University School of Nursing, check out her Q&A at MinorityNurse.com.


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