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Under the aegis of the Diversity Impact (DI) Program at Frontier Nursing University, faculty and students are the vanguard of the movement to diversify the ranks of nurse practitioners and nurse-midwives and improve health care conditions among the underserved and marginalized.
Frontier’s current Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, Dr. Maria Valentin-Welch, takes great pride in the students’ achievements during and after their participation in the DI program, and says: “they are applying what is taught here in regard to diversity, inclusion, and equity, not only within their new areas of employment as graduates but across their communities. Some have established underserved programs, birth centers, and international programs. These students are passionate advocates for the underserved and disenfranchised people. They are the future catalyst of change.”
In addition to distributing some $300,000 in scholarship funds received through their Health Resources and Services Administration’s Nursing Workforce Diversity Grant, the program has implemented diversity training sessions for all faculty and staff and added diversity discussions to student orientation sessions. DI participants are also encouraged to attend annual conferences dedicated to fostering a more diverse, culturally aware health care workforce—where, under the guidance of a faculty mentor, students explore the benefits of active participation in professional nursing organizations.
The thriving program at Frontier received a 2018 Health Professions Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, and was cited as a “Top College for Diversity.” In addition, the magazine added Dr. Valentin-Welch herself to their Top 25 Women in Higher Education roster of standout diversity advocates at US colleges and universities.
For an experienced professional proponent of diversity and inclusion, the most daunting challenge, according to Valentin-Welch, is maintaining belief in the goal of “uniting folks while our nation is receiving messages of division and promoting actions of division and lack of compassion… However, I feel midwifery and nursing have always held an important role in not only listening to people, but also advocating for what is right.”
For further details on the Diversity Impact Program at Frontier Nursing University, visit here.
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