The eighth annual Diversity Impact 2018 Student Conference will be held June 7-10, 2018, on FNU’s historic campus in Kentucky. This event is hosted by the Diversity PRIDE student organization and is open to all attendees who want to become part of FNU’s legacy of providing care to rural and underserved communities.
Join Us for an Impactful, Sight-Seeing, Cultural Excursion!
The Diversity Impact event opens the door for nurses to foster and strengthen collaborative discussions to address health disparities to improve minority health among underrepresented and marginalized groups. Students engage in cross-cultural and inter-cultural workshop activities, along with leadership strategies on current diversity healthcare trends as it relates to patient-provider care.
Meet FNU's New Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer Dr. Maria Valentin-Welch, DNP, MPH, CDP, CNM, FACNM.
Frontier Nursing University (FNU) is seeing yet another one of its diversity initiatives realized through Dr. Maria Valentin-Welch in her new role as Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer. Maria’s new position, which she assumed on October 1, 2017, is designed to guide the institution on matters of equity, diversity and inclusion.
Dr. Valentin-Welch has over 30 years of teaching experience, including her role at Frontier as an assistant professor since 2013. Through extensive work with marginalized and underserved populations, Maria has garnered several awards and accolades. She completed her Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) at FNU in 2015. Her DNP capstone project was a national online tutorial pilot program for ethnically diverse student nurse-midwives.
Frontier spoke with Maria about her passion for diversity and inclusion, how she will strategize those initiatives at FNU, and the challenges she expects to face in her inaugural post as CDIO.
What has been your career path so far and how has it led you to your current role as Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer?
“A medical encounter shaped my understanding of the need for diversity in the medical world. There was a man that was restrained; he was trying to pull his IV because he was trying to get to his true hospital. I advocated for this man, explained the situation…I was told, ‘Well, we don’t have a translator, so we didn’t understand him,’ which was unacceptable. We found a translator, and the man proceeded to have his IV removed and was transferred to the hospital where he belonged. This experience really taught me how to be a voice for the voiceless, and to be an advocate for those who need advocacy.”
How has your professional background influenced your passion for diversity and inclusion?
“While working with homeless pregnant women, I felt like I wanted to do more with my hands, and that was my inspiration, my calling, into nurse-midwifery. Also my love for education has influenced my passion for diversity and inclusion. I have always been a teacher in my heart. I have taught and precepted many students…teaching is in my blood.
Another changing encountered occurred during my first visit at Frontier. In 2012 I came to Frontier’s Diversity Impact Weekend for the Pride Program as a keynote speaker, and there I not only fell in love with Frontier, but I also fell in love with the students who encouraged me to go back to school and go back to teaching. Now, I am an alumni of Frontier; I went to their doctorate program, and my capstone project was on tutoring and mentoring students of color. So, all of this was instrumental in bringing me to this point in my life.”
Learn more about Maria’s journey to Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer in this video.
Where did your passion for diversity and inclusion begin?
“My passion for diversity and inclusion began really by being raised in New York City. It was a wonderful, diverse area to be brought up in, and it taught me that we are more alike than we are different. Another encounter in my life that really brought passion of diversity in my life was being moved from New York to Boston, Massachusetts in the seventies during the busing times. A historical era with a lot of racism and hatred in Massachusetts which has definitely improved since. However, that time period was really sad and showed me how ugly division can be.
A school incident took place that taught me that I am neither white, nor black, nor ‘other.’ I am Maria, and no one can label me. I am myself and that goes for every single person; we are all each personally unique and individual.”
Learn more about Maria’s passion for diversity and inclusion in this video.
How do you define diversity and inclusion at Frontier Nursing University?
“When our differences come together in a respectful and appreciative way for what each of us bring to the table, that’s when we reach diversity and inclusion. Diversity and inclusion in a nutshell is the power of unity, and FNU will be more powerful for including it in its strategic plan.
Diversity is like a beautiful tapestry made up of each and every one of us. We are all different in so many ways, beautiful ways. However, when our differences are united in a positive way, we create a powerful, enhanced atmosphere that otherwise would be lacking due to missing parts. So, diversity and inclusion is the glue of unity.”
Learn more about how Maria defines diversity and inclusion in this video.
What are you most excited about with your new position?
“I am most excited about the programs I hope to establish for students. Initially, these programs that I’ll be implementing will be pilot programs for our nurse workforce diversity grant students. We’ll work out the kinks and basically expand them to all students.
I’m also excited about bringing diversity to the forefront of Frontier. Our Community of Inquiry model will be stronger for it.”
What strategies do you feel will have the most positive impact on the FNU community?
“The strategies that I feel will have the most positive impact on Frontier are building these excellent student services, as well as diversity and inclusion training strategies and tactics to enhance our courses by threading diversity and inclusion issues along the way. We want to thread the subject matter even further throughout the curriculum. We will be stronger individually and as a whole because of the introductions of these plans.”
Learn more about Maria’s planned strategies as CDIO in this video.
What are the biggest challenges that you will face in your new role?
“Uniting folks while our nation is receiving messages of division and promoting actions of division and lack of compassion – to me, that will be my biggest challenge. 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. Frontier is better and stronger than the division being promoted across the nation.”
Learn more about the challenges Maria anticipates in her new role in this video.
What is a fun fact about you?
“My intersectionality is a fun fact. What is intersectionality? Intersectionality is a diversity term that basically explains that an individual has many hats that they bring to the table, not just what you see in front of you. So I’m not just a latina, female professor of a certain age. I’m also a mother, a wife, grandmother, and – here’s the fun fact – I’m even a great-grandmother of three great-grandchildren!”
Hyden, KY -- Frontier Nursing University (FNU), a graduate school offering nurse-midwifery and nurse practitioner programs through distance education, has hired Dr. Maria Valentin-Welch, DNP, MPH, CNM, FACNM, as its first chief diversity and inclusion officer to lead the University on matters of equity, diversity and inclusion. Dr. Valentin-Welch is a certified nurse-midwife and has served as a course coordinator at FNU since 2013. She will assume the new role on October 1, 2017.
FNU’s chief diversity and inclusion officer (CDIO) will lead the development of a vision and strategy that champions the importance of a diverse and inclusive environment that values and supports all members of the University community. The addition of the CDIO position is the most recent of a number of diversity initiatives implemented as part of FNU’s strategic plan to heighten the focus on diversity and inclusion for all faculty, staff and students. The CDIO will serve on the executive team along with the president, dean, chief operations officer and the executive vice president for finance and facilities.
“Research tells us that in order to incorporate an effective culture of diversity and inclusion, you must have top administrators at the highest level in the organization leading the charge,” says FNU President Dr. Susan Stone. “We have done so much to foster a culture that values diversity and inclusion; this was the natural next step for our University.”
Dr. Valentin-Welch has worked on diversity and inclusion efforts throughout her career. One of her first assignments at FNU will be leading the implementation of a four-year program to increase the recruitment, enrollment, retention and graduation of students from disadvantaged backgrounds, made possible by a HRSA Nursing Workforce Diversity Grant totaling $1,998,000 that was awarded to FNU earlier this year.
Dr. Valentin-Welch joined the Frontier Nursing University faculty four years ago and has served as a co-chair of FNU’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee. She will be moving to Kentucky in 2018 to join other administrative staff at FNU’s campus, which will be relocating from Lexington to Versailles next year.
“I am very excited to get started in this new role because focusing on diversity and inclusion will only strengthen Frontier’s roots, as well as our mission and vision,” said Dr. Valentin-Welch. “The birthplace of nurse-midwifery in the United States stems from the roots of Frontier Nursing University. Therefore, I am humbled and honored to become FNU’s first chief diversity and inclusion officer. Together, hand in hand, we will bring our FNU Community to higher heights.”
Additionally, Dr. Valentin-Welch will offer leadership support to FNU’s Diversity PRIDE Program which has been in place since 2010 and was designed to promote diversity in nursing and midwifery by recruiting more underrepresented students. She will also focus on collaborative opportunities with other organizations to facilitate the goals of diversity and inclusion at FNU.
“I believe our founding mother, Mary Breckinridge, is smiling down at Frontier as we open this new historical chapter… a chapter made up of many different pages creating a wonderfully diverse and inclusive book,” said Dr. Valentin-Welch.
Frontier Nursing University believes in increasing awareness of the importance of cultural competency and decreasing health disparities. This article is about their 7th annual Diversity Impact Event. FNU states “Diversity Impact is designed to open the door for nurses to foster and strengthen collaborative discussions to address health disparities to improve minority health among underrepresented and marginalized groups.” Enjoy this informative article.
In a rapidly-changing, sometimes divided world, Frontier Nursing University (FNU) emphasizes the value of respecting and honoring diversity.
In the United States, there is a wide gap in health outcomes. Several populations face greater obstacles in obtaining good health based on their racial or ethnic group, religion, socioeconomic status, gender, age, mental health, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, or geographic location. These disparities may exist because of social and economic inequality, inadequate health care providers or systems, and bias on the part of health care providers or patients.
The gap forming in the health of women before and during pregnancies is also a source of concern. Determinants of a mother’s health may include social factors, ethnic or racial group, or her previous health status. An infant child is also impacted by factors such as nutrition, family income, and the geographic location of their homes and neighborhoods.
Additionally, consider this: women living in rural areas have less access to health care than women living in urban areas. Where 22.8% of women live in what is defined as a “rural” area in the U.S.¹, there is a significant disparity between the health care they receive and the health care received by the “urban” population of women.
Although health care needs around the nation are diverse, health care providers do not reflect the population. In 2008, only 16.8% of Registered Nurses residing in the United States represented diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds². Additionally, underrepresented groups make up less than 10% of nursing school faculty³. The nursing profession faces the challenge of recruiting and retaining a culturally diverse workforce that mirrors the nation's demographics.
With these challenges in mind, it is important that our education system equips nurse practitioners, nurse-midwives and other healthcare professionals with the resources they need to eliminate these disparities, and ultimately achieve health equity.FNU would like to see the Frontier community impact health equity and move forward by uniting through diversity.
On June 1- 4, 2017, Frontier Nursing University held the 7th annual Diversity Impact Student Conference. Diversity Impact is designed to open the door for nurses to foster and strengthen collaborative discussions to address health disparities to improve minority health among underrepresented and marginalized groups. Students will engage in cross-cultural and intercultural workshop activities, along with leadership strategies on current diversity healthcare trends as it relates to patient-provider care.
This year’s Diversity Impact theme is Moving Forward: Uniting Through Diversity. Students will attend sessions hosted by nationally recognized nursing leaders; participate in teambuilding activities, cultural competency awareness training, and open dialogues; network with available FNU students, community leaders, faculty and staff; and learn more about the world with FNU’s International Food Menu.
Frontier Nursing University conference discusses healthcare diversity
Factors such as someone's age, race, gender and ethnicity can all play a role in their healthcare.
This weekend, Frontier Nursing University students attended a conference, to learn how those factors and other differences between populations may impact a patient's health and treatment. One factor, which may impact patients in Eastern Kentucky is living in rural communities.
"It's like a totally different population than what you see in urban areas," Vaishu Jawahar who attended the conference said. "Even though we think that sometimes urban populations have it bad, the sheer lack of resources that's out here makes being in a rural area that much harder."
Another topic discussed during the conference was caring for those in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community.
"As healthcare providers, no matter what your political views are you have to be able to take care of everyone or at least make them feel comfortable enough to seek out your care," said Jawahar.
As part of the discussion on serving the LGBT community, two Frontier Nursing University students talked about their experience treating patients during last year's mass shooting, at Pulse, a Gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida.
Overall, those who attended the conference said taking the time to get to know the patient and their background can make a difference.
"It's so easy for us to get caught up in our way of life, we forget there's very different realities for everyone," Wilvena Bernard, Diversity Pride Program Coordinator, Frontier Nursing University said.
More than 50 students and faculty attended the conference from across the country.
Last month, University officials announced they are moving student activities from the Hyden campus to Versailles by Fall of 2018.
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