DiversityNursing Blog

Frontier Nursing University Hires Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer

Posted by Frontier Nursing University

Thu, Oct 05, 2017 @ 02:25 PM

Header_712x230.jpgHyden, 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. 
 
officer.jpgFNU’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. 
 
Contact: Brittney Edwards, Director of Marketing and Communications
859-899-2515, [email protected]
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Topics: Frontier Nursing University, Diversity and Inclusion, chief diversity officer

3 Ways a CDO Can Help a Hospital Workforce

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Thu, Sep 22, 2016 @ 03:33 PM

embracediversity.pngChief Diversity Officers can make a hospital a more welcoming place for employees and the patient's they serve. It takes many steps for a CDO to make that possible. Continue reading to learn more about how CDO's can help your healthcare organization. 

Workplace harassment complaints. Recruiting a diverse workforce. Cultural competency training. These are matters that traditionally fall under HR, but healthcare organizations are increasingly relying on professionals with specialized skills to work on these sensitive and important issues.

Enter the chief diversity officer, or CDO.

As the country grows not only more ethnically diverse but more diverse in personal beliefs, regional origin and identification, and disability status, the demand for leaders who specialize in creating dialogues between people with differences will increase, says Oliver B. Tomlin, III, senior partner at search firm Witt/Kieffer and founding member of National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education. He has assisted with several CDO searches.

Below are several functions a CDO might play to make a hospital a more welcoming place both to workers and the community they serve:

1. Make Sure Everyone is Heard

Many of us can remember attending a party or other event where we didn't fit in, possibly because of differences between ourselves and others.

A CDO specializes in being the person who makes sure workers don't have to feel uncomfortable about what makes them unique, and that they can bring their "whole selves" to work, says Deborah L. Plummer, PhD, vice chancellor and chief diversity officer at University of Massachusetts Medical School and UMass Memorial Healthcare.

"If everyone feels they can bring their whole self to work and they feel like differences are respected, it can make the workplace richer and stronger," Plummer says.

"Then, we are able to come together and work in diverse teams, and are able to solve challenges with our collective wisdom."

2. Teach Awareness

What's the next step that will lead toward improved patient satisfaction and both clinician and worker retention? Teaching the workforce to be sensitive to and accepting of the differences that are inherent to a diverse organization or in a diverse community.   

Sometimes it's not always easy to gain the trust of people when there are differences involved, especially in light of healthcare disparities members of minority groups often experience, says Tomlin, but educating a workforce can help.

Plummer suggests offering regular inclusion events, hosting employee and community research groups, and familiarizing hospital leadership with hot topics in the workforce and within the community.

She also suggests that CDOs organize training sessions around current topics, such as:

  • LGBT-related issues
  • Sexual harassment
  • Building an inclusive workforce
  • Cultural competency education

3. Devise and Implement Inclusion Strategies

Diversity and inclusion aren't easy topics to tackle, says Plummer. "There has to be someone who gets up every morning thinking about the complexity of these differences."

A CDO can fit that bill.

Plummer makes it clear that she believes HR is "necessary and great function. [It keeps] the trains running." But appointing a leader to specialize in diversity makes sense.

"I can say that the space of diversity is more about people strategy and management, while HR is about the employee, and their employment relationship to the organization," she says.

A CDO will be able to prioritize diversity matters above all else; these hot topics will have their full attention. Far from being just another C-suiter, the CDO has potential to be a mediator, a teacher, an outreach coordinator, and someone who helps make your hospital a more comfortable place for everyone.

If you have any questions about Chief Diversity Officers, Diversity and Inclusion, or just a general question, please ask one of our Nurse Leaders by clicking below! 

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Topics: Diversity and Inclusion, CDO, chief diversity officer

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