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DiversityNursing Blog

Frontier Nursing University Announces Plans for 
14th Annual Diversity Impact Conference

Posted by Frontier Nursing University

Thu, Jun 13, 2024 @ 10:27 AM

On July 18-19, 2024, Frontier Nursing University (FNU) will hold its 14th annual Diversity Impact Conference. The Diversity Impact Conference brings together renowned thought leaders and speakers to increase awareness of the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the healthcare workforce, particularly for those working in underserved and rural communities. The conference is a virtual event conducted via Zoom. This year’s conference theme is “Representation Matters: Breaking Down Contributing Factors of Health Inequities.”

“As we continue to finalize the plans for the 2024 Diversity Impact Conference, we are thrilled to announce our two keynote speakers for this year’s event,” said FNU Dean of Inclusive Excellence and Student Success Dr. Paula Alexander-Delpech, Ph.D., PMHNP-BC, APRN. “Dr. Lucinda Canty and Dr. Lisa Meeks are recognized experts on healthcare disparities and their underlying causes. This promises to be an incredibly informative and inspiring conference, and we are proud to be able to make it available to an increasingly broader audience.”

Dr. Lucinda Canty, Ph.D., CNM, FACNM, is an Associate Professor of Nursing, and Director of the Seedworks Health Equity in Nursing Program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Columbia University, a master’s degree from Yale University, specializing in nurse-midwifery, and a PhD from the University of Connecticut. Dr. Canty has provided reproductive health care for over 29 years. Her research interests include the prevention of maternal mortality and severe maternal morbidity, reducing racial and ethnic health disparities in reproductive health, promoting diversity in nursing, and eliminating racism in nursing and midwifery.

Dr. Lisa Meeks, Ph.D, MA, is a distinguished scholar and leader whose unwavering commitment to inclusivity and excellence has significantly influenced the landscape of health professions education and accessibility. She is the founder and executive director of the DocsWithDisabilities Initiative and holds appointments as an Associate Professor in the Departments of Learning Health Sciences and Family Medicine at the University of Michigan. In addition to developing impactful programs, Dr. Meeks plays a pivotal role in advancing equity through her collaborations with health professions associations.

The full conference schedule and speaker biographies can be found at frontier.edu/diversity-impact.

Students attending any institution can register for the conference for free. All others can register with an early bird discount by May 31 or at the regular registration price starting June 1 until the day before the event. For more information about the 2024 Diversity Impact Conference and to register, please visit frontier.edu/diversity-impact.

“We are delighted to offer this conference at no cost to students,” said FNU Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Tanya Belcheff, DNP, CNM. “We firmly believe that all students deserve the chance to participate and gain insights from impactful conferences like this one. We view investing in students as an investment in the future. This initiative supports the upcoming generation of leaders and visionaries who will ensure that healthcare is accessible to everyone.”

Topics: nursing schools, nursing school, Frontier Nursing University, Diversity and Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Diversity in Health Care, nursing university, Diversity Impact conference

DEI Efforts: A Positive Force in the Workplace

Posted by Diversity Nursing

Tue, Mar 12, 2024 @ 10:30 AM

Rather than dismissing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) as a passing trend, we should recognize it as a natural progression. In moving forward, we need to elevate our strategies to a more deliberate, purposeful, and impactful approach.

According to the Pew Research Center, a significant number of employees have expressed that DEI initiatives have had a beneficial impact on the workplace. It comes as no surprise that among those highlighting the value of DEI efforts, many belong to marginalized groups who often face challenges in a work environment that overlooks the importance of their diverse experiences in terms of quantity and quality.

The Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp)—in partnership with HR Executive, analyzed data from over 850 respondents in organizations of all sizes, and arrived at a surprising finding, most companies aren’t slowing down their DEI initiatives, despite backlash. 

Research highlights the multitude of benefits diversity brings to organizations, including heightened profitability, enhanced creativity, strengthened governance, and improved problem-solving capabilities. Employees from diverse backgrounds contribute their unique perspectives, ideas, and experiences, ultimately fostering resilient and high-performing organizations that surpass those lacking in diversity investments.

Below we explore different ways of improving DEI efforts in the work place.

Integrate and Align Efforts

Dr. Luthra shares with Forbes that it’s hard to effectively address DEI needs in isolated pockets. It’s interconnected and needs a holistic lens. Emphasizing targets and quotas just pits people against one another. “When DEI is done right, it levels the playing field and there’s room for everyone. But we can’t skip the hard work of dismantling systems that weren’t built for everyone.”

Go Beyond Diverse Hiring

It's important to foster a culture of inclusion and belonging throughout the entire organization. This means creating spaces where all employees feel valued, respected, and empowered to bring their authentic selves to work. Implementing mentorship programs, unconscious bias training, and regular DEI education can help to cultivate a more inclusive workplace where everyone has equal opportunities to thrive.

It's essential to address systemic barriers and biases that may exist within company policies and practices to truly create a level playing field for all individuals. By going beyond just meeting hiring quotas and actively promoting a culture of diversity and inclusion, organizations can truly harness the benefits that a diverse workforce brings.

Embedding DEI Throughout The Organization

This requires a comprehensive and sustained effort that goes beyond just surface-level initiatives. It involves weaving DEI principles into the fabric of the organization, from top leadership to every employee at all levels. This means creating a culture where DEI is not just a box to check off, but a fundamental value that guides decision-making, policies, and practices.

To truly embed DEI, organizations must provide ongoing training and education for all employees to increase awareness and understanding of different perspectives and experiences. Leaders should lead by example, actively promoting and advocating for DEI in all aspects of the business. Regularly assessing and evaluating DEI efforts through metrics and feedback mechanisms can help ensure that progress is being made and that any areas needing improvement are identified and addressed promptly.

Utilize Metrics 

By collecting and analyzing data on key performance indicators related to DEI initiatives, such as employee satisfaction, retention rates, promotion rates among underrepresented groups, and diversity in leadership positions, you can effectively measure the success and effectiveness of your efforts. These metrics provide concrete evidence of the positive impact of DEI on the workplace culture, employee engagement, and overall organizational performance. Additionally, sharing these metrics with stakeholders and leadership can help reinforce the importance of DEI and drive continued support and investment in these initiatives. By regularly tracking and reporting on these metrics, you can showcase the tangible benefits of prioritizing diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

According to a Gallup Report, employees that feel connected to the culture are 3.7 times more likely to be engaged at work, 68% less likely to feel burned out and 55% less likely to be looking for work somewhere else. It appears, getting DEI right has benefits for everyone, including the business itself.

DEI is here to stay. Organizations will continue to uncover and address their obstacles to fostering inclusion and workplace equity.

Topics: Diversity and Inclusion, diverse workforce, diverse workplace culture, diversity nursing, diversity and inclusion in the workplace, DEI, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Diversity in Health Care, diversity equity inclusion

Understanding Racial Concordance In The Nursing Field

Posted by Ryanna Brown

Mon, Mar 04, 2024 @ 12:37 PM

Racial concordance signifies the connection between the racial or ethnic backgrounds of patients and their healthcare providers, showcasing its profound impact on patient care, communication, trust, and overall health outcomes.

While racial concordance in Nursing offers various benefits, it's important to recognize it's not always feasible or practical to match every patient with a Nurse of the same racial or ethnic background. Emphasizing racial concordance should not overshadow the importance of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) within the Nursing workforce. 

Improved Communication 

This shared background fosters a sense of understanding and connection that goes beyond mere words - it's a deep-rooted familiarity with traditions, beliefs, and values that allows for seamless communication and empathy. Patients feel validated and heard when they can freely express their concerns and health needs in a language that resonates with their cultural identity. This bond of shared ethnicity or race creates a safe space for open dialogue and mutual respect, paving the way for a more holistic and personalized approach to healthcare.

Enhanced Trust 

Trust is a crucial component of the patient-provider relationship. Racial concordance can contribute to building trust between patients and Nurses, as patients may feel that their Nurse understands their unique experiences, challenges, and perspectives. This trust can lead to greater adherence to treatment plans and better health outcomes.

Cultural Competence

Nurses who share the same racial or ethnic background as their patients may possess a deeper understanding of cultural beliefs, practices, and health-seeking behaviors. This cultural competence enables Nurses to provide more personalized and culturally sensitive care, which can positively impact patient satisfaction and outcomes. Nurses of all backgrounds should receive training in cultural competence and communication skills to effectively care for patients from all backgrounds.

Reduced Health Disparities 

Racial and ethnic minorities often face disparities in healthcare access, quality, and outcomes. Racial concordance in Nursing can help mitigate these disparities by improving communication, trust, and cultural competence. Patients from marginalized communities may feel more empowered to seek care and engage in preventive health measures when they have Nurses who understand their unique needs and experiences.

Opportunity For Learning

Having a diverse workforce not only provides Nurses with the opportunity to learn from each other's unique life experiences and cultures but also fosters a rich environment for collaboration and growth. Nurses from different racial and ethnic backgrounds bring a wealth of knowledge and perspectives to the table, allowing for a dynamic exchange of ideas and practices. This diversity enriches the overall care provided to patients, as Nurses can draw upon a wide range of insights and approaches to address the needs of individuals from various backgrounds. Embracing diversity within the Nursing profession not only enhances the quality of care but also promotes a culture of inclusion and understanding that benefits both healthcare providers and patients alike.

Racial concordance in Nursing can play a significant role in improving patient care, communication, trust, and health outcomes, particularly for racial and ethnic minority populations. However, it's essential to address the broader issues of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion within the healthcare workforce to ensure all patients receive high-quality, culturally sensitive care, regardless of the racial or ethnic background of their providers.

Topics: cultural competence, Diversity and Inclusion, culturally competent care, racial health disparities, DEI, Diversity in Health Care, racial concordance

Why Representation in Nursing is Important

Posted by Diversity Nursing

Fri, Dec 01, 2023 @ 09:32 AM

In the dynamic realm of healthcare, the significance of representation in Nursing cannot be overstated. Nurses are the backbone of healthcare, playing a pivotal role in patient care, advocacy, and community health.

As the profession continues to evolve, it is imperative the Nursing workforce reflects the diversity of the populations it serves.

Representation in Nursing goes beyond demographic statistics. It encompasses a rich tapestry of backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives that contribute to a more culturally competent approach to providing care. 

Here are a few reasons why representation in Nursing is important: 

Cultural Competence 

Patients come from diverse cultural backgrounds, and having Nurses who reflect this diversity helps in providing culturally competent care. Culturally competent Nurses understand the nuances of different cultural practices, beliefs, and values, leading to better communication and improved patient outcomes.

This cultural competence extends beyond language barriers and encompasses a deep understanding of the social, religious, and traditional aspects that shape a patient's identity and healthcare needs. When Nurses are able to appreciate and respect these cultural nuances, they can tailor their care to meet the unique needs of each patient.

For example, a Nurse who understands the cultural significance of certain foods in a patient's diet may be able to provide alternative options that are more appropriate, ensuring the patient feels heard and understood. Additionally, a Nurse who is aware of cultural norms around personal space and touch may adapt their approach to physical examinations to make the patient more comfortable.

Building Trust 

Patients often feel more comfortable and trusting when they see healthcare professionals who share similar backgrounds or experiences. This connection goes beyond the surface level, creating a sense of understanding and empathy that fosters a stronger therapeutic relationship. When patients can relate to their Nurses on a personal level, it encourages open communication, allowing for a more comprehensive understanding of their healthcare needs. This trust is not only essential for effective healthcare delivery, but it also plays a significant role in patient satisfaction and overall well-being.

Imagine a patient who is hesitant to share personal information or discuss sensitive health concerns with a Nurse who they perceive as distant or unable to comprehend their unique circumstances. However, when that patient encounters a Nurse who shares similar experiences or cultural background, a sense of relief washes over them. They feel validated and understood, knowing their Nurse has likely faced similar challenges or obstacles. This creates a safe space for open dialogue, enabling the Nurse to provide the most accurate and tailored care possible.

When patients can connect with their Nurses on a personal level, it humanizes the healthcare experience. It reminds patients their Nurses are not just medical professionals, but individuals who have their own stories, struggles, and triumphs. This shared humanity strengthens the therapeutic bond, allowing patients to feel seen, heard, and respected. It empowers them to actively participate in their healthcare decisions and collaborate with their Nurses to achieve optimal outcomes.

Reducing Health Disparities

Having a diverse Nursing workforce is crucial in addressing the disparities in healthcare access and outcomes certain populations may experience. By understanding and addressing the unique healthcare needs of different communities, a diverse Nursing workforce can contribute to more equitable healthcare delivery.

Health disparities can arise from a variety of factors, including socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity, sexual identity, religion, geographic location, etc. These disparities can lead to differences in access to healthcare services, quality of care, and health outcomes. For example, individuals from marginalized communities may face barriers such as language barriers, lack of culturally competent care, and limited access to healthcare facilities.

By having a diverse Nursing population that reflects the communities they serve, healthcare organizations can better understand and address these barriers. Nurses who come from similar backgrounds or have experience working with diverse populations can help bridge the gap between patients and healthcare services. They can provide culturally competent care, advocate for the unique needs of their communities, and promote health equity.

A diverse workforce also brings a range of perspectives and experiences to problem-solving. This diversity of thought can lead to innovative solutions for addressing healthcare disparities. Nurses who have firsthand experience with the challenges faced by certain populations can bring valuable insights to the table and help develop effective strategies for improving healthcare access and outcomes.

Improved Communication 

Language barriers and differences in communication styles can significantly impact the delivery of healthcare services. Effective communication between healthcare providers and patients is crucial for accurate diagnosis, treatment, and overall patient satisfaction. Nurses who are proficient in the same language as their patients or have a deep understanding of their communication norms can play a vital role in enhancing the quality of care by ensuring clear and accurate information exchange.

When language barriers exist, it can lead to misunderstandings, misinterpretations, and potential errors in healthcare delivery. This can be especially challenging when discussing symptoms, medical history, treatment options, and medication instructions. Nurses who are fluent in the same language as their patients can bridge this gap and facilitate effective communication, ensuring patients fully understand their condition, treatment plan, and any necessary lifestyle modifications.

Understanding the communication norms of patients from different cultural backgrounds is equally important. Communication styles can vary greatly across cultures, and what may be considered appropriate or respectful in one culture may not be in another. Nurses who are aware of these cultural norms can adapt their communication approach to ensure patients feel comfortable, heard, and respected. This not only enhances patient satisfaction but also promotes a more trusting and collaborative relationship between the Nurse and patient.

Enhancing Innovation 

Diversity in Nursing brings a variety of perspectives and approaches to problem-solving, fostering a culture of innovation and creativity within healthcare organizations. When Nurses from different backgrounds and experiences come together, they bring with them a wealth of knowledge and unique insights which can lead to development of groundbreaking solutions to address the complex challenges in healthcare.

A diverse Nursing workforce encourages collaboration and the exchange of ideas. When individuals with different backgrounds and experiences work together, they can learn from one another and combine their expertise to create innovative solutions. This cross-pollination of ideas can spark creativity and lead to the development of novel approaches that may not have been considered otherwise.

Career Aspirations and Role Modeling 

Representation in Nursing can inspire individuals from underrepresented groups to pursue careers in healthcare. When aspiring Nurses see professionals who look like them, it can serve as a powerful motivator and provide role models who have successfully navigated similar paths. This representation not only encourages diversity within the Nursing profession but also helps to address the disparities in healthcare access and outcomes that certain populations may face.

When individuals from underrepresented groups see Nurses who share their backgrounds and experiences, they are more likely to believe that a career in Nursing is attainable and they can overcome any barriers or challenges they may face. Seeing successful role models who have paved the way can instill a sense of possibility and determination in aspiring Nurses, empowering them to pursue their dreams and make a difference in healthcare.

Representation in Nursing can help break down the stereotypes and biases that may exist within the healthcare industry. By showcasing diverse Nurses who excel in their careers, it challenges the notion certain groups are not capable or qualified to pursue healthcare professions. This can lead to a more inclusive and equitable healthcare system, where individuals from all backgrounds have equal opportunities to succeed and contribute.

Policy and Advocacy 

Diverse representation in Nursing leadership and professional organizations is a critical aspect of influencing policy development and advocacy efforts in the healthcare industry. When decision-making tables are filled with individuals from a variety of backgrounds and experiences, it ensures policies are comprehensive and address the needs of all patients and healthcare professionals.

By including diverse perspectives in policy development, organizations can ensure the unique challenges and barriers faced by different populations are considered. This allows for the creation of policies that are inclusive, equitable, and responsive to the diverse needs of patients and healthcare providers.

Diversity in Nursing leadership and professional organizations can help shed light on the disparities that exist within the healthcare system. By amplifying the voices of underrepresented groups, these organizations can advocate for policy changes that address these disparities and work towards achieving health equity for all.

Having a variety of perspectives at the decision-making table also ensures policies are informed by a wide range of experiences and knowledge. This diversity of thought can lead to more innovative and effective solutions to the complex challenges facing the healthcare industry. By incorporating different viewpoints and ideas, organizations can develop policies that are forward-thinking and adaptable to the rapidly evolving healthcare landscape.

Representation in Nursing is not just about fairness and equal opportunities; it is an essential component of providing high-quality, patient-centered care. A diverse Nursing workforce contributes to improved health outcomes, increased patient satisfaction, and a healthcare system that is better equipped to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse population.

Topics: diversity in nursing, diversity in healthcare, diverse workforce, cultural diversity, diverse nurse, diversity in leadership roles, diversity nursing, Diversity in Health Care, diversity equity inclusion, representation

Health Systems Investing in DEI: A Closer Look

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Thu, Aug 10, 2023 @ 01:10 PM

Healthcare organizations and hospitals are making significant investments in initiatives focused on promoting Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in order to cultivate a dynamic and talented workforce for the future.

Johnson & Johnson has put its support behind two pilot programs aimed at setting Nurses up for success on campus and in healthcare settings.

The first program is a year-long leadership initiative developed by the National League for Nursing (NLN), an organization whose mission is to promote an inclusive nursing workforce and support nursing education. The NLN leadership program is designed to help students of color with a smooth transition from their last year of school to their first clinical job.

The second initiative is led by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), which represents more than 865 nursing schools nationwide. The AACN has developed a detailed online survey for student nurses to measure their sense of belonging in classrooms. The goal is to use the survey results to foster a more inclusive and encouraging culture on campuses.

Mass General Brigham and UMass Boston’s Manning College of Nursing and Health Sciences announced an expanded collaboration to enhance the college’s Clinical Leadership Collaborative for Diversity in Nursing program.

With a $20 million investment — $10 million from Mass General Brigham and $10 million from UMass Boston — the goal is to recruit and retain Nursing students from underrepresented communities as they start their clinical rotations. 

“Nurses are fundamental to the delivery of high-quality, compassionate healthcare to our patients,” said Dr. Anne Klibanski, president and CEO of Mass General Brigham. “There is an immense need to increase the pipeline of trained Nurses, with a concerted focus on increasing diversity among our trainees. This initiative is a powerful example of how collaboration can drive change to overcome monumental challenges in a meaningful way.” 

The Cleveland Clinic, MetroHealth and University Hospitals officially signed the Impact Workforce Commitment with the overall goal to find new opportunities, maximize the hiring process and train and retain the area's diverse talent.

"Through this partnership with the Healthcare Anchor Network, we literally have committed to walk the talk," said Alan Nevel, Senior Vice President Chief Equity and Community Impact Officer for Metro Health System.

The health system is creating learn-and-earn programs to amplify and support diversity, as well as hosting community health and job fairs year-round.

The United Health Foundation, the philanthropic arm of UnitedHealth Group, will invest $100 million over the next decade to drive a more diverse healthcare workforce.

Patricia L. Lewis, the company's Chief Sustainability Officer, said "We don't have enough people entering the workforce. Given all of what we've been through in the last few years, you can see just how taxing that will be on the healthcare system."
 

Investing in a diverse workforce has numerous benefits and advantages such as:

Better patient care and outcomes: Diverse healthcare teams can provide more comprehensive and culturally competent care to patients from various backgrounds. When healthcare professionals understand the unique needs and perspectives of their patient populations, they can deliver more effective and personalized treatments, leading to better health outcomes.

“When you’re a Nurse with a diverse background, you are likely to bring a differentiated perspective to patient care," explains Lynda Benton, Senior Director of Global Community Impact Strategic Initiatives of Johnson & Johnson Nursing. "You may have broader and deeper insights into patient beliefs, attitudes, ethnicities and perceptions. When patients see Nurses and other members of the medical team who look like them, it can remove barriers, open up conversations and ultimately improve access to quality care."

Enhanced patient satisfaction: Patients feel more comfortable and valued when they see diversity represented in their healthcare providers. Feeling understood and respected by their healthcare team contributes to higher patient satisfaction and better patient-provider communication.

Reducing health disparities: In many healthcare systems, certain minority groups experience disparities in access to care, treatment options, and health outcomes. By promoting diversity and inclusion, hospitals aim to address these disparities and provide equitable care to all patients.

Attracting and retaining talent: High turnover rates are prevalent in this industry, attributed not only to the demanding workload but also the treatment professionals experience. 

A Rutgers School of Nursing study found 63% of Nurses have experienced racism on the job. More than three-fourths of Black Nurses said racism negatively impacts their professional well-being. 

People are more likely to join and stay in an inclusive organization where they feel accepted, supported, valued, and have equal opportunities for growth and advancement.

Fostering innovation and creativity: A diverse workforce brings together individuals with different backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives, creating a mix of ideas and insights. This diversity of thought can foster a culture of innovation and creativity within healthcare settings, leading to more effective problem-solving and decision-making.

When healthcare professionals from diverse backgrounds collaborate, they bring forth a wide range of perspectives and approaches to address complex healthcare challenges. They can draw upon their unique experiences and knowledge to develop innovative strategies and solutions that may not have been considered otherwise.

Reputation and community trust: Healthcare organizations that prioritize diversity and inclusion can build a positive reputation in their communities. Patients and community members are more likely to trust and support organizations that demonstrate a commitment to inclusivity.

Cultural competence and language access: A diverse workforce can help bridge language and cultural barriers between patients and providers. This can improve communication and ensure that patients receive the information and care they need, regardless of their language or cultural background.

Economic benefits: Diverse and inclusive healthcare organizations have been associated with improved financial performance. Studies have shown that companies and institutions with diverse leadership teams tend to outperform their peers financially.

From a health care perspective, lack of equity translates to higher costs. “When we exclude particular populations, decrease access, increase barriers, or provide subpar care, then at the end of the day, those people are going to utilize health care dollars at a much higher rate,” says Mary Fleming, MD, President of the nonprofit Reede Scholars, Inc. and Program Director of the Leadership Development to Advance Equity in Health Care program at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Employee morale and productivity: Inclusive environments not only foster higher employee morale and satisfaction but also have a direct impact on the overall productivity and success of an organization. 

When employees feel supported and included, they are more likely to develop a sense of loyalty towards the organization. They become advocates for the company's mission and values, which can positively impact employee retention and reduce turnover rates.

Additionally, inclusive environments promote effective communication and collaboration among team members. When employees feel comfortable expressing their thoughts and opinions, it leads to open and honest discussions. This fosters a culture of trust and transparency, enabling teams to work together more efficiently and effectively towards shared objectives.

Furthermore, inclusivity promotes diversity in leadership roles. Employees see individuals from diverse backgrounds in positions of authority, and become inspired and motivated to reach their full potential. This representation not only boosts employee morale but also helps to break down barriers and biases, leading to a more inclusive and equitable workplace for everyone.

Compliance and legal requirements: Many countries have laws and regulations that promote diversity and equal opportunity in the workplace. Hospitals and health systems invest in D&I to comply with these legal requirements and create a safe and inclusive environment for their employees.

Overall, investing in DEI is not just a social responsibility but also a strategic decision that can lead to improved patient care, better employee satisfaction, and enhanced organizational performance for health systems and hospitals.

Topics: diversity in nursing, Diversity and Inclusion, diversity in healthcare, diverse workforce, diversity recruitment, diversity and inclusion in the workplace, DEI, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Diversity in Health Care, diversity equity inclusion, healthcare diversity

Frontier Nursing University Endows Scholarship Aimed at Increasing Diversity in Health Care

Posted by Frontier Nursing University

Tue, May 18, 2021 @ 12:10 PM

FNU logoVersailles, Ky. – Frontier Nursing University has endowed a new scholarship to support African American, Black, Native American, and Alaskan Native students. The scholarship, which will support 10 students per year, was established and approved by FNU’s Board of Directors during their quarterly meeting in April 2021.

The scholarship is in keeping with the University’s mission, which is “to provide accessible nurse-midwifery and nurse practitioner education to prepare competent, entrepreneurial, ethical, and compassionate leaders in primary care to serve all individuals with an emphasis on women and families in diverse, rural, and underserved populations.” The University’s focus on diverse, rural, and underserved populations is in response to the persistent health care disparities in the United States. 

“While our other endowed scholarships are needed by and available to students of all backgrounds, this particular scholarship is in direct response to the health disparities for the designated groups,” FNU President Dr. Susan Stone said. “Data demonstrates that culturally concordant care improves health care outcomes, which is why we have made increasing the diversity of the health care workforce a strategic priority at FNU.” 

A November 2020 study published by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that, among women with a college education or higher, Black women have a pregnancy-related mortality rate that is over five times higher than that of White women. The pregnancy-related mortality rate for Black women with a completed college education or higher is 1.6 times higher than the rate for White women with less than a high school diploma. 

Disparities are also prevalent elsewhere. A 2019 report by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) found that non-Hispanic Black persons were more than twice as likely as non-Hispanic or Pacific Islander persons to die of heart disease in 2017. Similarly, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reported that, in 2018,  American Indians and Alaska Natives were 50 percent more likely to be diagnosed with coronary heart disease than their white counterparts. The CDC also shared a report that found that 34% of COVID-19 deaths were among non-Hispanic Black people, though this group accounts for only 12% of the total U.S. population. 

“Diversity, equity, and inclusion have been a top priority at FNU for more than a decade,” FNU Board Chair Dr. Michael Carter said. “Not only do we know that these DEI initiatives are the right thing to do ethically, but the data clearly indicates that a well-prepared, diverse health care workforce is vital to improve medical outcomes for all people. The decision to endow this scholarship was data-driven and in direct alignment with the mission of the University.”

To establish this scholarship, FNU will designate $2.5 million to provide $100,000 in scholarships per year. This will be used to deliver ten $10,000 scholarships annually. Additionally, the fund will grow over time from investment and ongoing fundraising targeted for scholarships.

The new scholarship joins a comprehensive list of financial support for FNU’s students. Through the generosity of its supporters and donors, FNU will provide nearly $500,000  in endowed scholarships to students in 2021. 

“These scholarships are particularly important because, on average, despite our comparatively low tuition rates, many of our students graduate with nearly $60,000 in student loan debt,” Dr. Stone said. “Through awareness, fundraising efforts, and scholarships, we are committed to helping alleviate that burden. We want our graduates to be able to fully focus on being essential healthcare providers in their communities. However, due to the startling health outcomes for these specific groups, we knew we needed to address the needs of these particular students.” 

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About Frontier Nursing University:

The mission of FNU is to provide accessible nurse-midwifery and nurse practitioner education to prepare competent, entrepreneurial, ethical, and compassionate leaders in primary care to serve all individuals with an emphasis on women and families in diverse, rural, and underserved populations. FNU offers graduate Nurse-Midwifery and Nurse-Practitioner distance education programs that can be pursued full- or part-time with the student’s home community serving as the classroom. Degrees and options offered include Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP), Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), or Post-Graduate Certificates. To learn more about FNU and the programs and degrees offered, please visit Frontier.edu.

Topics: scholarship, Frontier Nursing University, diversity scholarship, Diversity in Health Care

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