HEED Award

UWSON receives 2017 Health Professions Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award

HEED Health Professions AwardThe University of Washington School of Nursing received the 2017 Health Professions Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, the oldest and largest diversity-focused publication in higher education.

The Health Professions HEED Award is a national honor recognizing U.S. medical, dental, pharmacy, osteopathic, nursing, veterinary and allied health schools that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion. As a recipient, the UW School of Nursing will be featured, along with 23 other recipients, in the December 2017 issue of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine.

“Receiving the HEED award is a truly overwhelming honor,” said Dr. Butch de Castro, associate dean of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at the UW School of Nursing. “It emboldens us to reach higher and farther, setting new standards for the UW School of Nursing that inspires what can be possible. We are committed to building on the collective contributions and accomplishments of faculty, staff, and students to create a genuine reputation as the place where diversity is not just a value, but imbues all that we do.”

This prestigious award acknowledges and validates that the collective work of our school’s faculty, staff and students, as well as our community and clinical partners, is making a profound difference in our school and in the way healthcare is delivered, said Carolyn Chow, Director of Admissions and Student Diversity.

“Diversity, equity and inclusion continue to be pressing needs facing our society,” Chow said. “I am proud of the collaborative work in these areas by so many people who have committed themselves to this cause over such a long period of time. It is an honor to see this collaboration result in our school’s success, but more importantly, positively impact the future of nursing, and the way the next generation of nurses deliver healthcare.”

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, said Lenore Pearlstein, publisher of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine.

“We take a holistic approach to reviewing each application in deciding who will be named a HEED Award recipient,” Pearlstein said. “Our standards are high, and we look for institutions where diversity and inclusion are woven into the work being accomplished every day across their campus.”

DEI initiatives

Three of the school’s initiatives were highlighted as part of the award process.

UW Nurse Camp

UW Nurse Camp is a free, week-long day camp at the UW School of Nursing that creates opportunities in nursing for underrepresented high school students and high school students who would be the first in their family to go to college. The program is jointly sponsored by the UW School of Nursing, UW Medical Center and the School of Nursing Diversity Awareness Group.

UW Nurse Camp not only teaches students about nursing, but provides encouragement and support for kids who might not have believed it possible to pursue a nursing career.

Since UW Nurse Camp’s inception in 2009, 51 percent of former campers have entered nursing programs and 96 percent have entered college where, as in the application process, less than 12 percent of the parents and guardians report that they anticipate their child will attend college. Former campers coming to the UW School of Nursing have directly contributed to increased enrollment and support of underrepresented and first-generation students who normally would not have through college, including nursing education, would be an option available to them.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Strategic Action Plan

Fostering an open, inclusive, equitable and welcoming environment continues to be one of the UW School of Nursing’s top priorities, championed by the school’s senior leadership, as well as faculty, staff, students and community partners.

The UW School of Nursing Diversity Committee, with leadership from Dean Emeritus Nancy Fugate Woods, developed a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Strategic Action Plan with input from faculty, staff and students, as well as other stakeholders. The plan was designed to establish procedures and resources that ensure all aspects of our school are equitable and inclusive. The plan is being implemented.

Recent accomplishments include:

  • Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion: We formally established the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI), and implemented a three-prong representation model for staff, students and faculty. We created the Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion position. Woods held the position on an interim basis while the school conducted a national search for candidates.
  • Data: We began collecting data related to equity, diversity, and inclusion for students enrolled in the BSN, MS, DNP and Ph.D. programs, staff and faculty. The data is now being utilized by school administration for strategic goal-setting.
  • Search committee training: Faculty search committees received training and best practices for conducting inclusive faculty searches and for fostering supportive collegial environments.
  • Education: This year, 59 members of the School of Nursing community participated in Safer Zone training. UW Nurse Camp expanded from 24 students in 2015 to 30 in 2017. We provided training for students caring for populations who identify as transgender and LGBTQ.
  • Leadership: School of Nursing leadership committees, including the Shared Leadership Committee and the Executive Committee, now include the Associate Dean for DEI. Nancy Woods, former interim associate dean for DEI, presented at the American Academy of Colleges of Nursing annual meeting in 2017. The AACN will model their diversity statement and initiatives, in part, after the UW School of Nursing’s diversity initiative. Dean Azita Emami serves on the AACN Committee on Diversity.
  • Fellowship: The Diversity Committee facilitated, led and sponsored 13 gatherings, such as potlucks, Conversations for Health Equity, the annual Black History Month Celebration and Tent City 3 events.

Western Washington Chapter of National Association of Hispanic Nurses

The UW School of Nursing is the co-founder and co-sponsor of the Western Washington Chapter of National Association of Hispanic Nurses. Our local WW-NAHN provides a means of academic, peer, professional, financial (scholarships), community building, and cross-cultural support for Latinx students, faculty and staff at the University of Washington School of Nursing.

The organization collaborates to advance nursing workforce diversity to eliminate health disparities. Their strategies include:

  • Mentoring and “in-time” advising to ensure recruitment and retention of Latinx students
  • Supporting the UW School of Nursing’s diversity and inclusion work with prospective and enrolled students who self-identify as Deferred Action Childhood Arrivals (DACA)
  • Aligning the school’s Community Health Nursing & Social Determinants of Health curricula with extracurricular volunteer opportunities that enhance the Latinx patient/client health outcomes
  • Aligning the school’s Health Policy curriculum with civic engagement opportunities
  • Guiding students in their trajectories to developing after college professional goals
  • Providing/identifying health disparities research to advance marginalized and underserved Latinx populations

History of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at the UW School of Nursing

Since the early 1990s, nursing has been challenged to expose and change institutionalized systems of white privilege and dominance, and to include antiracist education in nursing curriculum and diversity work.

But until recently curriculum and content focused heavily on cultural congruency, rather than antiracist education. As a result, institutionalized structures of white privilege and racism remained.

The UW School of Nursing made a conscious decision to move an emancipatory framework of antiracism into the nursing mainstream. The school developed and implemented a project designed to challenge and transform our climate of white privilege. They did this not because the program was particularly racist or due to a special case of racism, but to acknowledge that the institutional default is racist. The school believed that to not address racism was to actively collude with racism.

The project was funded by a diversity grant from the University of Washington and the school. An article published in 2010 in Advances in Nursing Science describes a project designed to change the climate of whiteness in academic nursing.

As part of the program, the school established a diversity committee, a diversity statement and a training program for faculty to counter unconscious biases. The school has since created and implemented a strategic action plan for diversity, equity and inclusion, an Office for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion led by an associate dean.

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