School of Nursing

February 1, 2021

Celebrating and honoring Black History Month

It is often said that to look forward, we must look back. As we celebrate Black History Month, we intend to try and do both.

As a school, we will take time to honor the history of Black leaders in healthcare, notably nurses like Mary Eliza Mahoney and Estelle Massey Osborne. Both made their mark by breaking race and gender barriers amidst racial discrimination in nursing education and in the nursing profession.

We will also reckon with the sinister and detrimental effects racism has on the health and well-being of Black communities. The creation and perpetuation of anti-Blackness within a system that promotes white supremacy by the healthcare industry and professions is at the root of clinical negligence and abuse, unethical scientific experimentation and inhumane treatment of Black people. The historical and contemporary fear and mistrust of healthcare professionals and our healthcare system is legitimate.  Nurses and nurse educators must commit to disrupting and dismantling this terrible legacy.

As part of that commitment, we acknowledge our school’s role and responsibility to modifying racist teaching practices and curriculum, promoting community-driven antiracism research, and supporting students from underrepresented and historically excluded groups.  We will also work with and support our faculty and instructors in applying antiracist principles to clinical practice, organizational operations, and health-related policy. This is necessary work, and, we will need to create space for all with stake in our school to participate and listen. This is necessary to move forward.

During this month, we will also honor the faculty, students, and alumni of our school whose work illustrates how nursing plays a critical role in improving health outcomes.  Their groundbreaking research, leadership, and commitment to being anti-racist inspiringly shows us how nursing plays a critical role in recognizing ways Black communities are disproportionately and profoundly impacted by racism.

Please join me in celebrating Black History Month by reflecting on our past and looking to our future.

Content celebrating Black History Month and highlighting our work in anti-racism in nursing will be featured on our social media channels: