Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

AACN is a primary advocate for advancing diversity and inclusivity within academic nursing.

Join the New Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Leadership Network (DEILN)

DEILN supports the efforts of AACN member institutions to identify effective strategies for advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion in academic nursing and the nursing workforce.  

Membership in DEILN is open to all faculty, deans, and staff with an interest in advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion. This network will be of particular interest to diversity officers, administrators responsible for multicultural/diversity affairs, and those serving in or aspiring to similar roles.

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The Importance of Holistic Admissions Workshops

Dr. Deborah Jones of the University of Texas Medical Branch explains the benefits of Holistic Admissions workshops, and the importance of "putting action behind the vision" when it comes to diversity among nursing students, and inclusion in the admissions process.

Why Enhancing Diversity is Important in Nursing Education

Dr. Jean Giddens from Virginia Commonwealth University discusses the importance and need for diversity at schools of nursing. She also highlights how they were able to adopt holistic admissions through faculty workshops and their new strategic plan.

Diversity in the News

  • 3 Nursing Schools that Have Put Diversity and Inclusion at the Forefront

    December 20, 2021

    In the December 20, 2021 issue of Health Leaders, nursing editor Carol Davis profiles groundbreaking initiatives underway at three nursing schools to advance diversity and inclusion, including Chamberlain University’s Social Determinants of Learning framework, Columbia University’s new Center for Sexual and Gender Minority Health Research, and Frontier Nursing University’s Diversity Impact Program.

  • AACN Recognizes Three Schools for Advancing Diversity, Inclusion, and Sustainability in Academic Nursing

    November 22, 2021

    Schools recognized this year for their strong commitment to diversity, inclusion, health equity, cultural humility, and community outreach include Augusta University (Georgia), Frontier Nursing University (Kentucky), and the University of Illinois Chicago.

  • New Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Faculty Tool Kit Now Available

    August 31, 2021


  • AACN Rounds with Leadership: Accelerating Momentum for Change

    July 28, 2021

    Meet AACN’s New Chief Diversity Officer, Dr. Vernell Dewitty and see AACN’s latest steps to serve as a primary advocate for advancing DEI-focused initiatives in academic nursing.

  • AACN Launches New Leadership Network with DEI Focus

    July 26, 2021

    In keeping with our strategic priorities, AACN is pleased to announce the launch of its eighth Leadership Network: The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Leadership Network (DEILN). This latest network grew out of AACN’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Group (DEIG), which was launched in 2018 to bring nursing school faculty and staff together to provide guidance to AACN and member schools on meeting diversity goals. With membership in DEIG now surpassing 120, AACN moved to evolve this advisory group into an official Leadership Network.

  • Now Accepting Applications for the 2022 Diversity Leadership Institute

    July 9, 2021

    The central focus of the Diversity Leadership Institute is to provide an overview of the evolution of diversity and inclusion and the role of Diversity Officers in academic nursing and nursing practice. Applications must be submitted by November 1, 2021.

  • Call for Abstracts for AACN's Virtual Diversity Symposium

    June 24, 2021

    AACN is currently seeking abstracts for virtual poster or podium presentations for the 2021 Diversity Symposium, which reflect the theme Strategize & Mobilize: Implementing DEI in Academic Nursing. Submissions are due by 5:00 pm (ET) on Monday, August 30, 2021.

  • Recruiting Underrepresented Students for Nursing Schools

    February 24, 2021

    In the latest issue of Creative Nursing (Volume 27, Issue 1), Dr. Vernell DeWitty, AACN’s Director of Diversity and Inclusion, and Dr. David Byrd published a new article titled Recruiting Underrepresented Students for Nursing Schools. The authors present strategies for diversifying the nursing student population, which include building strategic partnerships, employing technology solutions to enhance recruitment efforts, and launching a holistic admissions review process.

  • Leading Nursing Organizations Launch the National Commission to Address Racism in Nursing

    January 25, 2021

    The Commission will examine the issue of racism within nursing nationwide and describe the impact on nurses, patients, communities, and health care systems to motivate all nurses to confront systemic racism.  Dr. Vernell DeWitty,  AACN's Director for Diversity and Inclusion will represent AACN at the Commission. 

  • AACN Issues New White Paper to Support Diversity and Inclusion Efforts

    December 15, 2020

    As a primary advocate for advancing diversity and inclusion within schools of nursing, AACN is pleased to announce that its Board of Directors has endorsed a new white paper titled Promising Practices in Holistic Admissions Review: Implementation in Academic Nursing. This new resource provides a roadmap for schools looking to recruit more students from underrepresented groups into the nursing profession using evidence-based strategies and admissions redesign.

View all past news

Featured School Video

University of Virginia
Becoming an Anti-Racist School

Watch the video below on how students, faculty, and staff are deepening their understanding of racism and bias. Read more here


Congratulations to the 2021 Award Recipients!

Dr. Pamela Cook

Public Colleges and Universities:

Dr. Pamela Cook
Interim Associat Dean, Student Affairs
Augusta University, Augusta, GA

Dr. Geraldine Young

Private Colleges and Universities:

Dr. Geraldine Q. Young
Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer
Frontier Nursing University, Versailles, KY

Dr. Phoenix Matthews

Academic Health Centers:

Dr. Phoenix Matthews
Associate Dean for Equity and Inclusion in the College of Nursing
University of Illinois Chicago, Chicago, IL

See past award winners >>

Featured Resources

Holistic Admission Review Training

This workshop training  is designed to help universities consider a broad range of factors reflecting the applicant’s academic readiness, contribution to the incoming class, and potential for success both in school and later as a professional.  For more information contact Vernell DeWitty at vdewitty@aacnnursing.org.

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Holistic Admission Review Tool Kit

See the latest resource for holistic review, an effective admissions strategy that assesses an applicant’s unique experiences alongside traditional measures of academic achievement. 

Access Tool Kit