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.

Learn More

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
  • 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.

  • Act Two: How to Fast-Track Your Career Change

    October 28, 2020

    In the October 2020 issue of Minority Nurse magazine, writer Jebra Turner contributed a new article on second-career professionals looking to transition into nursing titled Act Two: How to Fast-Track Your Career Change. Dr. Vernell DeWitty, AACN’s Director of Diversity and Inclusion, is featured and describes efforts to recruit more individuals from groups underrepresented in nursing into the profession via accelerated baccalaureate and master’s programs. Following the pandemic, Dr. DeWitty forecasts that the public will have a new appreciation for the contributions that nurses make to the health of this nation and addressing healthcare disparities.

  • New Call for Video Submissions on Diversity

    October 22, 2020

    AACN announced  a  call for videos for a new section of our Gallery of Leadership focused on addressing racism and inequality and fostering inclusive learning environments. We invite deans to submit a video and share insights on how your school is working to help end racism and foster equitable change.

  • How to Challenge Systemic Racism  

    October 2, 2020

    In the October 2 issue of Inside Higher Ed, Dr. Zachary S. Ritter, associate dean from California State University, Dominguez Hills, and Dr. Valyncia C. Raphael, equity, diversity, and inclusion strategist, offer some practice advice on How to Challenge Systemic Racism. The authors offer some short- and long-term concrete steps that higher education administrators and faculty members can take to make incremental and transformative change on campus and in the classroom, including changing your behavior and encouraging others to do so; using data to revise policies; and changing culture within your sphere of influence.

  • Combating Racism and Cultivating Inclusion 

    September 30, 2020

    In the September 30 issue of Rounds with Leadership, AACN Board Chair Dr. Susan Bakewell-Sachs and President and CEO, Dr. Deborah Trautman, discuss how as academic nursing leaders, we understand the integral role education plays in bringing marginalized groups and allies together. Moving towards a more diverse and inclusive nursing profession is essential to meeting the healthcare needs of the nation and reducing health disparities that for too long have existed among many underserved populations.

  • Influence of Climate and Culture on Minority Faculty Retention  

    August 31, 2020

    In the September 2020 issue of the Journal of Nursing Education, Dr. Vernell DeWitty, AACN’s Director of Diversity and Inclusion, co-authored a guest editorial with Dr. Teri Murray, Professor and Dean Emerita at Saint Louis University, titled Influence of Climate and Culture on Minority Faculty Retention. In response to the national dialogue about race, racism, inclusion, and belonging in academic nursing, Dr. DeWitty has led the development of a new survey instrument to capture the feelings and experiences of underrepresented minorities in nursing programs. 

  • New Race/Ethnicity Data Now Available Online 

    July 29, 2020

    Race/ethnicity data from AACN's 2019 annual survey on enrollment and graduation in baccalaureate and graduate degree programs in nursing is now available.

  • Diversity Digest: Summer 2020 Edition

    July 22, 2020

    This edition's theme: Diversity & Inclusion Implications/Considerations during COVID-19. Read about inclusive teaching, why talking about systemic racism matters, and more.

  • AACN Statement on Academic Nursing's Call for Liberty and Justice for All

    June 2, 2020

    As the nation struggles to come to terms with the senseless, tragic killing of George Floyd, and those before him, the time has come to send a clear message that injustice and racism will no longer be tolerated. Together, academic nursing leaders and the larger healthcare community must rally against pervasive inequities in society and move forward with empathy, inclusiveness, and collective action.

  • Diversity Digest: Spring 2020 Edition

    April 9, 2020

    A quarterly newsletter that highlights AACN's diversity and inclusion (D&I) initiatives along with efforts from AACN member schools promoting D&I in the academic nursing community.

  • AACN Seeks Faculty for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Group

    March 26, 2020

    AACN is currently seeking faculty members to serve as a convening body to unite expertise, experience, and guidance for academic nursing in Leading Across Differences.

  • Latest Data on Race and Ethnicity
  • Leading Across Differences

    April 4, 2019

    On April 4, the Journal of Nursing Education posted a new guest editorial by Dr. Vernell DeWitty, AACN’s Director of Diversity and Inclusion, titled “Leading Across Differences.” With the goal of enhancing diversity, equity, and inclusion in the nursing student population and the healthcare workforce, Dr. DeWitty points to the power of academic-practice partnerships to help achieve this shared goal. In the editorial, she describes how “collaborative opportunities exist at the intersection of nursing education and nursing practice, where advancing diversity in the workforce becomes a reality.”

  • New Careers in Nursing Nationwide 2007-2017 Database Now Available

    July 25, 2018

    The New Careers in Nursing Nationwide, 2007-2017 database was designed to evaluate the New Careers in Nursing (NCIN) program. NCIN aimed to provide a streamlined pathway for those individuals who held a bachelor degree but no healthcare experience, to diversify the nursing workforce by identifying underrepresented minorities who were interested in the nursing profession, and to provide individuals with leadership and mentoring opportunities and allow them to cultivate skills as future nursing educators.

  • AACN Diversity & Inclusion Member Needs Survey

    April 4, 2018

    The AACN Diversity and Inclusion Committee request AACN Member School Deans/Directors/Chairs participation in the first Diversity & Inclusion Member Needs Survey. We aim to understand diversity and inclusion awareness, programming and initiatives for students, staff and faculty at your nursing school and institution.

  • Drs. Bankston and Glazer to Receive Nurse.com OnCourse Learning Diversity Award

    March 21, 2018

    AACN and Nurse.com by OnCourse Learning joined forces to create this award that recognizes outstanding contributions made by an individual or a group that champion diversity, inclusion, and sustainability in nursing education. 

  • New Bid to Overhaul College Admissions - Inside Higher Education

    January 22, 2018

    Editor Scott Jaschik profiles how a number of high school districts and a few states have moved to require high school students to complete more sophisticated projects to assess their eligibility for a high school diploma, and their preparation for college and the world of work. This new approach provides new ways for college admissions officers to determine student achievement and is used in some institutions to enhance efforts to admit and retain a more diverse group of students.

  • AACN Partners with 24 Nursing Schools to Advance Holistic Admission Review

    August 30, 2017

    AACN developed a structured NWD Technical Assistance Program that features an assessment of admissions practices, an on-site Holistic Admissions Review workshop, student recruitment and retention strategies, and models for building a successful mentoring program. A total of 24 out of 30 NWD grant recipients are working with AACN to complete the required training.

  • Membership Approves Position Statement on Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity in Academic Nursing

    March 20, 2017

    During the business meeting of AACN’s Spring Annual Meeting (held March 20, 2017 in Washington, DC), an overwhelming majority of members in attendance voted to adopt the Position Statement on Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity in Academic Nursing.

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


Congrats to Dr. Mary Koithan!

Photo of Dr. Mary Koithan - 2019 Award Recipient of the Diversity Award

2020 Award Winner

Diversity, Inclusion, and Sustainability in Nursing Education Lectureship Award

AACN's diversity award recognizes outstanding contributions made by an individual or a group that champion diversity, inclusion, and sustainability in nursing education. 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