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Diversity Digest Newsletter: Fall 2021

Published October 21, 2021

AACN's Diversity Digest Newsletter
Fall 2021 Edition
Welcome to AACN's Diversity Digest Newsletter!
The Diversity Digest is a quarterly newsletter that highlights AACN's diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives and efforts from AACN member schools promoting DEI in the academic nursing community. Please send details about your school's DEI initiatives to
For more information on AACN’s diversity initiatives, visit the AACN website.
In This Edition:
  • Introducing AACN's New Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)
  • School Spotlight: Saint Louis University
  • Key Opportunities to Consider
  • New and Upcoming Resources for Faculty and Leadership
  • ...and more! 
AACN Welcomes New Director of DEI
Photo - Wanda ThrustonOn November 1, Wanda Thruston, DNP, PNP, RN, will join the AACN staff as Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. For nearly 40 years, Dr. Thruston has been a maternal and child health nurse, nurse practitioner, public health administrator, and educator. She opened school-based health clinics; developed health promotion programs for students who are pregnant or parenting; and provided health care in inner-city clinics. Dr. Thruston comes to AACN from Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis School of Nursing where she was Special Assistant to the Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and a clinical assistant professor. Her research focuses on the social and emotional health of K-12 schoolchildren and school personnel and using implementation science to advance evidence-based practices. Dr. Thruston holds master’s and doctoral degrees from the Indiana University School of Nursing and a bachelor’s degree from DePaul University. She is a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar fellow and a Charles A. Bantz Community Engaged Scholar. Please join us in welcoming Dr. Thruston!
School Spotlight: Saint Louis University
Building Inclusive Communities
By Teri A. Murray, PhD, PHNA-BC, RN, ANEF, FAAN  
Professor, Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, and Dean Emerita, Saint Louis University
As the inaugural Chief Diversity Officer at Saint Louis University, Trudy Busch Valentine School of Nursing, one charge from the Dean was to create a strategy and process to support an environment of inclusive excellence. Inclusive excellence is a comprehensive organizational change effort that repositions diversity and inclusion as fundamental to institutional excellence and drives change across every dimension of the institutional environment. A strategic framework was developed based on a literature review with five focus areas requisite for building an inclusive community.
  • Leadership to Promote Inclusive Excellence 
  • Recruit, Retain, and Develop Diverse Faculty and Staff
  • Student Service Engagement and Delivery: Recruit and Retain Diverse and Talented Students
  • Community Engagement: Internal and External Communities and Organizations
  • Research and Scholarship: Advance Health Equity, Reduce Disparities Based on Social Determinants of Health, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
It was critically important that the community (administration, faculty, staff, and students) had a clear and shared understanding of the meaning of diversity, equity, and inclusion so that the collective could be on one accord when using the terms. To that end, school-wide definitions were adopted using leading organizations' and associations definitions as a guide, working in concert with the faculty and staff. 
Opportunities to Consider
November 9-10, 2021
AACN's Virtual Diversity Symposium
Diversity Symposium - November 9-10, 2021 Strategize and Mobilize: Implementing DEI in Academic Nursing
The 2021 Diversity Symposium is quickly approaching and will be held virtually this year on November 9-10, 2021. This year, the symposium’s theme is Strategize and Mobilize: Implementing DEI in Academic Nursing.
Individuals interested in advancing diversity and creating more inclusive learning environments should attend this symposium. Inclusive excellence embodies both quality and diversity. This year's symposium will focus on the need for assessing and implementing a comprehensive process for preparing a more diverse nursing workforce to provide high-quality care, which is critical to addressing healthcare disparities and health inequities.
Glenn Singleton, this year's keynote speaker, will share the importance for every one of us to engage in authentic, honest, and challenging conversations about race, racial equity, and racial justice. Mr. Singleton has devoted over thirty years to constructing racial equity worldwide and developing leaders to do the same. He is the award-winning author of Courageous Conversations About Race; A Field Guide for Achieving Equity in Schools (3rd edition); and MORE Courageous Conversations About Race.
Author, thought leader, and strategist, Mr. Singleton is the creator of Courageous Conversation™, a protocol and framework for sustained, deepened dialogue, and Beyond Diversity™, the curriculum that he has shared with hundreds of thousands of people. He is the Founder and President of Courageous Conversation™, an agency that guides leadership development in education, government, corporation, law enforcement, and community organizing. Don't miss out on this year's Diversity Symposium!  
AACN Diversity Leadership Institute 
Application Deadline Extended
Diversity Leadership Institute - For academic nursing leaders committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion
AACN’s Diversity Leadership Institute provides an overview of the evolution of diversity and inclusion and the role of Diversity Officers in academic nursing and nursing practice. The program frames diversity within the context of higher education and academic nursing while presenting high-involvement diversity practices in teams and with individual leaders. Please see below for a video testimonial. 
Application Deadline: November 15, 2021. 
Make Meaningful Connections at the Diversity Leadership Institute
Resources for Faculty and Leadership
Webinar: Applying Social Determinants of Learning™ to Guide Holistic Admissions 
Plan to Participate in AACN's Next DEI-Focused Webinar

The National Academy of Medicine’s Future of Nursing 2020-2030 Report highlights the importance of holistic admissions and how greater racial and ethnic diversity in nursing is critical to advancing health equity. Despite the numerous factors that hinder efforts to diversify the nursing workforce and implement holistic admissions, some schools have been successful.
Our upcoming webinar, to be held Tuesday, November 2 at 2:00 PM (ET), emphasizes upstream approaches that center on educational justice and mitigate barriers to diversifying the workforce. Using the social determinants of health model as a foundation, this webinar will reveal how the Social Determinants of Learning™ framework can be used to reconcile educational injustices, strengthen diversity, and advance health equity.
New Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Faculty Tool Kit Available

In August 2021, AACN released the Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Faculty Tool Kit. The DEI tool kit is designed to help schools of nursing expand the capacity of faculty to grow personally and professionally and recognize challenges, barriers, and opportunities to promoting inclusive academic excellence.
The new tool kit is designed to:
  • Align the dimensions of the Inclusive Excellence Ecosystem for Academic Nursing to assist nursing schools with organizing and guiding diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts.
  • Inform nursing schools of promising practices and strategies for promoting DEI and fostering inclusive excellence. 
  • Assist faculty with promoting and welcoming academic environments that embrace diverse life experiences, perspectives, and backgrounds.
  • Serve as a catalyst for reflection and assessment of current pedagogy, teaching methods, and curricular strategies for inclusive teaching and learning environments.
Click the button below to download the toolkit. We also encourage you to share with your colleagues! 
Save the Dates: Upcoming Inclusive Excellence Webinar Series
This webinar series is designed to highlight the resources and recommendations presented in AACN’s recently released Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Faculty Tool Kit. Each session will feature opportunities for dialogue and discussion led by members of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Leadership Network who contributed to the development of the tool kit. Be sure to save the dates below and check the AACN website later for these upcoming webinars!
may10millhearts.pngSession 1: Institutional Viability and Capacity
Friday, November 19 @ 2:00 pm (ET) 
may10millhearts.pngSession 2: Access and Success 
Thursday, December 9 @ 2:00 pm (ET) 
may10millhearts.pngSession 3: Climate and Intergroup Relations
Wednesday, January 26 @ 2:00 pm (ET) 
may10millhearts.pngSession 4: Education and Scholarship
Wednesday, February 19 @ 2:00 pm (ET) 
Online registration will be available soon on AACN's website.

Diversity, Equity, and Leadership Network

Diversity, Inclusion, and Sustainability in Nursing Education Lectureship Award – Apply Now!

AACN is currently accepting applications for the 2021-2022 Diversity, Inclusion, and Sustainability in Nursing Education Lectureship Award. This award recognizes outstanding contributions made by schools of nursing that champion diversity, inclusion, and sustainability in nursing education. Annual awards may be made to one school in each of the following categories: Public Colleges/Universities, Private College/Universities, Small Liberal Arts Colleges, and Academic Health Centers.
Diversity is defined as individual attributes that extend beyond race, age, and gender to also include, but not be limited to, characteristics such as national origin, immigrant status, language, color, disability, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, socioeconomic status, veteran status, and family structures. Inclusion is defined as a culture that encourages collaboration, flexibility, and fairness as well as leverages diversity so that all individuals can participate and contribute to their full potential. An inclusive environment must be created for diversity to flourish. Sustainability occurs when structures and strategies, to manage diversity and institutionalize a culture of inclusion, are in place.
Nominations are due January 15, 2022. 
Articles and News Stories of Interest
Becoming a Great Mentor
"True mentors do much more, from serving as role models to helping incubate research projects to bringing protégés into a network of colleagues. Unfortunately, only a quarter of college graduates report having had any professor who cared about them, and fewer report having had a mentor, according to a large 2014 Gallup–Purdue University study."
Colleges Should Research DEI on Their Own Campuses
"By definition, all self-respecting colleges and universities have excellent social science faculty working in departments and centers who are contributing new basic knowledge on equity and inclusion. Sadly, however, that knowledge is rarely applied to the institutions themselves."
One Year Later, a New Wave of Pandemic Health Concerns
"On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic. Within a week, millions went home to shelter in place for what they thought would be a few weeks, hoping that their sacrifice would stop the spread of the coronavirus. One year later, more than 500,000 U.S. residents have died from the coronavirus, while the nation also has grappled with racial injustice, a brutal election cycle and civil unrest."
Read the full article >>