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About the American Association of Colleges of Nursing
The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) is the national voice for academic nursing representing more than 850 schools of nursing nationwide. AACN establishes quality standards for nursing education, influences the nursing profession to improve health care, and promotes public support of baccalaureate and graduate nursing education, research, and practice. 



AACN Launches New Initiatives to Maximize Academic Nursing's Role in Shaping Health Policy

Published October 23, 2015

AACN Launches New Initiatives to Maximize 
Academic Nursing's Role in Shaping Health Policy


WASHINGTON, D.C., October 23, 2015 – The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) is pleased to announce three initiatives that promote greater engagement of nurses in the health policy arena and develop new thought leaders for the profession. AACN's Health Policy Advisory Council (HPAC), Faculty Policy Think Tank, and Invitational Policy Faculty Symposium will help facilitate a larger footprint for the profession locally and globally on issues impacting health and healthcare
"I am delighted that these initiatives are moving swiftly to fruition during this critical time of healthcare transformation" said AACN President Eileen T. Breslin. "I look forward to the impact these initiatives will have on elevating nursing's influence on lawmakers as well as how the association can ignite a passion for meaningful policy change in future generations of nurses." 
In January 2015, the AACN Board of Directors approved a proposal to maximize the role of academic nursing in health policy. The Health Policy Advisory Council was created to provide contextual guidance to the association on issues that require insight from nursing academia. The ten members of the Council were selected for their diverse expertise in a variety of healthcare areas that range from rural health, care of the aging population, workforce trends, health literacy, and models of care. HPAC will assist in propelling the association towards advancing nursing's voice in national health policy discussions. 

Members of the Health Policy Advisory Council include:  

  • Julie Sochalski, Chair, University of Pennsylvania
  • Sally Cohen, New York University
  • Sharron Crowder, Indiana University-Purdue University
  • Eileen Fry-Bowers, University of San Diego
  • Kristy Kiel Martyn, Emory University
  • Jacqueline Merrill, Columbia University
  • Kenneth Miller, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio
  • Nancy Ridenour, University of New Mexico
  • Casey Shillam, University of Portland
  • Olga Yakusheva, University of Michigan 

To complement this work, the Board also moved to create a Faculty Policy Think Tank to provide critical insights into the state of policy education in undergraduate and graduate nursing programs. While the AACN Essentials Series requires content- at all program levels- in health policy and advocacy, delivery of this subject matter varies widely. Therefore, the Think Tank will inform and improve the state of health policy education in undergraduate and graduate nursing programs. The ultimate goal is to create a generation of future practitioners who understand the macro and micro drivers that impact policy and have the ability to skillfully insert nursing expertise in these discussions at all levels. 

Members of the Faculty Policy Think Tank include:  

  • Darlene Curley – Co-Chair, Jonas Center for Nursing and Veterans Healthcare
  • Nancy Short – Co-Chair, Duke University
  • Lillia Loriz – Government Affairs Committee Liaison, University of North Florida
  • Julie Sochalski – HPAC Liaison, University of Pennsylvania
  • Amy Anderson – Member, Indiana Wesleyan University
  • Christine Anderson – Member, University of Michigan
  • Patricia Brennan – Member, Samuel Merritt University
  • Camille Burnett – Member, University of Virginia
  • David LaFevers – Member, University of Missouri-Kansas City
  • Norma Martinez Rogers - Member, University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio
  • Ashley Waddell – Student Member, University of Massachusetts, Boston 

Finally, the Invitational Policy Faculty Symposium and the Policy Faculty Survey have been developed to inform the work of the Faculty Policy Think Tank. The Symposium is a day and a half of dialogue that will engage faculty from across the nation to discuss the current state and future implications of health policy education in schools of nursing. Participants will have the opportunity to hear from experts within the field of health policy, advocacy, and research. To complement the Symposium and further inform the Think Tank, a Policy Faculty Survey has been designed by the 2015 Faculty Policy Intensive Fellows, which will assess the current state of health policy pedagogy in schools of nursing. Understanding the nuances of how faculty currently teach health policy to nursing students is necessary in order to keep pace with recent and future transformations in health care and health policy. 
For more information on AACN's Policy and Advocacy initiatives, 
click here.