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

  • Diversity Continues to Increase in Nursing Schools

    May 23, 2022

    See five-year data trend that shows variation in the enrollment of total minorities and state-by-state breakdown of diversity representation in 2021.

  • AACN Seeks Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer

    May 17, 2022

    AACN is currently accepting applications for the position of Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer serves as the expert on diversity, equity, and inclusivity (DEI). The individual works as a key resource to the President and Chief Executive Officer providing support and guidance in initiatives and goals related to the areas of DEI. The individual also works in collaboration with the senior leadership, and various committees to proactively develop and implement plans and strategies to guide, support and actively engage the policies that support DEI initiatives of the Association.

  • Read the Spring Edition of the Diversity Digest Newsletter

    April 29, 2022

    In This Edition: Isabel Wilkerson’s Caste: Understanding Bias and Racism’s Impact on Health; Diversity, Inclusion, and Sustainability in Nursing Education Lectureship Award; Save the Date: 2022 Diversity Symposium and AACN Culture and Climate Survey Recruitment.

  • Call for Pilot Schools

    March 23, 2022

    To test the new online platform created for the Leading Across Multidimensional Perspectives (LAMP©) Culture and Climate Survey, AACN is currently seeking schools of nursing to be among the first to use this new resource. All types of institutions are encouraged to apply, including small schools, public and private universities, academic health centers, liberal arts schools, and colleges located in rural and urban areas. Schools seeking to participate must complete this brief application form. For more information on this initiative read the LAMP Culture and Climate Survey Overview. If you have any questions, please contact AACN’s Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer Dr. Vernell DeWitty at vdewitty@aacnnursing.org.

  • AACN's Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer Shares Insight on Building a Strategic Approach to DEI on Nightingale Podcast

    February 2, 2022

    The UT Health San Antonio's Nightingale Podcast series highlights notable and famous figures in nursing who have made an impact on the nursing profession and health care delivery. This series also shares perspectives on diversity, equity and inclusion as it relates to nursing and health professionals. The most recent episode features Dr. Vernell DeWitty, AACN's Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer. In the episode, Dr. DrWitty advises the nation’s top academic nursing leaders on building consensus and a strategic approach to diversity and inclusion.

  • Read the latest Diversity Digest Newsletter

    January 27, 2022

    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.

  • Call for Public Comment - The 2022 National Commission to Address Racism in Nursing Foundational Report

    January 19, 2022

    The National Commission to Address Racism in Nursing is seeking public comments for The 2022 National Commission to Address Racism in Nursing Foundational Report. The report and instructions for how to provide comments are available here. Deadline to submit comments is February 14.

  • 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 Admissions Review Tool Kit & Workshop Training

See the latest tool kit for holistic admissions review, an effective admissions strategy that assesses an applicant’s unique experiences alongside traditional measures of academic achievement. In addition to the tool kit , AACN offers workshop training  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.

Access Tool Kit & Training Request Form