Past Award Recipients of DEI Award

2022 Winners

This AACN 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. The winners will address the membership at AACN’s virtual Diversity Symposium planned for November 9-10, 2022

Small/Liberal Arts Colleges Award: Dominican University

Dominican University is a small private Catholic university located in River Forest, Illinois. The Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (ODEI) strives to create a just and humane campus and is dedicated to assisting the community in discovering how to live together, inclusively. The goal of the ODEI is to extend the benefits of diversity to all members of the Dominican community by working to equip students, faculty, and staff for responsible global citizenship. ODEI's goals and mission are supported by the values of caring and compassion, welcoming and hospitality, confidentially and acceptance, fairness, continuous improvement, and periodic review.

As a Hispanic-Serving Institution, Dominican University sponsored a cohort of faculty to participate in the ESCALA program specifically to close the gap in educational access and completion rates for Latinos, mainly through faculty development programming. Dominican University designed courses to provide culturally competent care that reflect the mission of the university. In the RN–BSN program, a Multi-cultural and Global Perspectives in Healthcare course was created for students to critically think about and discuss health and health care within a global environment and the impact of healthcare policies. In April 2021, Dominican University and the Borra College of Health Sciences, in collaboration with the Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation committee, presented a Health Disparity Symposium to the learning community to address the need to advance health equity and DEI efforts.

Private Colleges and Universities Award: Claflin University

Claflin University, a Historically Black College/University (HBCU) located in Orangeburg, SC, was founded in 1869 primarily to educate freed slaves. As the first university in South Carolina open to all regardless of race, class, or gender, Claflin remains dedicated and committed to educating individuals from underrepresented minority groups. Claflin University is the only HBCU with a nursing program in the state of South Carolina.

Through strategic partnerships with the South Carolina Technical College System and local hospitals, many associate degree graduates are afforded seamless transition to the RN–BSN program. These graduates help to improve health outcomes in the local area and state by preparing more BSN-prepared nurses for the workforce. Claflin University also has partnered with a local practice partner to increase diversity in BSN-prepared nurses in the hospital system. Through this collaborative partnership, the Regional Medical Center (RMC) committed to sponsor nurses working in their hospital system with full BSN program tuition. About 15% of graduates have been sponsored through this program. Because of the demonstrated value of the nursing program to the state of South Carolina, the university secured special funding for nursing student scholarships from the South Carolina Legislature in the amount of $600,000 since the BSN program began in August 2016. Through the academic/practice agreement, students in the MSN FNP program have clinical placement and a potential employment opportunity with a federally funded clinic with seven primary care locations. Participating students may receive loan repayment for their service.

Academic Health Centers Award: Ohio State University

The Ohio State University (OSU) continues to demonstrate a commitment to the recruitment, development, and retention of faculty, staff, and students with a focus on underrepresented groups. The College of Nursing serves as an advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion across the academic institution and within the community. Diversity, equity, and inclusion are part of OSU’s culture, and last academic year (2021-2022), the institution added equity, inclusion, and social justice to its core values. OSU leaders embrace the role of change agent and are intentional about creating a more inclusive environment for all to thrive.

The College of Nursing initiated the university’s inaugural Health Equity Scholars Program, which is designed to prepare underrepresented undergraduate students at OSU with advanced education, knowledge, and skills to improve health equity outcomes in diverse and underserved communities. Diversifying the faculty, staff, and student population and building a more inclusive college culture are major priorities of the nursing school. The college recently launched a Student Success Series program for both undergraduate and graduate students to help improve soft and power skills that are needed in nursing, but not often a core component of the curricula. The college also has supported the development of two new student groups, focusing on students of color and LGBTQ+ students. Over 100 faculty and staff have participated in implicit bias training for admission committees to support a more diverse nursing class.

The College of Nursing has recently begun including demographic statistics on their website of their faculty, staff, and students to highlight the significant progress made in increasing the number of underrepresented individuals within the college. The annual Summer Institute for Future Nurses continues to spark interest from high school students across the country.

2021 Winners

Public Colleges and Universities: Dr. Pamela Cook, Interim Associate Dean, Academic and Student Affairs at Augusta University in Augusta, GA

In 2006, Augusta University determined that its surrounding community was vastly more diverse than the actual nursing school population. The faculty implemented an aggressive plan to address this issue with these goals: 1) build capacity to sustain long-term growth in diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI); 2) cultivate an inclusive environment where diversity is celebrated; 3) recruit and retain an academically talented and diverse student body; and 4) recruit and retain a capable and diverse workforce.

From 2007 to 2020, the number of qualified applications from diverse backgrounds, including ethnic and racial groups underrepresented in nursing, increased from 14% to 30% of the total applications received. Enrollment of students from diverse backgrounds increased from 15% to 35% of total enrolled students. The college’s diversity statement sets standards for faculty, staff, and administrators, raises awareness of the need to promote DEI, and communicates the college’s commitment to advancing and sustaining DEI to all stakeholders. This statement was updated in 2018 to align with AACN’s commitment to equity in addition to diversity and inclusion. In addition, the college has exerted its influence through ongoing participation with the AACN Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Working Group (now the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Leadership Network) since its inception in 2018. The college has served as the campus DEI innovator and leader.

Private Colleges and Universities: Dr. Geraldine Q. Young, Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer at Frontier Nursing University in Versailles, KY

Frontier Nursing University (FNU) is at the forefront as a leading activist for diversity in the nursing and midwifery professions. FNU has made diversity and inclusion a primary focus of the university’s mission and a measurable element of its progress. This commitment was formalized in 2010 with the implementation of the Diversity Impact Program. Since the implementation of this program, FNU has increased student of color (SOC) enrollment from 9% in 2010 to 24% in 2020. Progress has been made throughout the FNU community, including faculty, staff, students, admissions, curriculum, and training. Of note, FNU has five leadership positions filled by women of color: human resources director, chief diversity and inclusion officer, clinical director of the FNP program, director of campus operations, and a member of the board of directors. 

In 2018, FNU was awarded an Advanced Nursing Education Workforce (ANEW) grant
from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration. The ANEW program supports innovative academic-practice partnerships to prepare primary care advanced practice registered nursing students who will serve in rural and underserved settings. FNU expanded formal academic-practice partnerships with five sites in order to co-design, implement, and evaluate strategies for improved academic and clinical training in rural primary care settings.

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

For the past five years, the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC) has been guided by a strategic plan that provides a clear roadmap for achieving its diversity, equity, and inclusion goals. Holistic review and admission processes have proven effective in identifying the strengths and skills of underrepresented minority (URM) applicants who may be overlooked in traditional review processes. In 2015, when the strategic plan was implemented, students of color represented 34% of the overall student body. In 2020, this percentage had risen to 48%, representing a 41% increase in overall diversity among students across all programs in the college of nursing. The undergraduate program met or exceeded strategic plan benchmarks for overall diversity (55% of all undergraduate students are students of color), Latinx students (23%), and males (16%). 

Since instituting its diversity strategic plan, UIC has achieved several key milestones. The first associate dean for Equity and Inclusion was appointed in 2020. Activities associated with improving the “educational climate” for students, faculty, and staff have included discussions/lectures on micro aggressions, restorative justice, and the development of a resource document for faculty on how to manage micro-aggressions in the classroom setting. Skill-building activities across stakeholder groups have included individual and collaborative group consultations on DEI issues and Ally Training. 

2020 Winner

Dr. Mary Koithan, Associate Dean for student support and community engagement and Anne Furrow Professor of Integrative Nursing at the University of Arizona 

The Lectureship Award for Diversity, Inclusion, and Sustainability in Nursing Education was presented to Dr. Mary Koithan, associate dean for student support and community engagement and Anne Furrow Professor of Integrative Nursing at the University of Arizona. This award highlights outstanding contributions made by an individual or a group to champion diversity, inclusion, and sustainability in a deliberate way. Diversity, inclusion, and creativity have been the hallmarks of Mary’s scholarship over time. Rooted in her strong diverse interdisciplinary approach to research, she has served as lead investigator, co-investigator, or consultant for over 12 externally funded national and international studies about integrative therapeutics or systems of care for diverse populations.

Dr. Koithan will received the award at the inaugural  Diversity Symposium in December 2020.


2019 Winner

Dr. Marion Broome, Dean and Ruby Wilson Professor of Nursing at Duke University School of Nursing, and Vice Chancellor for Nursing Affairs and Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs for Nursing at Duke University Health System (pictured center) with AACN’s Board Chair, Dr. Ann Cary (pictured left) and AACN’s President and CEO, Dr. Deborah Trautman (pictured right).

The by OnCourse Learning Lectureship Award for Diversity, Inclusion, and Sustainability in Nursing Education was presented to Dr. Marion Broome, Dean and Ruby Wilson Professor of Nursing at Duke University School of Nursing, and Vice Chancellor for Nursing Affairs and Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs for Nursing at Duke University Health System. This award highlights outstanding contributions made by an individual or a group to champion diversity, inclusion, and sustainability in a deliberate way.

Since 2014 when she arrived at Duke, Dr. Broome has fostered and expanded the School’s vision for diversity and inclusion. She has actively engaged the Duke community in advocacy efforts to promote diversity, inclusion, and sustainability, and she has worked to expand a key element of her institution’s strategic plan focused on people and the environment to ensure her school of nursing is an inclusive environment.

2018 Winner

Dr. Karen Bankston, Associate Dean, Clinical Practice, Partnership and Community Engagement, College of Nursing Procter Hall, University of Cincinnati (pictured right) and Dr. Greer Glazer, Dean, Schmidlapp Professor of Nursing, College of Nursing, University of Cincinnati (pictured center) with AACN’s Board Chair, Dr. Ann Cary (pictured left).

2017 Winner

Dr.  Norma Martinez Rogers, Professor, University of Texas Health Science Center with AACN’s President and CEO, Dr. Deborah Trautman,  Dr. Juliann Sebastian, Chair, and Dr. Ann Cary, Chair-Elect of the AACN Board of Directors. 

2016 Winner

Dr. Suzanne C. Smeltzer, Professor and Director, Villonova University, with AACN’s President and CEO, Dr. Deborah Trautman and Dr. Juliann Sebastian, Chair of the AACN Board of Directors.

2015 Winner

Dr. Marilyn “Marty” Douglas, Associate Clinical Professor, School of Nursing, University of California – San Francisco and Editor-in-Chief Emerita, Journal of Transcultural Nursing, with AACN’s President,  Dr. Eileen Breslin and CEO, Dr. Deborah Trautman.