AACN Receives New Grant to Combat Racism through Nursing Education

WASHINGTON, DC, January 25, 2024 – The National Commission to Address Racism in Nursing, a groundbreaking initiative of the American Nurses Association, has awarded funding to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) to better prepare nurses to address racism in academic and clinical settings. With this support, AACN will identify and incorporate anti-racist teaching and learning resources and measurement tools for nurse educators into its online Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Faculty Tool Kit.

“In keeping with our strategic priorities, academic nursing is committed to leading efforts to combat racism and preparing nurses to mitigate inequities that persist in healthcare delivery,” said Dr. Deborah Trautman, AACN President and Chief Executive Officer. “Making nursing education equitable and inclusive requires actively combating structural racism, discrimination, systemic inequity, exclusion, and bias.”

Last fall, AACN responded to the Commission’s call for proposals outlining interventions aimed at dismantling racism through several pathways, including anti-racism education, immersion, and training. The resources developed by AACN for its web-based tool kit will include strategies to promote anti-racism in academic environments, including skills to develop critical consciousness in faculty, staff, and students through catalyzing reflection, assessment, and transformation of current pedagogy and teaching methods. A special focus will be placed on developing anti-racist pedagogy with particular emphasis on incorporating anti-racism content into curriculum. To disseminate the resources and assist nursing schools in their transformational efforts, AACN will provide education, training, consultation, and evaluation to facilitate programs in making structural changes and improvements to their anti-racist institutional policies, practices, and processes.

AACN was intentional about embedding a strong emphasis on addressing racism through nursing education in the latest competency standards that shape curriculum in undergraduate and graduate nursing programs, titled The Essentials: Core Competencies for Professional Nursing Education. Today’s standards call for academic nursing to “address structural racism, systemic inequity, and discrimination in how nurses are prepared. Nurse educators are called to critically evaluate policies, processes, curricula, and structures for homogeneity, classism, color-blindness, and non-inclusive environments.” Further, nurses must be prepared to lead initiatives to address racism and system-wide inequities that impact access to quality care for all patients. As emphasized in the Essentials, “equitable health care better serves the needs of all individuals, populations, and communities.”

AACN applauds the National Commission to Address Racism in Nursing for their efforts to support innovative and evidenced-based initiatives focused on eliminating racism in nursing. With $200,000 in funding disbursed among 10 organizations, several member schools of nursing also received support, including East Carolina University, Mercy University, University of Illinois Chicago, and University of Portland. Click here to read more about funded initiatives.


The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) is the national voice for academic nursing representing more than 865 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.


Robert Rosseter