Diversity Digest: Summer 2023 Edition


American Association of Colleges of Nursing's Diversity Digest

The Diversity Digest is a quarterly newsletter highlighting diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives launched by AACN and member schools of nursing. Please send details about your school's DEI initiatives to cdowning@aacnnursing.orgVisit the AACN website for more information on AACN’s DEI priorities.

In This Edition:

  • Featured Article: Nurses as Advocates for LGBTQIA+ Policy Change
  • School Spotlight: Loyola University Chicago Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing
  • AACN Faculty Scholars Grant Program Deadline Approaching
  • Registration Open for AACN's 2024 Diversity Symposium
  • New SCOTUS Decision Resource Page
  • ...and more!

Congratulations to Our 2023

Diversity Leadership Institute Graduates!

We are proud to announce the successful conclusion of this year's Diversity Leadership Institute! Our dedicated group of faculty members embraced the opportunity to explore and develop high-impact DEI strategies that they will implement at their schools of nursing.

The exciting variety of capstone presentations was a testament to the hard work and dedication of this year's participants. Participants explored a range of critical topics, including adapting nursing curriculum, building DEI capacity and inclusive excellence, faculty development and mentoring, DEI in the clinical setting, diverse student recruitment and retention, holistic admissions, and student mentorship, among others.


Nurses as Advocates for LGBTQIA+ Policy Change

June was celebrated nationwide as LGBTQIA+ Pride Month. Pride this year was significant as legislation attacking LGBTQIA+ Americans has reached record levels, more than doubling the number of bills introduced last year.

Recent Events

The American Civil Liberties Union is currently tracking 491 anti-LGBTQIA+ bills across the nation, and over 70 have already passed into law (ACLU, 2023). Education and health-related bills make up a large portion. While not exhaustive, these bills fall into several categories:

  • Access to healthcare, such as Medicaid for transgender adults and gender-affirming care bans for transgender youth, and reproductive rights attacks.
  • Public accommodations, such as banning transgender folks from using public restrooms and locker rooms.
  • Schools and education, such as forced outing bills, bans on transgender youth in sports, anti-DEI curriculum and training bans, “anti-woke” legislation, and bills targeting “divisive concepts” or critical race theory.
  • Free speech and expression, such as drag bans and book bans.
  • Civil rights, such as weakening nondiscrimination laws.

Why - and how - should nurses get involved? Read the full article here.


Using Art to Build Community in the Loyola University Chicago Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing

By Dian Squire, PhD, Associate Dean for Inclusive Excellence

There are few better ways to explore the “art of nursing” than by spending time discussing famous artworks and visiting a local art museum. Over the course of the Spring 2023 semester, faculty, staff, and students at the Loyola University Chicago Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing spent time together delving into big questions about community, values, relationships, and other issues related to diversity, equity, social injustice, power, and oppression.


The gatherings were a successful attempt at providing an innovative way to discuss important issues related to building a stronger academic community, but also to bridge that knowledge into thinking about how to best serve marginalized populations through their work as nurses and nurse educators.

A tour of a thought-provoking art exhibit at the Contemporary Art Museum Chicago and a series of discussions on building community through art and conversation are two recent initiatives launched by Dian Squire, PhD, Associate Professor and Associate Dean of Inclusive Excellence. Beginning in February, Dr. Squire began hosting a series of video conferencing sessions called “Working Well Together: Building Community through Art and Conversation.”


Apply for the Faculty Scholars Grant Program and Drive Change in DEI

The Foundation for Academic Nursing, the philanthropic arm of AACN, is accepting applications for the Faculty Scholars Grant Program. This program provides funding to faculty from AACN member schools who are leading innovative teaching and learning initiatives. This year's grant cycle is placing emphasis on projects that promote DEI.

Submit your project focused on one of the following topics:

  • Achieving health equity and promoting a culture of health
  • Recruitment and retention of nurse faculty and students of color
  • Impact of nursing workforce diversity on patient outcomes
  • System facilitators and barriers to preparing a diverse nursing workforce

Two $25,000 grants will be awarded to faculty during this funding cycle.

The application deadline is approaching! Submit an application by August 5, 2023.


Registration Open for the 2024 Diversity Symposium

AACN invites academic nursing administrators, faculty, and staff to attend the 2024 Diversity Symposium in February. This national forum features diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) leaders who offer valuable guidance for schools transitioning from awareness to action in preparing students to provide equitable health care in an ever-changing landscape.

2024 Theme: Unlocking the Power of Nursing’s PEARLS: Practice, Education, Access, Research, Leadership, and Scholarship

New Orleans Marriott

Plan to join us February 5-7 2024 at the New Orleans Marriott!

When you attend, you will:

  • Examine organizational structure that advances diversity, equity and inclusion strategies leading to improved student outcomes.
  • Explore local and national regulatory changes that impact the implementation of diversity, equity, and inclusion strategies in academic nursing.
  • Consider how to amplify academic nursing’s role in achieving health equity for all.

The Call for Abstracts submission period is now open! Visit the AACN website to learn more and submit an abstract. The submission deadline is September 8, 2023.


AACN Partners with Macy Foundation to Explore Barriers to Inclusion for Nurses with Disabilities

Plan to participate in the next webinar in our free 3-part series hosted by the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation in collaboration with the Docs with Disabilities Initiative and the Johns Hopkins Disability Health Research Center. This series, titled "Exploring the Barriers to Inclusion for Nurses with Disabilities," aims to empower nurse educators in fostering a more inclusive healthcare environment.

The third webinar in this series is scheduled for September 28, 2023, from 12:00 to 1:00 pm (ET) and will explore the pivotal role nursing faculty play in accommodating nurses with disabilities during their education and training journey.


Explore AACN's New SCOTUS Decision Resource Page

Supreme Court Photo

Supreme Court Decision on Affirmative Action:

The National Response and Resources to Move Forward

On June 29, 2023, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that race-conscious admissions practices are unconstitutional, ending decades of support for considering race as a factor in college admission decisions. To help schools understand the impact of this decision and adapt their efforts focused on advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion, AACN has created a new resource page. This page includes information on the Supreme Court's decision, as well as resources for schools on how to develop and implement new admissions policies. The page will be updated on an ongoing basis as new information becomes available.