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UC grants aim to diversify the nursing workforce in the U.S.

Two grants, totaling more than $1M, will help recruit, retain and support a diverse student body and address structural racism in nursing academia.
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Two grants, totaling more than $1M, will help recruit, retain and support a diverse student body and address structural racism in nursing academia.

Failure to include and represent the views and needs of nurses of color is just one of the reasons the National Council of State Boards of Nursing says the number of minority nurses are so low. Other reasons include a lack of academic, financial, peer and social support for diverse students, as well as low representation of faculty of color and systemic racism within the profession.

University of Cincinnati College of Nursing's Associate Dean for Inclusion and Community Impact Ann Gakumo, Ph.D., and Assistant Professor Rosalind Moore hope to change that.

UC has received $750,000 from Genetech's Health Equity and Diversity in STEM Innovation Fund and $300,000 from The Macy Foundation for a project titled, "Eliminating Structural Racism in Nursing Academia: A Systems Change Approach to Anti-Racist Nursing Education."

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The UC researchers plan to establish a successful model for recruitment, retention and academic success of racially and ethnically diverse undergraduate nursing students by:

  • examining undergraduate admission processes to determine structural barriers to equity;
  • admitting a diverse cohort of eight Bachelor of Science degree students in the 2023 freshman class based on factors other than standardized test scores;
  • creating collaborative academic-community partnerships to build capacity for community engagement;
  • developing inclusive learning environments that integrate diversity, social determinants of health and equity throughout the curriculum and in evaluation.

"The College of Nursing is the only college at UC that still requires standardized test scores for undergraduate admission," says Gakumo. "Although this year’s incoming BSN class is the most diverse in recent years, more needs to be done."

To address structural racism in nursing academia, Gukumo and Greer Glazer, Ph.D., dean emeritus of the College of Nursing, say they will build a learning collaborative in eight to 10 schools. Those schools will develop and implement projects based on areas for growth and improvement.

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"Nursing academia is at a critical time for change in adapting to new educational frameworks and standards," says Glazer. "At a time of transformation, there is a rich opportunity for innovation in developing and implementing new practices, processes and curricula focused on dismantling structural racism."

Ann Thompson has decades of journalism experience in the Greater Cincinnati market and brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her reporting.