April 12, 2021
The experience of the UW School of Nursing’s antiracism learning day on March 29, 2021
The UW School of Nursing recently held an Antiracism Learning Day on March 29, 2021, for faculty, staff, students, and practice partners from the three campuses to reflect on and discuss racism in today’s society and healthcare settings. The all-day event on March 29, 2021 featured speakers Dr. Benjamin Danielson, clinical professor of pediatrics with the UW School of Medicine and formerly of Seattle Children’s Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic, and Loretta Ross, a nationally-recognized expert on racism and racial justice, women’s rights, and human rights. The schedule also included caucus presentations and sessions based on participant’s racial identity, with speakers through SpeakOut, Stacey Patton, Nolan Cabrera, Andrew Jolivette, Tim Wise, Melissa Denizard, SHIFT, Aisha Fukushima, and Chris Crass.
“It’s been said that attention is the currency of leadership. That the School of Nursing is willing to set aside time, attention and resources to reflect on and bring awareness to anti-racism validates priorities of the School in leading this effort,” said PhD nursing student Janelle Martelino. “The time and space to reflect on our own values, condition, bias and privilege was a gift for all participants.”
“The Antiracism Learning Day was an incredible and enriching experience. I left the learning day feeling rejuvenated and ready to dive deeper into the antiracism work I am engaging in,” nursing student Evie Devera, Class of 2021. “The biggest takeaway of the day for me came from Loretta Ross: ‘Call out with love and respect.’ Her perspective on engaging and holding each other accountable was very positive, inviting, and uplifting. It changed my perspective in a small but impactful way.”
“The school-wide antiracism day provided me with a space of thought-provoking speakers, dialogue, and reflections. This event expanded my thinking around how racism presents itself in healthcare systems, particularly in pitting equity, caste systems, and power differentials,” said PhD nursing student Natalie Rejto.
The event, the first of its kind to be held at the school, drew more than 400 participants and is part of a current organizational antiracism effort and rooted in a broader DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) strategic action plan launched by the UW School of Nursing in 2016. The plan identifies strategies and mechanisms to address and reform ways in which the school operates to better reflect DEI in its policies and procedures, from admissions to hiring to curriculum development. In spring of 2019, the school increased its community focus on racial injustice and increased recognition of institutional racism, particularly within healthcare.
“The UW School of Nursing and the nursing profession can play a leading role in not just dismantling institutional racism but contributing to reforms within health organizations with antiracism as a core motivation and principle,” said Butch de Castro, the school’s Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion.
In addition to the all-school antiracism learning day, several other initiatives have been completed or are underway. In early 2021, the UW School of Nursing launched the Center for Antiracism in Nursing (https://dei.nursing.uw.edu/center-for-antiracism-in-nursing/) and a number of antiracism workgroups have been actively working on multiple fronts.
Information on workgroup activities can be found here, which details pursuits, timeline, and accomplishments to date; along with listing of alignment areas with the school’s DEI Strategic Action Plan. Some things to highlight, including additional undertakings:
- Review of an antiracism pledge statement has been completed.
- Creation (and anticipated release week of April 5, 2021) of a DEI Dashboard with demographic and degree program breakdowns for student admissions, acceptances, and current student body; and links to national level data.
- Assuring that images and stories used in marketing and communications materials feature diversity of students, staff, faculty, and communities served.
- Developing an antiracism Student Essential Behavior standard.
- Establishment of quarterly gatherings specifically for students of color to connect and build community.
- Developing an antiracism end-of-program learning goal across academic degree programs.
- Assuring that antiracism and DEI related content is a major part of academic degree program revisions.
- Quarterly HEALS (managing conversations when microaggressions occur) trainings for faculty and staff.
- Quarterly DEI peer teaching support sessions.
- Development of antiracism and DEI education resources for clinical practice preceptors.
- Assuring affiliation agreements with clinical site learning settings reflect a commitment to anti-discrimination.
- Full access and review of quantitative and qualitative feedback from student course evaluations and end of program (graduation) exit surveys by Department Chairs (faculty supervisors).
- Support for equity in research by dedicating pilot research funds for community-engaged/driven projects, researcher training on equity best practices, and promoting applications for NIH Diversity Supplements that support researchers from underrepresented, underserved groups.
- Promoting a menu of priority DEI-related funding initiatives, including support for Nurse Camp, student scholarships, and diversity faculty recruitment.
The items in the antiracism workgroup outcomes document and listed above represent some of the major actions the UW School of Nursing is taking. The school is striving to embed principles of antiracism, diversity, equity, and inclusion throughout organizational operations, polices, procedures, and practices; and recognizes that continuous, iterative efforts across all spaces of the school are needed. Some actions will be immediate, while others may take more time.
Learn more about the UW School of Nursing’s commitment to DEI here.