Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)

Students in classStudents laugh and poseStudents wearing graduation gowns smile and poseStudents hold stethoscopesStudents pose in a groupStudents wearing blue scrubs pose as a groupA group of people pose

UConn School of Nursing is committed to diversity and the excellence it facilitates. We embrace diversity of race/ethnicity, gender, abilities, religion, sexual orientation, socioeconomic situation, background, experiences, and thought. This diversity culminates in strength that advances our learning, research and scholarship, practice, service, and innovation.

Our faculty, staff, and students are required to cultivate equity and inclusion in all campus and clinical-based activities. A perception of belonging for all and the creation of equitable health care for our communities will be realized. We understand that first we must dismantle our social constructs founded on racism and are dedicated to eliminating all acts of racism or bias at the School of Nursing. We will have zero tolerance for actions that breech our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Acts that defy these beliefs will be examined and adjudicated.

Levels of Racism …

Institutional

Institutional racism occurs within institutions and systems of power. This refers to the unfair policies and discriminatory practices of particular institutions.

Interpersonal

Interpersonal racism, or personally mediated, occurs between individuals. This is the bias that occurs when individuals interact with others and their personal racial beliefs affect their public interactions.

Internalized/Individual

Internalized, or individual, racism lies within individuals. This type of racism comprises our private beliefs and biases about race and racism, influenced by our culture.

… And Our Efforts to Dismantle Them

Enacted

Removal of Physics Requirement for Undergraduate Admissions

October 2021: The School of Nursing faculty approve removing the physics requirement for undergraduate nursing students. This change applies to students who will be admitted in fall 2022.

Diversity Engagement Survey

October 2021: School of Nursing faculty, staff, current students, and recent graduates were invited to fill out a Diversity, Engagement Survey, which will be used to guide the School's Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion efforts.

Zero Tolerance Policy

September 2020: The School of Nursing faculty approved a policy on zero tolerance for disrespect. The full policy can be read on the About the School webpage and is also listed in the student handbooks.

Student Organization

2021-2022 Academic Year: Students created the Future Nurses for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion student organization. The group is dedicated to the mission of creating diversity, equity, and inclusion within health care as a service and in the workplace. Group members intend to create a community of underrepresented students and allies varying between ethnicity, race, country of origin, socioeconomic status, gender, sexual orientation, age, ability, cultural practices, religious affiliations, etc., so that they can acknowledge and appreciate individual experiences as they affect practices. They are creating this opportunity to influence the School's social atmosphere and to educate each other so that they may all respect varying experiences and views, making them better professionals in the future equipped with empathy, understanding, and knowledge for their interactions with patients and coworkers. The group's activities include social and educational events (i.e. keynote speakers), as well as, volunteer opportunities for clinical work in communities that are affected by the very systemic inequities that we plan to learn about. The organization is nursing-focused/School of Nursing affiliated but is open to all health care majors.

Ongoing

Strategic Plan

Currently, an external advisory committee of local community leaders, who believe in creating opportunities for underrepresented people in education, health, and justice, is working with the School on a strategic plan. They are at the beginning stages of assessing faculty comfort and training needs, then will build the structure to better assist diverse students. Leaders expect the final strategic plan to include: DEI onboarding for faculty, staff, and possibly, students; new hiring strategies to implement a more diverse search process; an expansion of the curriculum to include more DEI teachings; and new accountability measurements by involving DEI in evaluations.

Holistic Admissions

The School of Nursing is working with the American Association of Colleges of Nursing to offer training so we can implement a holistic admissions process. This will help us admit more diverse students by looking outside of the traditional metrics used in our admissions process. This approach of restructuring our admissions process is part of our work to eliminate systemic barriers put in place that limit diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Bias Training

The School is working toward educating faculty, staff, and students about the harmful effects of bias. In October 2020, faculty and staff underwent implicit bias training through Project Implicit. The nonprofit is committed to challenging organizational and institutional disparities through data-driven research and aims to educate the public about bias. During the training sessions, faculty and staff explored perceptual, social, and decision-making biases; learned about bias in action; and were taught how to reduce the impact of bias.

What is DEI?

Diversity:

The UConn School of Nursing community is comprised of individuals and groups with varied ages, abilities, citizenship status, countries of origin, cultures, ethnicities, genders, sexes, sexual orientations, races, religions, spiritual practices, or existential worldviews, and socioeconomic backgrounds.

Inclusion:

The UConn School of Nursing embraces the diversity of lived experiences, histories, aspirations, thoughts, and ideas.

Equity:

The UConn School of Nursing supports individual needs for achieving excellence. The School is a community in which all people can safely teach and learn, generate and disseminate knowledge, serve the community, and use their voice.

External DEI Advisory Committee

The committee’s charge is to advise the School of Nursing on matters of diversity, equity, and inclusion. It has no authority to establish policy or to make decisions or take action concerning students, faculty, or staff. The committee will work directly with the School’s designated leadership: Deborah A. Chyun, dean; and MaryAnn Perez-Brescia, coordinator of diversity, equity, and inclusion. The School’s designated leadership will be the liaison to the committee and the University of Connecticut’s leadership.

 

DEI

A portrait of clinical instructor MaryAnn Perez-Brescia.

MaryAnn Perez-Brescia

Ph.D., RN
Assistant Clinical Professor
Coordinator of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

maryann.brescia@uconn.edu

Community Members

Gayle Allen-Greene

Gayle Allen-Greene, MS, BS

Former Principal at Hartford Board of Education, Bulkeley High School

A portrait of Carlos Brown

Carlos Brown, MHSA

Regional Vice President of Integrity and Compliance, Trinity Health of NE

Peggy Chinn

Peggy Chinn, Ph.D., MS, RN

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Michelle Duprey, J.D.

Deputy Corporation Counsel for Employment Litigation, City of New Haven, CT

Evelyn Gonzalez

Evelyn Gonzalez, MSN, RN, NE-BC

Director of Clinical Workforce Development, Memorial Healthcare System, Miramar, FL

Greg Jones

Greg Jones, MPA, MBA

Vice President for Community Health and Engagement, Hartford Hospital

Ena Williams

Ena Williams, MBA, RN, CNEP

Chief Nursing Officer at Yale New Haven Health

Alumni

Lucinda Canty, Ph.D., CNM

Certified Nurse-Midwife Assistant Professor of Nursing, University of St. Joseph

Students

Portrait of CEIN student Nora Brinson

Lenore Brinson

CEIN/BS student

Portrait of a student

Elizabeth Farrenkopf

Undergraduate Student