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 breach our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Acts that defy these beliefs will be examined and adjudicated.

Levels of Racism and Our Efforts to Dismantle Them

Institutional

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

DEI is part of the School of Nursing's core values and is embedded into our Strategic Plan as a Focus area that includes objectives and metrics. We will continue an ongoing assessment of all our policies and practices for their effectiveness and potential barrier.

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.

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 applied to students who admitted in fall 2022.

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.

A Climate assessment will be included in our yearly School of Nursing data reporting.

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 contained 22 questions consisting of eight factors that connect engagement theory to inclusion and diversity constructs. All responses on the survey are scored on a five-point Likert scale, with five corresponding to strongly agree and one to strongly disagree. Email invitations to participate in the survey were sent to 1,076 faculty, staff, and students. Around 572 responded and 511 completed the survey in its entirety.

The School received an overall score of four, indicating students, faculty, and staff feel engaged and included. This scoring pattern was similar across all races and ethnicities in students. A few outliers scored the School at a one or a two; open-ended questions at the end of the survey revealed that those participants chose those scores based on racial incidents on campus from a few years ago.

As a result of the survey, we discussed the importance of addressing racial trauma as incidents occur to ensure a sense of safety in students. We also knew from anecdotal data that some students didn't participate in the survey and didn't feel comfortable sharing their thoughts on the survey. Therefore, we hired an outside facilitator to administer a Restorative Healing workshop during the spring of 2022.

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.

All School of Nursing faculty, staff, and students are responsible for engaging in DEI and participating in the Strategic Plan through continued professional development, educational opportunities, and activities.

Implicit Bias Training, 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.

Microaggressions Training, Spring 2022

All faculty underwent microaggressions training.

New Student Organization, Spring 2022

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.

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

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