Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

The University of Connecticut School of Nursing acknowledges structural racism and biases, including ageism, ableism, homophobia, lack of educational opportunity, national origin or citizenship status, poverty, sexism, transphobia, and xenophobia, that devalue and dehumanize people. The School seeks to dismantle these structures by being diverse, inclusive, and equitable.

At the UConn School of Nursing, we support the AACN’s statement and are committed to providing a safe and welcoming environment where students can learn about and practice diversity in thought and expression.


We believe that we can build a stronger nursing community that is inclusive of all our students.


We are committed to developing a curriculum that engages students in learning activities to promote cultural sensitivity and respect for diverse populations including race, color, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability, national origin or citizenship status.


As we embark on this effort to embed diversity, equity, and inclusion throughout our school of nursing, we will assess barriers that impede equal opportunities to ensure equitable success for all students.


We will remain humble and welcome those difficult narratives that challenge us to grow and commit to lifelong learning of cultural sensitivity.


This is no small task and expect all faculty, staff, and students to adopt this practice and follow the PRAXIS philosophy of professionalism, respect, accountability, excellence, integrity, and service to improve our diversity, equity, and inclusion at the school.

A portrait of MaryAnn Perez-Brescia, a faculty member and the coordinator of diversity, equity, and inclusion.


Ph.D., RN

Clinical Instructor, CEIN/BS Program

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Coordinator

Levels of Racism ...


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


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, 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


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 here and is also listed in the student handbooks.


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.

Student Organization

We are in the process of developing a student organization, where students can participate in activities that promote DEI, contribute their thoughts and suggestions, and have a safe place to discuss DEI issues.

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?


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.


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.


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

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.

Community Members

Gayle Allen-Greene, MS, BS

Former Principal at Hartford Board of Education, Bulkeley High School

Carlos Brown, MHSA

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

Peggy Chinn, Ph.D., MS, RN

Professor Emerita, Oakland, CA

Michelle Duprey, J.D.

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


Evelyn Gonzalez, MSN, RN, NE-BC, LHCRM

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

Greg Jones, MPA, MBA

Vice President for Community Health and Engagement, Hartford HealthCare

Ena Williams, MBA, RN, CNEP

Chief Nursing Officer at Yale New Haven Health


Lucinda Canty, Ph.D., CNM

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

Oak leaf

Vida Owusu, CEIN-BS