Academy for Diverse Emerging Nurse Leaders

Spring Academy has been postponed. Apply now for the November 18-22, 2024 session


Five days of immersive learning and self-discovery with recognized national leaders from diverse backgrounds in nursing, health care and higher education  

  • Build on your skills and confidence to advance as a leader
  • Explore your path to leadership with experienced, diverse leaders who’ve paved the way
  • Learn from the personal insights of established leaders in nursing and non-nursing fields
  • Gain a community of colleagues and mentors for on-going support and guidance


An opportunity for nurse leaders who support underrepresented groups in health care and academia to gain the necessary skills and knowledge to ensure leadership success.

Take part in Vanderbilt's life-changing leadership development program led by experienced leaders from diverse backgrounds who are committed to equipping emerging nurse leaders and faculty for success.

If you are committed to expanding and supporting diversity in nursing leadership and have held a leadership faculty or health care role for less than three years, apply for the Academy for Diverse Emerging Nurse Leaders. The Academy is a unique and dynamic fellowship program for emerging leaders in academia and clinical health care settings developed by nurse leaders at Vanderbilt University School of Nursing and Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

This unique leadership academy is taught by nationally recognized and experienced faculty and health care leaders from diverse backgrounds, and is specifically designed to serve the needs of new and emerging nurse leaders and faculty. 


What Makes This Program Different?

  • It explores the challenges—both personally and professionally—of being from a group historically underrepresented in nursing 
  • Program leaders come from across a wide breadth disciplines—not just nursing 
  • Speakers include regional, national and international leaders
  • Benefit from two assigned mentors: One from the academy will serve as an authentic executive coach and be aligned with your leadership project. The second will be a mentor from your home institution who can support you in developing your project and in implementing what you learn at the academy.
  • The limited class size assures the ability to connect with leaders of color and from underrepresented groups (nurse and non-nurse) on a personal level.

At each step of the way, you’ll benefit from the authentic stories and experiences of real-life, working leaders who share their hard-earned knowledge and skills with you.

Rolanda Johnson and Mamie Williams

Co-Directors Rolanda Johnson and Mamie Williams

It equipped me with actual tools that are extremely important and needed as a diverse leader in this world.”

It truly was life-changing."

What You’ll Learn

Over the course of the fellowship, you and your peer emerging nurse leader fellows will be empowered as leaders through ongoing mentorship, strategic planning and a five-day, in-person academy session where you’ll learn:

  • productive conflict
  • skills to manage people you supervise—and manage your peers and supervisors
  • your own management style
  • organizational financial management 
  • identifying and understanding stakeholder management and 
  • managing and mediating unconscious bias

Speaker at the 2022 academy


National Insight

Fellows accepted for the academy have benefited from leadership insights and small group interaction with national leaders that include:

  • Rumay Alexander, EdD, RN, FAAN, American Nurses Association Scholar-In-Residence
  • Ernest Grant, PhD, RN, FAAN, Past President, American Nurses Association
  • April N. Kapu, DNP, RN, ACNP-BC, FAANP, FCCM, FAAN, Immediate Past President, American Association of Nurse Practitioners
  • Beverly Malone, PhD, RN, FAAN, President and CEO, National League for Nursing


Build Your Tool Kit for Success as a Nurse Leader

  • Tools to empower you as health care leaders or faculty members
  • Core managerial knowledge such as finance, strategic planning and operations
  • The skills and confidence to have tough conversations
  • Understanding on how your personal experiences shape your leadership or instructional style 
  • Suggestions on how—and why it’s necessary—to build a community of supporters
  • Colleagues from around the country with whom you’ll share learning and understanding

One of the most meaningful and impactful things that I have been able to participate in during my career."



Tuition for the 5-day immersive academy is $3,000.


Benefits to Organizations and Schools

It’s no secret that nursing schools and health care systems want and need faculty and leaders who support diverse backgrounds and populations. To provide quality, inclusive health care, it’s important that nursing staff and leadership reflect the populations that they serve. Nursing schools need to recruit faculty and students to shape the education of that future nursing workforce. Health care systems must recruit and retain diverse nurse leaders to positively affect the health outcomes of the diverse patients they serve. The Academy for Diverse Emerging Nurse Leaders offers a path to equipping their outstanding emerging leaders and giving them the tools to advance and lead.


Applicant Criteria

  • Master of Science in Nursing is preferred
  • Serving in a leadership role less than 5 years
  • Are committed to expanding and supporting diversity in nursing leadership
  • Leadership support from your dean, chief nursing officer or direct supervisor 
  • Have identified a mentor at your institution or organization 

As part of your fellowship, you will design a project that demonstrates leadership and/or addresses an issue connected to your work. While each fellow’s project should be specific to their needs and strengths, projects should align with your work’s organizational goals and objectives. You will be supported in this project, as both your institutional and academy mentor work with you to facilitate the design and or implementation of the project. 

I want to be a transformational leader and this experience makes me feel like I have the support and the tools I need to do that.”