Diversity Month at School of Nursing wraps up with student presentations

Diversity Month speaker Eleazar Jimenez

Interest in diversity, equity and inclusion at the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing has expanded so much that what formerly was a one-day event turned into a series of events for the month of February.

In the past, the school held a one-day diversity event that featured student-created poster presentations about different cultures and health challenges. This year, diversity-based student organizations chose also to present a series of informative talks as a means of creating dialogue and expanding awareness. More than 200 people attended one or more of the month’s programs.

“We have an increased, engaged group of student organizations this year,” said VUSN Assistant Dean of Diversity and Inclusion Rolanda Johnson, PhD’98, MSN, RN. “A new Hispanic/Latino Student Nurse Organization launched this fall and our Asian American/Pacific Islander Student Nurses Organization increased in membership and interest. The Black Student Nurses Organization and Middle Tennessee chapter of the American Assembly of Men in Nursing are really active and dynamic.”

Tom Christenbery, Tamika HudsonDiversity month kicked off with “Snacks and Facts: Who We Are,” a presentation by the Asian American/Pacific Islander Student Nurses Organization designed to familiarize fellow students, faculty and staff about the organization and students’ individual cultures.

Next, the Middle Tennessee chapter of the American Assembly of Men in Nursing hosted Derek Griffith, PhD, professor of Medicine, Health and Society, who presented, “Why Do We Need to Consider Gender in Health Equity Research?” Founder and director of the Institute for Research on Men’s Health in the College of Arts and Science, Griffith is a leading researcher on men’s health equity.

The new Hispanic/Latino Student Nurses Organization set up a panel discussion on Feb. 19 to discuss overcoming language barriers to patient care. Panelists included Eleazar Jimenez, Vanderbilt Interpreter Services; Karina Maza, current Women’s Health student and former interpreter; and Lori Catanzaro, senior lecturer, Vanderbilt University Department of Spanish and Portuguese.

On Feb. 25, the Black Student Nurses Organization invited Dylesia Barner, LCSW, psychotherapist and owner of Existence, Consciousness, Bliss, who talked about using emotional intelligence and respecting cultural boundaries.

Olivia WrefordThe multi-week celebration finished Feb. 26 with Diversity Day. As in years past, the event featured student-created poster sessions exploring topics involving health care and different cultures. The poster sessions were judged, with top honors awarded to: Nurse-Midwifery student Olivia Wreford, first place, for “Health Concerns in Migrant Farm Workers,” Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Primary Care student Jaela Cabrera McDonald and Family Nurse Practitioner student Akaninyene Ruffin, BA’17, second place for “Representation Matters: Towards an Equitable Future,” and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner students Naomi Chan, BS’17, and Eileen Yin, third place for “Mental Health Issues in the Asian-American Population.” The event was sponsored by VUSN’s Black Student Nurses Organization and Iota Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau, the nursing honor society.

Additional diversity awareness events are being planned by other student organizations for later in the year.

Image, top center:
Vanderbilt Interpreter Services’ Eleazar Jimenez demonstrates the challenges of interpreting in discussing how to work with interpreters in health care settings. He was part of a panel hosted by the Hispanic/Latino Student Nurses Organization.

Right top image:
VUSN faculty Tom Christenbery, PhD, RN, CNE, and Tamika Hudson, DNP, APRN, FNP-C, read a description of snacks shared by the Asian American/Pacific Islander Student Nurses Organization as part of the group’s presentation.

Right middle image:
Professor Derek Griffith, PhD, presented on gender in equity research. He was hosted by the Middle Tennessee chapter of the American Assembly of Men in Nursing.

Right bottom image:
Nurse-Midwifery student Olivia Wreford earned first place honors in the Diversity poster presentation with her topic, “Health Concerns in Migrant Farm Workers.”