VUSN matching program to inspire philanthropy, drive research and create change regarding health inequities

In support of its commitment to fighting health inequities, Vanderbilt University School of Nursing has launched an ambitious campaign to raise and match $1 million to support health disparity research.

A woman giving a shot to another woman.

Pamela R. Jeffries, PhD, RN, FAAN, ANEF, FSSH, Dean and Valere Potter Distinguished Professor of Nursing, recently announced the school’s Nursing Health Equity Fellowship program, setting aside $1 million for health equity research at the school and asking VUSN supporters to make a 1:1 philanthropic match to fund this critical research. 

VUSN has long tackled health inequities—the systemic variations that prevent certain communities from attaining optimal health—through research, student clinical experiences and faculty practice. These inequities affect millions of people around the country, and are especially pronounced for people of color, those with disabilities, individuals who belong to the LGBTQ+ community, and those who live in low-income or rural areas. 

The school has increased its emphasis on health equity in recent years. Recent initiatives have included building health equity education and efforts into its new Master of Nursing registered nurse program, providing COVID-19 vaccines to the uninsured through Vanderbilt’s mobile vaccine program, and conducting interdisciplinary research within the Vanderbilt Center for Research on Inequality and Health, a pioneering center launched this fall in partnership with the College of Arts and Science.  

“In order for nurses to provide world-class support to our patients, we must also address the broader circumstances, contexts and injustices that underlie their care,” Jeffries said. “I initiated this match program to amplify health equity research today, and to instill a lifelong passion for this issue among our talented faculty and students.”  

Gifts made as part of the match program will fund faculty and student fellowships, as well as health equity programs to be offered as part of Immersion Vanderbilt, a curriculum requirement for all undergraduate students that promotes experiential learning beyond the classroom. Together, these initiatives will catalyze research across topics such as: how a neighborhood’s drinking water and environmental factors affect children’s cognitive development; strategies for the fair and efficient distribution of preventative care resources among underserved populations; and other potential projects and applications.  

The match will run until December 31, 2024, or until the $1 million in match dollars are fulfilled. Eligible gifts include endowed commitments in the amount of $100,000 or more, paid in a single payment or pledged over multiple scheduled payments.  

In addition to directly supporting Vanderbilt’s health equity scholars, gifts made in support of the Health Equity Fellowship program will power the momentum of Vanderbilt’s Dare to Grow campaign, a $3.2 billion effort that will fund Vanderbilt’s most ambitious vision: to be the great university of the 21st century.  

Image above:
The Vanderbilt Mobile Vaccine Program provided more than 12,000 vaccines to vulnerable populations. Students and faculty could develop health equity projects around activities such as this.

Photo credit: Christian Ketel


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