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CSM Nursing Faculty Member to Participate in Inaugural Health Equity Influencers Program

Tuesday, June 18, 2024

OMAHA, Neb. – A College of Saint Mary faculty member is one of 20 nurse educators participating in the nation’s first Health Equity Influencers Program (HEIP). Assistant Professor Alejandra Gonzalez-Cabrera, PhD, RN, was accepted into the program launched by Mercy University in Dobbs Ferry, NY.

“Being part of the inaugural cohort of the Health Equity Influencers Program is an incredible honor,” Gonzalez-Cabrera said. “I am excited to bring this transformative experience to my teaching and inspire future nurses to create a more equitable healthcare system for all.”

The unique program is an intensive residency designed to strengthen nursing faculty’s preparedness to educate the newest generation of nurses through the lens of health equity. Nurse educators from across the country have been selected to participate in the program, generously funded by the American Nurses Association and the National Commission to Address Racism in Nursing.

“Over time, we’ve realized that improving health outcomes isn’t just about focusing on patients or the system; it’s also about focusing on providers,” said Kenya Beard, EdD, AGACNP-BC, ANEF, FAAN, dean of the School of Nursing. “The research shows that we all have implicit biases because of how our environment shapes our reality. We’re trying to help educators create curriculum and policies that acknowledge these implicit biases and their impact on our decision-making.”

The HEIP program is designed to enhance the readiness of nurse educators to spearhead the advancement of health equity, both within and beyond the classroom. Throughout the program, participants will actively engage in various activities to design and implement nursing curricula that foster inclusivity and confront structural racism. By doing so, they will assume a pivotal role in bolstering the preparedness of future nurses to champion health equity.

The hybrid program will be delivered synchronously over six months through a mix of virtual and in-person sessions beginning June 21 at Mercy’s Bronx Campus. Anti-racism content expert Danica Sumpter, PhD, RN, will facilitate the sessions along with guest instructors. Thanks to the funding received from the ANA grant, Mercy will waive the course fee for every HEIP participant this year. Participants will also receive a small stipend to offset the cost of long-distance travel.