During our current health crisis, many of our alumni, faculty, students, and staff have witnessed firsthand how discrimination disproportionately affects the health care of our most vulnerable populations—particularly people of color. That is why we at the Connell School of Nursing (CSON) are reaffirming our commitment to confronting and dismantling systemic racism and oppression while strengthening our support for the students and colleagues most adversely affected by it.
CSON was proud this fall to host Camara Phyllis Jones, a family physician, epidemiologist, and senior fellow at the Morehouse School of Medicine, who talked about “Tools for Becoming a Racial Justice Warrior” at a virtual event co-sponsored with Boston College’s Forum for Racial Justice in America.
This spring, CSON will bring New York Times best-selling author Ijeoma Oluo (So You Want to Talk about Race) to the Connell School, continuing an ongoing conversation among faculty and staff who read the book as part of CSON’s book club. Faculty who read Oluo’s book together last year will read The Racial Healing Handbook, which outlines how to identify racism and take steps to engage in collective healing.
I am very proud of how our school has recognized the health problems in our midst and changed our curriculum to address them. Take, for example, Examining Diversity in Nursing and Health Care, a new graduate-level course taught online last summer by Assistant Professor and CSON Diversity Advisory Board Chair Nadia Abuelezam and Research Scholar Cherlie Magny-Normilus. Students learned inclusive leadership strategies that will be important in their advanced practice nursing careers.
We are also supporting CSON students through our Seacole Scholars program—a living-learning community for select first-year nursing students to help them transition smoothly to Boston College and increase their sense of belonging—and the new Mary Mahoney program, which provides mentorship, community, and academic support for all graduate students of color.
We are proud of the work we have accomplished. We also recognize that this work is ongoing and that there is still much to be done. Onward.