Social Justice and Health Equity and Anti-Racism Commitment

Columbia Nursing’s commitment to social justice and health equity (SJHE) and anti-racism affirms our mission to foster the highest attainable level of health for everyone, by addressing unjust systems and structures that impede this ethical mandate. As a world-renowned urban institution with a global mission and a long history of supporting health and well-being as a human right, Columbia Nursing is uniquely positioned to lead efforts to achieve this mission.

We have adopted and stand by the following statement:

Columbia University School of Nursing condemns individual, systemic, and institutional racism and its disproportionately destructive impact on people of color. We are committed to eliminating racial inequities and are steadfast in our pursuit of eradicating health disparities by transforming the structures that perpetuate the injustice. We are resolved and dedicated in our pledge to take bold and enduring action to advance the school and our communities in equity and in health.

To achieve these goals, Columbia Nursing is implementing changes in our educational and research programs, clinical practice, operational strategies, and policies.

Learn More About Our Anti-Racism Progress

Social Justice and Health Equity Committee

Columbia Nursing’s Social Justice and Health Equity Committee serves as the governing body for other Columbia Nursing working groups and committees focused on anti-racism, diversity, and inclusion. Comprised of faculty and staff, the committee meets regularly to assess the success of these efforts and plan future interventions.  

Committee Members

  • Lorraine Frazier, PhD, dean, School of Nursing, and senior vice president, Columbia University Irving Medical Center
  • Kellie Bryant, DNP, assistant professor and assistant dean, Simulation and Clinical Affairs 
  • Kenrick Cato, PhD, assistant professor
  • Elizabeth Corwin, PhD, professor and vice dean, Strategic and Innovative Research
  • Jennifer Dohrn, DNP, associate professor and assistant dean, Global Initiatives
  • Stephen Ferrara, DNP, associate professor and associate dean, Clinical Affairs
  • Judy Honig, DNP, professor and vice dean, Academics and Dean of Students
  • Tonda Hughes, PhD, professor and associate dean, Global Health
  • Akil Johnson, director, Operations
  • Linda Muskat-Rim, associate dean, Strategic Communications and Marketing
  • Jacquelyn Tayor, PhD, professor and executive director, Center for Research on People of Color
  • Vivian Taylor, EdD, associate dean, Diversity and Cultural Affairs
  • Judy Wolfe, EdD, associate dean, Student Affairs

Columbia Nursing Anti-Racism Working Groups

Our faculty, staff, and students are involved in various working groups focused on anti-racism, which include:

Working Group on Civility and Professionalism

Develops and recommends structures for promoting professionalism and behavioral expectations that demonstrate respect and value human dignity for all members of our Columbia Nursing community, with attention to race, ethnicity, gender identity, and gender orientation.

Progress: 

  • The working group seeks input on strategies for creating and sustaining a climate where we all feel that we are included and belong.
  • On September 21, 2021, in collaboration with the Diversity Office, the working group hosted a discussion of qualitative themes that emerged from the faculty/staff climate survey.

Co-Chairs:

  • Adena Bargad, PhD, assistant professor and coordinator, Women's Health Subspecialty
  • Judy Wolfe, EdD, associate dean, Student Affairs

Working Group on Clinical Care

Promotes anti-racist clinical care through outreach, education, and collaboration with the community, professional nursing organizations, and others.

Progress: 

  • Organized a webinar with the National Black Nurses Association and the National Association of Hispanic Nurses for clinical faculty entitled “Racism is a Public Health Crisis: What Can Advanced Practice Nurses Do?”
  • The ColumbiaDoctors Primary Care Nurse Practitioner Group is reaching out to community organizations to inform them about the services the practice offers. This is led by Stephen Ferrara, DNP.
  • The practice also has a House Calls program serving adult patients in Washington Heights and Inwood who have difficulty leaving home. Marie Garcon oversees this service, which provides comprehensive in-home primary care including chronic disease management and follow-up care after hospitalization.

Chair: 

Stephen Ferrara, DNP, associate professor and associate dean, Clinical Affairs

Working Group on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Community Service

Proposes and engages in strategies to address racism, support, and healing within Washington Heights, Harlem, and other local communities.

Progress: 

  • Expanded collaboration with Project Renewal Men’s Shelter to offer a health fair including blood pressure screenings, COVID-19 vaccinations, and naloxone trainings. The shelter, located a block from Columbia Nursing, serves approximately 200 men.
  • Kellie Bryant, DNP, received two grants from the NYS Department of Health and New York Presbyterian Hospital for $25,000  and $90,000, respectively, supporting a partnership between the task force and the Bronx Opium Collective to supply resources for outreach health care workers who provide drug counseling, food, and wound kits for the homeless drug user population.
  • The committee is planning to collaborate with two local schools in Washington Heights, PS 128 (an elementary school across the street from Columbia Nursing) and the Gregorio Luperon High School for Science and Mathematics at 501 W. 165th Street. Programming ideas include reading sessions with children, nutrition and fitness awareness and practice, and health screenings for children and families. 

Chair:

  • Kellie Bryant, DNP, assistant professor and assistant dean, Simulation and Clinical Affairs
  • Matthew Richardson, manager, Operations

Working Group on Racial Equity in Education

Develops and recommends methods to move toward anti-racist nursing education. Seeks to implement anti-racist curricula, programming, and training to address problematic racist terminology in medicine.

Progress: 

  • This working group created the anti-racist syllabus statement and the anti-racist Bold Statement adopted by Columbia Nursing, which exemplify our school’s commitment to creating an inclusive, anti-racist, and respectful learning environment.
  • As a result of this group’s work, Columbia Nursing has added a required course on race and related issues for all Masters Direct Entry Program students. The current course is Deconstructing Racism for Health Professionals, and two more courses will be added.
  • Columbia Nursing has established a racial literacy series for faculty. The working group is also developing an audit tool to help faculty evaluate their courses with an eye toward identifying and eliminating racism and bias in their educational activities.

Chair:

  • Judy Honig, DNP, professor and vice dean, Academics, and Dean of Students

Working Group for Health Disparities Research

Investigates health disparities related to the structural and social determinants of health and solutions to these disparities.

Progress: 

  • Launched in 2020, the Center for Research on People of Color (CRPC) has a multidisciplinary focus on research and educational programming to promote health equity. The center supports scholars, especially those from under-represented communities, and offers mentoring, career opportunities, pilot grants, and many other learning opportunities.
  • CRPC launched an anti-racism speaker series in 2020. Dr. Waverly Duck of the University of Pittsburgh delivered the most recent talk, "A Nation Divided: The High Cost of Tacit Racism in Everyday Life," on September 16, 2021.

Chair:

  • Jacquelyn Taylor, PhD, professor and executive director, Center for Research on People of Color

Working Group on the Recruitment and Retention of a Diverse Workforce

Recommends, supports, and implements revision of an academic tracking system to support the advancement of all faculty and staff. The system will appropriately recognize all types of work that contribute to best practices in hiring and mentoring of faculty, with special attention to race, ethnicity, culture, and gender. 

Progress: 

  • Within the last seven months, Columbia Nursing has hired eight diverse faculty members, including three research faculty, two clinical faculty, two academic faculty, and one simulation faculty member.
  • The school has also established an Office of Faculty Development, led by Rebecca Schnall, PhD, that will hold monthly faculty workshops on the promotion process, how to write a personal statement, mentor-mentee relationships, how to develop videos for teaching and learning, and more.

Chair:

  • Elizabeth Corwin, PhD, professor and vice dean, Strategic and Innovative Research

Working Group on Admissions of a Diverse Student Body

Reviews and assesses Columbia Nursing’s recruitment and admissions processes to ensure a holistic admission framework to support the admission of a diverse student body.

Progress: 

  • This taskforce will report their findings and recommendations by the end of the fall term, and will share some recommendations before the final report is complete.

Chair:

  • Judy Wolfe, EdD, professor and associate dean, Student Affairs

Working Group on Retention of a Diverse Student Body

Proposes and recommends best practices to help more students from low-resourced, first-generation, and under-represented groups succeed in reaching their nursing career goals.

Progress: 

  • This taskforce will report its findings and recommendations by the end of the fall term, and will share some recommended interventions before the final report is complete.

Co-Chairs:

  • Vivian Taylor, EdD, associate dean, Diversity and Cultural Affairs
  • Latisha Hanson, DNP, assistant professor and director, Diversity Programming
  • Rachael Samuel, assistant director, Student Support

CUIMC Task Force for Addressing Structural Racism

The deans of the four Columbia University Irving Medical Center schools appointed the Task Force for Addressing Structural Racism in July 2020 to review approaches for reducing racism in health care and the health sciences. Representatives from Columbia Nursing are involved in the task force and its working groups.

Read the CUIMC Working Group Report 

Diversity Committee

The Diversity Committee's goal is to support an intellectual learning environment that promotes social justice, innovative research, practice, and policy aimed at eliminating health inequalities.

Subcommittees include:

Diversity Subcommittee on Fostering an Inclusive Environment

Creates, recommends, or implements initiatives, and programs to foster a climate that values diversity, inclusion, and respect for differences in our students, faculty, and staff with an aim to build a cohesive supportive community for all.

Progress: 

  • Sponsored a number of anti-racism programs and initiatives over the past year including developing a Land Acknowledgement Statement that has been adopted by Columbia Nursing honoring the Lenape People.
  • Coordinate our Diversity book club reading selections and discussions. The current book that is being read is “How to Be An Anti-Racist” by Dr. Ibram X. Kendi.
  • The group helped in the initial thinking about administering a climate survey at our school.
  • Their next big project the Family History Showcase where students, faculty, and staff are asked to share aspects of their family culture and traditions.  

Co-Chairs:

  • Madeline Henry, Senior Coordinator, Strategic Communications and Marketing
  • Ana Kelly, PhD, Assistant Professor of Nursing
  • Melanie Tiplady, Senior Coordinator, Academic Affairs

Contact Us

For questions or comments about our social justice and health equity and anti-racism efforts or to join any of our diversity subcommittees or anti-racism working groups, please contact son_diversity@cumc.columbia.edu.