Category Archives: Diversity

Apr 29 2014

How to Advance Minority Health? A Diverse, Culturally Competent Health Care Workforce.

To mark National Minority Health Month, the Human Capital Blog asked several Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) scholars to respond to questions about improving health care for all. In this post, Michelle L. Odlum, BSN, MPH, EdD, a postdoctoral research scientist at Columbia University School of Nursing, responds to the question, “Minority health is advanced by combating disparities and promoting diversity. How do these two goals overlap?” Odlum has more than ten years of experience as a disparities researcher. She is a recipient of an RWJF New Connections Junior Investigator award.


As a health disparities researcher, my health promotion and disease prevention efforts are rooted in sociocultural aspects of health. This approach is critical to improved outcomes. In fact, when socioeconomic factors are equalized, race, ethnicity, and culture remain contributing factors to adverse minority health. I have come to understand that the key to combating health disparities lies heavily in cultural understanding. A diverse, culturally competent health care workforce is essential to health equity.

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Apr 27 2014

How to Advance Minority Health? Further Develop the Pipeline of Minority Physicians.

To mark National Minority Health Month, the Human Capital Blog asked several Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) scholars to respond to questions about improving health care for all. In this post, Paloma Toledo, MD, MPH, an assistant professor of anesthesiology at Northwestern University, responds to the question, “Minority health is advanced by combating disparities and promoting diversity. How do these two goals overlap?” Toledo is a Harold Amos Medical Faculty Development Program scholar.


Addressing racial and ethnic disparities has been a part of the national public health agenda for decades. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services establishes national objectives to improve the health of Americans through the Healthy People program. In Healthy People 2000, one goal was to reduce racial and ethnic disparities. A decade later, the goal was revised. Currently, the goal for Healthy People 2020 is to establish health equity, eliminating disparities. Despite these goals, disparities persist, and minorities continue to suffer worse health than non-minority whites. Much work has focused on raising awareness of disparities and improving the quality of care for minority patients; however, increasing the number of minority physicians is equally important in combating health care disparities. 

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Apr 25 2014

How to Advance Minority Health? Our Educational Systems Can Help.

To mark National Minority Health Month, the Human Capital Blog asked several Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) scholars to respond to questions about improving health care for all. In this post, Janet Chang, PhD, an assistant professor of psychology at Trinity College in Hartford, Conn., responds to the question, “Minority health is advanced by combating disparities and promoting diversity. How do these two goals overlap?” Chang is an alumna of the RWJF New Connections Program; she studies sociocultural influences on social support, help-seeking, and psychological functioning among diverse ethnic/racial groups.


Given the rapidly changing demographic landscape, ethnic/racial minorities will constitute the majority of the U.S. population by 2043 (U.S. Census, 2010). This inevitable shift to a majority-minority population has far-reaching implications for our society. The future of the United States will largely be determined by how we address growing disparities in income distribution, health care, and health outcomes. Yet, frank discussions about disparities and diversity lag behind the rapid population growth of ethnic/racial minority groups. In this respect, educational systems play a pivotal role in facilitating and shaping the dialogue about diversity. By promoting diversity, we can combat health disparities and advance minority health.

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Mar 12 2014

Quotable Quotes About Nursing, March 2014

This is part of the March 2014 issue of Sharing Nursing’s Knowledge.

“There has been tremendous growth in the nurse-managed health clinics, especially prior to the Affordable Care Act implementation, but certainly also now. I would go as far [as] to say that we won’t have a successful implementation of the Affordable Care Act if we don’t utilize nurse practitioners in primary care roles.”
--Tine Hansen-Turton, MGA, JD, CEO, National Nursing Centers Consortium, Nurse-Led Clinics: No Doctors Required, Marketplace Healthcare, March 5, 2014

“A lack of representative educators may send a signal to potential students that nursing does not value diversity. Students looking for academic role models to encourage and enrich their learning are often frustrated in their attempts to find mentors and a community of support. Clearly, we have a mandate to support and encourage nurses from minority groups in their quest to seek advanced degrees and to assume leadership roles in nursing education.”
--Jane Kirschling, PhD, RN, FAAN, president, American Association of Colleges of Nursing, Diversity in Nursing Education, Advance for Nurses, February 26, 2014

“The question for every nurse and every hospital board is how you go about promoting transformational change in which the emphasis is not on transitory, isolated performance improvements by individuals, but on sustained, assimilated, comprehensive change of the whole ... this report offers one answer: nurse leaders knowledgeable about how information technology can help redesign practices so that they are standardized, evidence-based and clinically integrated, and reinforce the values of a caring culture.”
--Angela Barron McBride, PhD, RN, FAAN, author of The Growth and Development of Nurse Leaders, TIGER Releases Study Aimed at Enhancing Nursing Informatics Education, Advanced Healthcare Network for Nurses, February 24, 2014

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Jan 13 2014

Feds Set Aside $45 Million to Strengthen Nursing

The federal government announced late last year it would deliver $55.5 million in fiscal 2013 to programs designed to strengthen, diversify, and grow the health care workforce.

The bulk of the funds—82 percent, or $45.4 million—are targeted at nurses, the largest segment of the health care workforce.

The announcement came as welcome news to supporters of a national campaign backed by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and AARP that is working to transform the nursing profession to improve health and health care.

Many of the grants support the Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action’s call for a more highly educated and more diverse nursing workforce and for more interprofessional collaboration among nurses and other health care professionals, according to Winifred Quinn, PhD, co-director of the Center to Champion Nursing in America, an initiative of AARP, the AARP Foundation, and RWJF.

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Jan 9 2014

Human Capital News Roundup: Demand for minority physicians, ADHD treatment, anxiety and strokes, and more

Around the country, print, broadcast, and online media outlets are covering the groundbreaking work of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) leaders, scholars, fellows, alumni, and grantees. Some recent examples:

Newly insured patients need time to adjust to not using emergency care as a primary medical service, Sara Rosenbaum, JD, recipient of an RWJF Investigator Award in Health Policy Research, told the New York Times. A study co-authored by Amy Finkelstein, PhD, MPhil, also a recipient of an RWJF Investigator Award, found that newly insured Medicaid recipients in Oregon went to the emergency room (ER) more often than people without insurance. The finding raises doubts about whether expanded insurance coverage will help control ER costs, at least in the short term. This story was also covered by NPR, NBC News, and CBS News.

Doctors who are Black, Hispanic, and Asian provide the most care to minority patients, and demand for their services may increase as the Affordable Care Act provides health insurance coverage to those who are currently without it, Bloomberg News reports. The story is based on a study co-authored by Steffie Woolhandler, MD, MPH, an RWJF Health Policy Fellows alumna. It was also covered by WBUR in Boston and The Charlotte Post.

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Dec 31 2013

YOUR Favorite Blog Posts of 2013 – Part Two

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Human Capital Blog published nearly 400 posts in 2013. Yesterday, we shared five of the ten most-read posts published on this Blog this year. Today, as we prepare to usher in a new year, we report on those that generated the most visits.

Alcohol and Life Expectancy: Unraveling the Mystery of Why Nondrinkers Have Higher Risk of Premature Death  For years, experts have reported that people who drink in moderation live longer than those who do not consume alcohol at all. Patrick M. Krueger, PhD, an alumnus of the RWJF Health & Society Scholars program, blogged about his study examining the reasons. One answer, Krueger found, is that nondrinkers include adults who quit drinking because they had problems with alcohol—and that group has a relatively high rate of premature death. His post attracted the biggest audience on this Blog in 2013 with more than 23,000 visits.

It’s a Lil’ Colored Girl to See You  This deeply personal post by RWJF Nurse Faculty Scholar alumna Angela Amar, PhD, RN, FAAN, recounts an experience that occurred when she was a young nurse, and a patient’s wife referred to her in that way. Amar, a professor, also notes that students sometimes comment that she is intelligent—a comment her majority faculty member colleagues tell her they do not hear. Amar’s blog is a salute to the benefits of diversity. She concludes: “Diversity is not a one-way glass that only directs light in one direction. ... Diversity benefits us individually and collectively and allows the light to shine everywhere.” Like Krueger’s blog, it generated a lively conversation among readers.

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Dec 26 2013

Sharing Nursing’s Knowledge: The December 2013 Issue

Have you signed up to receive Sharing Nursing’s Knowledge? The monthly Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) e-newsletter will keep you up to date on the work of the foundation’s nursing programs, and the latest news, research, and trends relating to academic progression, leadership, and other essential nursing issues. These are some of the stories in the December issue:

School Nurse Shortage May Imperil Some Children

School nurses play a vital role in improving the health of children and the public, yet students in one-quarter of the nation’s public schools have no access to a school nurse. Still, need is rising as medical advances allow more premature babies and others with severe health conditions to survive. Several RWJF Scholars are working to address this problem, as is the National Association of School Nurses.

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Dec 12 2013

In the Media: Male Nurses on TV Often Fit Negative Stereotypes

This is part of the December 2013 issue of Sharing Nursing's Knowledge.

More male nurses are needed to diversify the nursing workforce and help curb a looming shortage of nurses, but U.S. TV producers aren’t helping.

That’s the conclusion of a recent study of male nurse characters on televised medical dramas in the United States. Shows including Grey’s Anatomy, HawthoRNe, Mercy, Nurse Jackie, and Private Practice reinforced stereotypes, often in negative ways, about men in nursing, the study found. It was published in August in the Journal of Advanced Nursing.

“The men were often subject to questions about their choice of career, masculinity and sexuality, and their role usually reduced to that of prop, minority spokesperson, or source of comedy,” the authors write.

Men are joining the profession in increasing numbers, but negative portrayals of male nurses on television undermine efforts to recruit and retain male nurses, they add.

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Nov 26 2013

Monday Webinar to Address Diversity & Inclusion for Faculty Success

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) will host a webinar on Monday, December 2, to present insights and best practices in diversity and inclusion for faculty success at colleges and universities. Through a New Lens will feature a distinguished panel of speakers who discuss lessons and strategies they have developed from their own work in academia. They will share insights and ideas on grants/funding, career development, networking, mentoring, and work-life balance.

The webinar will be held from 2:30-4:00 pm EST. Advance registration is required.

Register for the webinar.