DEI Office reflects on first year

Photo of Maria R. Shirey, Felesia Bowen and Craig Anderson

By Erica Techo

The UAB School of Nursing continues its mission to shape patient-centered, equitable health care by preparing diverse nurse leaders and has made several strides since the establishment of its Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in 2021.

Professor and Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Felesia Bowen, PhD, DNP, APRN, PPCNP-BC, FAAN, continues to guide a path forward, following the School’s Diversity Strategic Plan, collaborating with the UAB Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and bringing together the UABSON community through advisory groups and regular events.

“When I sat back and looked at the work we’ve done over the last year, it is phenomenal,” Bowen said. “We have a working, functioning strategic plan that aligns with the School’s mission and values as well as the overall university.”

The strategic plan includes a framework to promote diversity, equity and inclusion throughout the School, following the strategic priorities of access and success, retention and inclusion, inclusion and authenticity, education and support, and stakeholder engagement.

“The thoughtful development of the UAB School of Nursing’s Diversity Strategic Plan positions our school as a leader in diversity, equity and inclusion among schools of nursing,” said Dean and Fay B. Ireland Endowed Chair of Nursing Maria R. Shirey, PhD, MBA, MS, RN, NEA-BC, ANEF, FACHE, FNAP, FAAN. “It provides a framework for success as we continue to pursue our tripartite mission of teaching, service and research, while building on our efforts of diversity, equity and inclusion and creating a sense of belonging in our School and on campus.”

In its first year, the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion established an Internal Advisory Council which includes students from across all degree programs, faculty from multiple departments, programs and pathways, and staff members to promote inclusivity and to make sure to include as many perspectives as possible.

Faculty and staff also volunteer their time on subcommittees, and through regular meetings, they discuss paths forward to address segments of the DEI strategic plan. This includes inclusivity and diversity, stakeholder engagement, access and success engagement, and education and support.

“Incorporating faculty, staff and students into these conversations and through the internal advisory council is really important because DEI is not one person’s job—it’s a job for all of us,” Bowen said. “Leadership sets the course for this progress, and our faculty, staff and students are the ones who get to move the strategic plan forward.”

These groups also work together to develop innovative programs to engage UAB and UABSON community members. This includes regular presentations and inviting experts to present on topics that can educate and enhance understanding among attendees. More than 800 individuals have joined these discussions in the past year, Bowen said, and recordings of the presentations are also available as a supplemental resource for courses.

Through additional outreach and resources, including the Office’s website, Bowen hopes to expand access to resources and events to continue to engage the UAB School of Nursing community.

“We have worked hard in this first year to make sure people know we are here and that we will support them,” Bowen said.

Upcoming Events