By Erica Techo
Health disparities in the United States lead to poor health outcomes. As longtime advocates for health equity, nurses have an opportunity to address these disparities and improve health across communities.
University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Nursing professor and Associate Dean of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Felesia Bowen, PhD, DNP, APRN, PPCNP-BC, FAAN, participated in the podcast, sharing a pediatric care perspective throughout the series.
“People from all career paths utilize the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine as a resource, not just individuals in health professions,” Bowen said. “It was an honor to be invited to participate because the work from NAM is always high caliber and has a far-reaching impact. I was intrigued and excited to be a part of this podcast, addressing what health inequity means for kids and nursing in general.”
Since the podcast launched in August 2021, Bowen said both colleagues and family members have shared positive feedback, including one who said it gave further insight to their lived experiences.
“I had one older family member who said, ‘You know, you spoke on things that brought up memories I hadn’t considered. I hadn’t thought of how those things impacted my health. I just thought that was how it was for Black people,’” Bowen said.
Bowen appears in four episodes of the podcast. She hopes it helps inform listeners of the scope of health inequity, the difference between health inequity and health disparities, and opportunities to make a difference.
“This podcast is a useful tool for nursing programs and can supplement courses for both undergraduate and graduate nursing students,” she said. “In terms of health disparities, faculty might decide they want to assign the episode to students to listen to, and then they can come back to have a discussion. There’s a lot of really rich discussion that will come from this podcast.”
This podcast and The Future of Nursing 2020-2030, a recent publication from NAM exploring how nurses can work to promote equity and reduce health disparities, will help guide curriculum, standards and the future of nursing education, Bowen said.
“There are two important health documents that will help guide the change in curriculum going forward—the new Essentials and The Future of Nursing,” Bowen said. “These both focus on health inequity, which causes health disparities and results in health problems that persist through the life span. This is information that needs to be threaded through every single course. All nursing schools will be taking a good look at their curriculum to come in line with our new Essentials, and now is the perfect time to do this work.”
All eight episodes of the podcast, including transcripts, are now available on the National Academy of Medicine website.