Orientation Focuses on Diversity and Inclusion

School of Nursing students gather in Cole Hall to kick-off three days of orientation activities on September 19.

The UCSF School of Nursing embraced nearly 100 Masters, 66 MEPN, and 8 PhD students with a three-day long orientation at the end of September. Interim Dean Sandra Weiss officially welcomed the students, who then heard overview presentations on Clinical Experts by Rosalie Bravo, Research by Jyu-Lin Chen, and Leadership by Mary Foley, as well as all Nursing MinorsDiabetes by Maureen McGrath, Genomics by Elena Flowers, Geriatrics by Lynda Mackin, Global Health by Emily Hall, Palliative Care by DorAnne Donesky, and Nursing Policy by Stella Bialous. Additionally, students heard strategies for success from the Office of Student Affairs and central campus experts from Office of Diversity and Outreach, Student Life, Student Health and Counseling Services, and Office of Sexual Harassment Prevention.

Diversity Focus

The focus of student orientation programming for day two highlighted diversity and inclusion. The Office of Diversity and Outreach and the School of Nursing’s Diversity in Action (DIVA) Committee introduced important resources available to students such as the Multicultural Resource Center, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Resource Center, and Office of Diversity. DIVA student representatives led the new student group through an interactive HEALS training session, sparking conversation and camaraderie. Dialogue ranged from the impact of unconscious bias in the health professional setting to how students and teachers can use the DIVA-developed H*E*A*L*S model to provide a structured approach in helping to create a respectful and inclusive learning community – both in the classroom and clinic.

DIVA Welcome Back Reception

The thought-provoking discussions continued with the following week’s DIVA Welcome Back Reception. This annual gathering open to all SON students, faculty and staff was hosted in the Faculty Alumni House on September 28. The evening would not have been possible without the oversight and efforts of Teashall Britton and Laura Wagner. Special guests included: Drs. Sandra Weiss and Howard Pinderhughes, and representatives from the UCSF Multicultural Resources Center and LGBT Center. The student DIVAs who led the evening’s conversation began with an icebreaker activity, which asked those in the room to introduce themselves and suggest the title for the would-be book of their lives. The answers were thrilling and powerful and ranged from: “Never, Never, Never, Never Give Up” to “Dream Bigger.” Dr. Pinderhughes facilitated a conversation regarding the type of learning community the attendees envision for learners here at the School. Students and faculty were urged to consider potential areas of focus as they enter a long tradition of excellence within the school and provided several touch points of significant change and progress in the last few years. Student concerns voiced at the event included a desired focus on: mental health/wellness, trauma-informed care – support for students, facilitation of more frequent student gatherings/open chats, awareness and understanding of what being an “ally” means and entails, and improved integration of social determinants of health into the nursing curriculum/inclusion of contextualization for disparities.