DEI Active Implementation

Members of the DEI implementation committee

Implementation Committee

The implementation committee for University of Michigan School of Nursing’s strategic plan for diversity, equity and inclusion strategic plan (2017-2022) serves to give life to the plan through small and large daily efforts. These efforts are both official and unofficial, planned and spontaneous. Chief among the committee’s work is to inform each other, and the Senior Diversity Director Rushika Patel, on the landscape of beliefs and assumptions about diversity work at UMSN and the University of Michigan. To that end, the committee plans to be active listeners, and hopes that UMSN faculty, staff, and students share any and all concerns with them.
Each of the members of the implementation committee has personal motivation to be involved in diversity work. Feel free to talk to them about your ideas, insights, and concerns. Find them in the halls, in class, in their offices, or by email. 

Dean Patricia Hurn

Dean Hurn comes from a background in which she was often the only woman in the room. Although it is easy to forget about the underrepresentation of women in the sciences when surrounded by the School of Nursing’s proportion of female faculty members and students, it is important to remember that this is a relatively unique situation in academia overall. The American Council on Education reported that in 2011, only 26% of college presidents were female, and the American Association of University Professors showed that in 2005-2006, though women earn more than half of the PhDs granted in this country, only 24% of full professors are female.

Representation of women in the sciences matters not only for the individuals themselves, but for the science itself. Perspective dictates the questions that people ask. Hurn’s research, on the ways in which brain injury differently affects women and men, addressed an issue that had not been recognized by male scientists. Many of UMSN’s faculty members ask questions along a similar vein: What different care is needed for sexual minorities? How does the body recover from childbirth? How do healthcare systems in low to middle income countries manage the increase in chronic disease? There is no end to questions to be asked, but we must have diversity among our ranks in order to see them.
Seeing women be passed over for leadership and advancement as well as working with entirely male colleagues forged Hurn’s commitment to equal opportunity in academia.  She wants to remove the barriers to leadership for underrepresented minorities, including women, bringing the diversity of humanity into roles where their impact can be magnified.

Dr. Rushika Patel, Senior Diversity Director

Rushika Patel commits herself to the work of social justice after moving through the inequalities of southeastern Michigan. Patel grew up in Sterling Heights, Michigan. As an undergraduate at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, she worked as a student ambassador to support students from Detroit Public Schools. After graduation she worked as a teacher for two years in the Detroit Public School systems.

Moving between the worlds of middle-class Sterling Heights, university-town Ann Arbor, and struggling Detroit sharpened her sense of structural inequalities, disparity of opportunities, and social justice. Work abroad, including education programs with sex workers in Southeast Asia and a year to her place of birth, Ahmedabad, India, both further committed her to social justice and gave her a nuanced understanding of personal identity.
Claiming a nuanced personal identity opens a path to understanding different perspectives and therefore, potential barriers to equal participation. In her work at the School of Nursing and the University of Michigan, she leads efforts to implement structures that ensure that the school serves underserved populations and equally incorporates all individual community members of the school, remembering that our scientific and academic work is incomplete if it does not include a variety of approaches and modalities. 

Maureen Coerdt, Assistant Dean for Administration

Maureen Coerdt is happy to serve on the diversity implementation committee because of her dedication to intentional recruitment for School of Nursing. As Assistant Dean for Administration, she leads recruiting efforts for faculty, students, and staff, and is committed to smart human resources and student services practices that enable the school to draw from the widest variety of talent.

With primary responsibility for financial and business planning, Coerdt works with all of the units of the school to ensure best practices in recruitment and retention, making sure that faculty and staff have the resources they need to succeed at the school. She also works with the department chairs and associate deans responsible for undergraduate and graduate education to ensure that the school provides pathways for retention, progression, and graduation for students from all backgrounds.
She understands and empathizes with students, staff and faculty who come from backgrounds underrepresented in the field. Her professional background in engineering, information technology and business consulting meant that she was often the only woman in the room and gave her a sense of the subtle ways in which accessibility and inclusivity should be secured.

April Bigelow, faculty

Lauren Clarkson, staff
"I am serving on this committee because I want to help create a more inclusive culture in the school for all. My hopes for the implementation of the DEI plan is that spaces will be created for students, staff, and faculty to learn and work together more inclusively.

Patricia Coleman-Burns, emerita faculty
"A long-time advocate for the right of persons to be free from all forms of oppression and violence, my research has evolved from rhetorical studies of social movements to a focus on racial identity and reduction of health disparities. I am serving on this committee as an extension of all of my personal and professional experience."

Gina Dahlem, faculty
"As an immigrant and mother of a bi-racial child with a visual disability, I have personally experienced issues surrounding diversity, equity and inclusion. It is my hope that through the Implementation Committee, we can promote an environment where our differences are respected and welcomed, and we continuously strive to learn and understand one another."

Danielle Garner-Jones, staff
"I'm serving on this committee in order to contribute to the success of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion strategic plan, and hope that this plan helps the school reach its goals for inclusivity and diversity."

Jasmine Johnson, student

Patricia Lovelace, staff
"I am serving on this committee because I wanted to be part of the process to ensure staff members are given opportunities for self-improvement and promotion, are treated with respect, and their work is evaluated fairly. It's not just about coming to work and getting the job done but doing so in an environment where you are appreciated and valued that fosters creativity, accepts differences, and encourages employee growth and development."

Kinnothan Nelson, staff
"This is a rare and important opportunity to develop new, and change existing, institutional structures that will create, promote, and sustain a more dynamic, open, include, and diverse environment for the School of Nursing and the University of Michigan. It is an honor to serve on a committee that has such great potential to positively affect the lives of those who will become nurses, the communities they serve, and the faculty and staff who help them on their journey." 

Jordan Rimsa, student
"The DEI implementation committee allows me to act as a liaison for the student body to ensure the community at the School of Nursing is as inclusive as possible. Together, weare forging a better tomorrow for the staff, students and faculty at the University of Michigan."

John Shaver, undergraduate student
"My involvement with the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee has been in response to my personal and professional desire to be a part of progressing toward a university community in which all individuals are - and know that they are - valued contributors to our shared experience."

Rob Stephenson, faculty

Lee Roosevelt, faculty

Kate Wright, staff
"I am committed to seeing DEI efforts at the School of Nursing and at the University of Michigan succeed. As we change ourselves, we change the world." 

Committee meetings

The Implementation Committee for DEI meets monthly and works on multiple fronts. These include:
  • ongoing efforts to raise awareness and solicit feedback on the plan
  • occasional discussions and town hall meetings to respond to current issues
  • training session and panel discussion on delivering competent, evidence-based health care and building an inclusive work environment for diverse populations
  • facilitation of a monthly forum for staff to come together and address concerns
  • discussions with Curriculum Committee on diversity and inclusion in curriculum, clinical simulations, and clinical placements

U-M's Strategic Plan

On Oct. 6, 2016, the University of Michigan embarked on a historic journey, launching its first-ever university-wide strategic plan for diversity, equity and inclusion. See the video recap of the launch and learn more about the plan.

UMSN Staff Forum

Providing a safe space for staff to discuss and address issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion. The mission of the Staff Forum is to develop and build relationships between staff to foster a positive, transparent, and inclusive environment in the School of Nursing; facilitate discussions around ideas, interests, and issues of importance to UMSN staff; provide a venue for staff led input, feedback, and direct communication with UMSN leadership. For more details please contact Kinnothan Nelson.