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Andrea R. Lindell, Ph.D. ’70VMC Villa Maria School of Nursing Social Change Impact Endowed Fund aimed at eliminating health care disparities in professional practices

Published: 05/10/2022

Nurses Week 2022

Nurses Week 2022

Gannon University Villa Maria School of Nursing faculty are leveraging educational resources to equip graduate nursing students in identifying and eliminating health care disparities in professional practices.

The initiative is supported by a $5,000 Andrea R. Lindell, Ph.D. ’70VMC Villa Maria School of Nursing Social Change Impact Endowed Fund, which provides funding for students and faculty in Gannon’s nursing program.

Brenda Snyder, DNP, RN, CNE©, assistant professor of nursing, and Emilee Rotko, MSN, RN, instructor of nursing, are spearheading the initiative to assist nursing students in identifying implicit bias and taking actionable steps using the March of Dimes’ educational training, “Awareness to Action: Dismantling Bias in Maternal and Infant Healthcare™” within key courses.

As part of the training, students learn historical information, personal testimonies and frameworks of dismantling biases to improve care with each patient interaction.

Their educational experience involves first completing a pre-test before participating in a one-hour interactive training on the topic of implicit bias in maternity care. The training is followed by a post-test to provide qualitative data as well as active debriefing between faculty and students in the classroom to assess learning experiences and address concerns seen in maternity care in our community, as well. 

According to Snyder and Rotko, educating students about implicit bias before they graduate equips them to identify bias and health care disparities in their professional practice and better care for mothers and their babies.

This generation of nurses will be better prepared to implement the changes needed to lessen or eliminate health care disparities, Snyder and Rotko said.

In the United States, non-Hispanic Black women are three to four times more likely to suffer pregnancy-related deaths when compared to non-Hispanic white women. Both implicit and explicit biases are often indicated as factors impacting health care disparities.

Recently, the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses, or AWHONN, released a position statement maintaining that maternity care providers should be aware of the effect of implicit bias and racism on their language and actions.

Dawn Joy, Ph.D., RN, CNE, associate dean of the Villa Maria School of Nursing, expressed her sentiments on the work being supported through the grant.

“We are deeply indebted to our gracious benefactor Andrea R. Lindell, Ph.D., RN, ’70VMC for her vision in providing these resources that assist the VMSON to impact social change."

This piece is featured in a special edition of the Erie Times-News: Nurses Week

With a placement rate of 100% for graduates, and licensure exam pass rates averaging 96% for the last four years, the Villa Maria School of Nursing is one of the most in-demand destinations at Gannon University. Learn more and apply today

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