School of Nursing

School of Nursing Statement of Commitment to Anti-Racism

Leadership Council
July 2020

The OHSU School of Nursing (SON) acknowledges the structural racism embedded in our society, education, and healthcare. We also acknowledge that the profession of nursing and OHSU, are steeped in a history of exclusion and white privilege, a reality that calls upon us to consciously and actively seek to unlearn, learn, and practice our commitment to combat racism daily. We recognize the painful and racist history of Oregon that overshadows and adds to the challenge and importance of our anti-racism work. In response, we firmly commit to disarming racism by reasserting diversity, equity, and inclusion as core values of our school and coming together as one community of students, staff, faculty, and community partners in support of each and every one of our members of color, in condemning racism in all of its forms.

The initial focus of our actions will be our own school and will include all of our members, through individual and collective commitment and intentional practice. We know that our school has not always represented diversity, equity, and inclusion and, as dean, I must admit that we have been blind to at least some of this. Recently we recognized that a long-standing folk-art doll display in the Portland campus building depicted a narrow view of the history of nursing and was upsetting and hurtful to some of our members, including faculty, staff, and students. Through dialog with members of the SON Diversity Advisory Group (including faculty and students), emeriti faculty, and alumni, we listened and reached full agreement that the dolls should be removed.

Our commitment to combat racism aligns with the OHSU commitment to becoming an anti-racist organization. OHSU President, Dr. Danny Jacobs, has committed to “examining ways we can change our behavior, language and decision-making” in order to achieve this goal. Examples of initial steps that have recently been undertaken include changes to the OHSU Code of Conduct to make displaying hateful imagery an explicit violation, removing historically racist language such as “master brand” and replacing it with “principal brand”, a review of policies and practices, new training and mentoring programs for employees of color, and the decision to terminate a contract with Oregon Correction Enterprises for laundry.

In this document we outline immediate initial actions, proposed by the SON Leadership Council that can be undertaken in the next six months. The Leadership Council considered the summary of issues from the June 8th SON forum “The Importance of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: Standing Up Against Structural Racism”, which included input from faculty, staff, and students, to inform these initial actions. Major issues that surfaced during the forum included issues regarding unconscious bias training, micro-aggression training, and bystander ally training; issues regarding student and faculty diversity and inclusion and the need to specifically focus on anti-racism; multicultural curriculum, with a required focus on education about racism and healthcare disparities; and anti-racism actions. As these initial and longer-term actions must be informed by the larger SON community, they will be shared with all members over the summer and through ongoing dialog in the fall.

Immediate Initial Anti-Racism Actions of the OHSU School of Nursing

  • Create an anti-racism repository of resources for faculty, staff, and students, including multicultural curriculum resources.
  • Listen to our students about their observations of racism, provide opportunities for dialog and processing of observations in classes and clinical, and potential responses and interventions.
  • Listen to faculty and staff about racism and anti-racism efforts and seek to provide opportunities for dialog and action.
  • Examine clinical course outcomes and rubrics, add language regarding system biases/racism and incorporate more opportunity for students to pay attention to the racism that exists in microsystems of care.
  • Consider program outcomes to incorporate social justice.
  • Conduct a review of cases, exam questions, assignments, and simulations across the undergraduate and graduate curricula to ensure accuracy, lack of bias, diversity and multicultural examples.
  • Offer courses for student unconscious bias training in specific undergraduate and graduate courses beginning summer 2020.
  • Encourage a personal anti-racism individual goal for SON employees in the coming year.
  • Consider a personal anti-racism goal in the Faculty Performance Review – this work will be led by the Faculty Affairs Council.
  • Support an Interprofessional Education focus on anti-racism.
  • Health System & Organizational Leadership program racism course series of 3 starting fall 2020 will include seats for other students.
  • Update the statement on diversity, equity, and inclusion for the SON catalog. (completed 7/2020)
  • Create several pre- and post-conferences for undergraduate clinical faculty to support faculty in addressing racism and opening conversation about it.
  • Create a safe place for faculty to bring situations forward and discuss how to address and learn from them.
  • Create safe spaces for students and staff for dialog, being together, and learning.

Leadership Council Members

Susan Bakewell-Sachs, Dean and Vice President of Nursing Affairs

Karen Reifenstein, Sr. Associate Dean – Student Affairs and Diversity

Hector Olvera-Alvarez, Sr. Associate Dean – Research

Amy Goltz, Associate Dean, Finance/Administration

Carla Hagen, Interim Sr. Associate Dean - La Grande Campus

Peggy Wros, Special Assistant to the Dean

Joanne Noone, Campus Associate Dean – Ashland

Tamara Rose, Campus Associate Dean – Klamath Falls

Angie Docherty, Campus Associate Dean – Monmouth

Asma Taha, Program Director, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner

Kimberly DeRienzo-Smith, Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs

Kristin Lutz, Assistant Dean Portland Undergraduate

Gail Armstrong, Assistant Dean, DNP

Lisa Osborne-Smith, Program Director, Nurse Anesthesia

Cathy Emeis, Program Director, Nurse Midwifery

Jackie Webb, Program Director, Family Nurse Practitioner

Benjamin Schultze, Program Director, Acute Care/AGACNP

Margaret Scharf, Program Director, Psych Mental Health

Deborah Messecar, Program Director, Master of Nursing Education, Interim Director Academic Operations

Amy Ross, Program Director, Health Systems & Organizational Leadership

Glenise McKenzie, Program Director, RN-BS

Paula Gubrud-Howe, Special Assistant to the Dean, Director of Simulation

Tami Buedefeldt, Director of Admissions

Sarah Keeney, Interim Director of Learning Support

Mara Mackie, Research & Finance Manager

Ginger Keller, Chair, Faculty Affairs Council

Alison Lord, Performance Improvement Consultant