Vanderbilt University School of Nursing Secures Grant for Leadership Academy

Vanderbilt University School of Nursing Secures Grant for Leadership Academy

Boosting its commitment to underrepresented nursing leaders, Vanderbilt University School of Nursing has secured a grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation for its innovative leadership program, Academy for Diverse Emerging Nurse Leaders.

The academy is a groundbreaking, five-day immersive fellowship designed to train nurses from underrepresented backgrounds in nursing leadership who are in early leader roles in health systems and nursing schools and those committed to expanding and supporting diversity in nursing leadership. It is produced in partnership with Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

The program began in November 2022 with Rolanda Johnson, PhD’98, FAAN, professor of nursing and School of Nursing associate dean for equity, diversity, and inclusion, and Mamie Williams, PhD, Vanderbilt University Medical Center senior director for nurse diversity and inclusion, serving as co-directors. Johnson is named as the principal investigator for the grant.

The program—and the Moore Foundation grant—are designed to meet a very specific challenge in nursing leadership.

“The number of administrators from diverse backgrounds is limited in nursing education and health care systems. Students and the nursing workforce need leaders with shared experiences and those who support diversity in nursing,” said Pam Jeffries, PhD, RN, FAAN, ANEF, FSSH, dean of the School of Nursing. “The academy is the vision of two talented leaders and educators, Rolanda Johnson and Mamie Williams. They saw a need to create and build a pipeline for diverse leaders at Vanderbilt and throughout health care and academia nationally.”

The primary goal of ADENL is to equip nurses at the early stages of their managerial careers with education, tools, and support to navigate the challenges of being leaders committed to expanding and supporting diversity in nursing leadership.

“The academy provides a unique opportunity for a diverse group of emerging nurse leaders to come together, develop networking opportunities and peer-to-peer opportunities, and gain information from leadership experts within the nursing profession and other disciplines,” Johnson said.

ADENL’s curriculum covers key leadership skills such as strategic planning, team building, and finance. Additionally, the program prioritizes personal development, focusing on mediating biases and understanding how personal experiences influence leadership approaches. It also addresses specific topics such as health equity, racism mitigation, and productive conflict.ADENL offers fellows the opportunity to engage with leaders across diverse sectors, emphasizing that the challenges tied to justice, equity, and diversity permeate beyond just nursing.

The academy’s vision extends beyond the program, closely tracking each fellow’s project development and career progression to measure the initiative’s long-term impact.

Upon completing the academy, fellows venture into real-world leadership projects. Current projects include support initiatives for male nurses and specialized programs for international nurses in hospitals.

With the goal of extending the ADENL initiative on a national scale, particularly in collaboration with HBCUs, the program aspires to mentor and shape 80 national nursing leaders over the next two years. The Moore Foundation grant will allow Vanderbilt to offer the program twice a year, expand recruitment, and assist with various program needs, including faculty travel, scholarships for fellows, and funding for individual leadership projects.

The inaugural ADENL cohort in 2022 witnessed participation from 18 fellows spanning nine states. Their experience was enriched by insights from 31 national and regional faculty members.

Williams said that fellows count the relationships they make with other students as a significant asset of the program. “They formed very strong bonds and very strong relationships with one another,” she said. “I think that will continue throughout their careers, and these will be people that they can rely on to offer them advice, support, and encouragement.”

The fall 2023 ADENL session welcomed 16 participants from November 13-17, 2023. The new spring academy, made possible with the Moore Foundation grant, will be held March 18-22, 2024. More information is available here.

In a fitting tribute to her commitment, Johnson was recently honored with the Joseph A. Johnson, Jr. Distinguished Leadership Professor Award. The award celebrates a Vanderbilt faculty member who has proactively nurtured an academic environment where everyone feels valued, and diversity is celebrated.

Vanderbilt University School of Nursing Improves Health Equity, Offers Specialized Training with New HRSA Grant

Vanderbilt University School of Nursing Improves Health Equity, Offers Specialized Training with New HRSA Grant

Vanderbilt University School of Nursing has received a four-year, $2.8 million Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Bureau of Health Workforce grant for a primary care nurse practitioner residency program that will recruit, train, and retain primary care providers with a passion for helping rural and underserved communities. Associate Professor Pam Jones, BSN’81, MSN’92, DNP’13, FAAN, is the grant’s project director, with Associate Professor Christian Ketel, DNP’14, FNAP, serving as primary author and evaluator.

The award builds on a $2.4 million HRSA grant the school received four years ago to develop its Community-Based Nurse Practitioner Fellowship, a postgraduate nurse practitioner/nurse-midwife resident training, hiring, and retention plan for community-based health clinics.

The new grant funds five additional advanced practice nurse fellows—three trained in family or adult gerontology primary care, one trained in psychiatric/mental health, and one trained in nurse-midwifery—to work full-time for one year at a participating community-based health clinic.

The fellows benefit from specialized training in behavioral health and psychopharmacology, maternal health, cultural competency, and mitigating issues caused by social determinants of health. They also learn from clinical immersion experiences, mentoring, collaboration with other providers, and providing evidence-based treatments for rural or medically underserved clinics.

Nationally, many new providers based in clinics serving rural or underserved populations become overwhelmed and leave their positions within the first few years. The CBNP Fellows effort is poised to tackle that issue and help new practitioners build confidence and resilience and increase job satisfaction so they continue to practice in communities where they are most needed.

“This program provides, in partnership with our community agencies, a gradual and structured onboarding and an educational program that gives the new provider additional knowledge and ongoing support from the grant team,” Jones explains.

The fellowship will increase access to primary care nurse practitioners for general physical health issues. Behavioral health assistance will be offered as part of holistic primary care and support for people with psychiatric conditions that often aggravate other health conditions. Certified nurse-midwives will promote maternal health through patient education and increased access to providers.

“Chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, arthritis, and depression, contribute significantly to healthcare costs and affect six out of ten adults, with multiple chronic conditions being common,” Ketel says. “Risk factors such as tobacco use, poor nutrition, sedentary lifestyle, and alcohol consumption exacerbate the situation.”

This program is a part of the Vanderbilt School of Nursing’s programs and educational opportunities that focus on community needs and health equity, helping people overcome disparities to live healthy lives.

“VUSN has a long history of developing and managing nurse-managed practices with APRNs and programs that meet the needs of underserved populations,” says Jones, who has seen the good these types of programs can do and how much they are needed. “In my former role as a chief nursing officer, I saw the profound impact of the lack of appropriate primary care in our underserved communities.”

Ketel continued, “Underserved populations often face significant healthcare disparities, including limited access to quality care and higher rates of chronic diseases. By supporting this program, Vanderbilt School of Nursing demonstrates its commitment to addressing healthcare disparities, working towards health equity, and producing culturally sensitive healthcare providers.”

The program seeks new nurse practitioners and nurse-midwives within 18 months of graduation. After a screening process through the Vanderbilt School of Nursing, applicants may be chosen to interview with a partner community-based health clinic, where those hired will become full-time employees for one year under the supervision of a mentor. They will also have access to continuing education opportunities, monthly conferences, and support/coaching from the School of Nursing faculty.

Tennessee Community-Based Health Clinics affiliated with the program include Hardeman County Community Health Center in Bolivar and Neighborhood HealthVanderbilt University Medical Center, Vanderbilt Primary Care West End, and Vanderbilt Midwives Melrose in Nashville.

The School of Nursing team includes Jones, Ketel, Instructor Tonya Elkins, and Associate Professor of Nursing Natasha McClure, DNP, MSN’11. For more information, visit

As an innovative program created to collaborate with community partners and support healthcare needs, the Community-Based Nurse Practitioner Fellowship is one way the School of Nursing supports Vanderbilt’s Dare to Grow philosophy, and it supports the passion Vanderbilt nursing faculty and staff have for helping others.

Vanderbilt’s Academy for Diverse Aspiring Nurse Leaders Set for July

Vanderbilt’s Academy for Diverse Aspiring Nurse Leaders Set for July

Nurses from underrepresented groups in nursing who are interested in leadership are invited to apply for the Academy for Diverse Aspiring Nurse Leaders to be held at Vanderbilt University School of Nursing July 17-19, 2023. The academy is for those with more than three years of nursing experience and not yet in healthcare or academia leadership roles.

The unique leadership development program is led by experienced leaders from diverse backgrounds committed to equipping nurses for future leadership roles. I

The Academy for Diverse Aspiring Nurse Leaders was created by the Vanderbilt School of Nursing and Vanderbilt University Medical Center to serve the needs of nurses from underrepresented groups in nursing leadership and/or those committed to expanding and supporting diversity in nursing leadership.

“If you’re a registered nurse, advanced practice nurse, nurse educator, case manager, or nurse informaticist, this program will help you develop a career plan and toolkit for future leadership roles,” says Mamie Williams, PhD, senior director for nurse diversity and inclusion at VUMC and academy co-director.

The Academy for Diverse Aspiring Nurse Leaders is a companion event to Vanderbilt’s highly successful Academy for Diverse Emerging Nurse Leaders for nurses who have been in academia or healthcare leadership for less than three years.

“Participants called that program ‘life-changing,’ ‘transformative,’ ‘profound,’ and ‘the most meaningful and impactful thing I have participated in,” says Rolanda Johnson, PhD, VUSN associate dean of equity, diversity and inclusion and academy co-director. “They felt strongly that learning how to be a successful diverse leader at an earlier stage in their careers would have been valuable and suggested the creation of a similar program for nurses who aspire to leadership.”

Spots are limited, so applicants are encouraged to apply by May 31.

Vanderbilt Launches Leadership Program for Diverse New Nurse Leaders and Faculty

Vanderbilt Launches Leadership Program for Diverse New Nurse Leaders and Faculty

Vanderbilt University School of Nursing created a new leadership development program for nurses new in health care leadership and academic positions who are from groups historically underrepresented in nursing and/or those who support them. The Academy for Diverse Emerging Nurse Leaders will be held in Nashville from November 14-18. Applications for the inaugural class of fellows are now being accepted.

“The need for nursing faculty and nurse leaders from groups historically underrepresented in nursing is well established, but research shows a need for career development resources that address the specific needs and challenges of diverse nurse leaders,” says Pamela Jeffries, PhD., FAAN, ANEF, FSSH, dean of Vanderbilt School of Nursing. “We believe that the knowledge, mentorship, strategy, and skills that new leaders will attain via the Academy for Diverse Emerging Nurse Leaders will empower them to continue to advance and lead.”

VUSN Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Rolanda Johnson and Vanderbilt University Medical Center Senior Director for Nurse Diversity and Inclusion Mamie Williams will co-direct the academy, designed for nurses who have been in academic or health care leadership roles for less than three years.

“What makes this fellows program different from other professional development opportunities is that it incorporates and builds on the lived experiences of diverse faculty and health care leaders who have navigated a similar leadership path,” says Johnson. “It explores the challenges of being a leader from an underrepresented group as well as the challenges of supporting and expanding diversity in nursing leadership.”

Academy for Diverse Emerging Nurse Leaders

Academy for Diverse Emerging Nurse Leaders

Academy for Diverse Emerging Nurse Leaders

The academy is taught by experienced faculty and health care leaders from diverse backgrounds and is specifically designed to serve the needs of new and emerging nurse leaders and faculty. In addition to the initial five-day, in-person meeting, fellows will also participate in virtual sessions, receive mentorship from an executive coach and institutional mentor and develop a leadership project.

Williams said that the idea for the academy resonated with her as she thought about her own nurse leadership journey of more than 25 years. “This leadership academy, based on specialized education, discussions, and interactions with peers and diverse nurse leaders, affords the emerging leader an opportunity to thoughtfully design their leadership journey,” she says.

She and Johnson said the academy was developed to help new nursing faculty and new nurse leaders build skills, gain knowledge, and build a network of colleagues and mentors to help them advance their careers and mentor other emerging nurse leaders.

Applications for the first cohort of the Academy for Emerging Diverse Nurse Leaders are now open and available at For more information and details on the academy, visit