Mentoring Black Nurses Toward Success

The Mentoring Black Nurses Toward Success program pairs Black undergraduate students at the Duke University School of Nursing (DUSON) with clinical staff nurses from the university’s health system. Once matched, the nurse mentors provide their students with guidance on issues such as preparedness for clinicals, applying for jobs, and overall professional development. The program, which is operated through a partnership between the health system and DUSON’s Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, also offers advisement, training, and support for participating nurses led by a mentor from DU faculty or health system leadership.

Acknowledging Invisible Labor

Too often, underrepresented faculty of color are burdened with performing acts of service that are not official job requirements. In April 2021, the MGH Institute of Health Professions became the first school in the U.S. to approve and implement a guideline recognizing the disproportionate invisible labor of faculty of color. These professionals may have up to four credit hours trimmed from their teaching workload to acknowledge their extra service to students of color as well as time spent supporting and coaching White colleagues about DEI issues. Part-time faculty are hired to share the workload and teach the courses that faculty of color are no longer responsible for instructing.

NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing and Howard University Collaboration

In February 2021, NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing and Howard University entered into an educational and research partnership. Nursing students from both institutions have educational exchange opportunities, and faculty are able to collaborate on existing research and jointly apply for new grants. The schools are also establishing a mentoring program to support Black nurses in obtaining advanced practice credentials and doctorates, an important step in increasing the representation and influence of people of color in nursing research, education, and clinical settings.

Graduate Entry Welcome Panels

In May 2021, the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at The Ohio State University College of Nursing held virtual graduate entry welcome panels for incoming graduate students of all backgrounds. The panels were designed to enhance incoming students’ understanding of psychosocial, academic, clinical, professional practice, and research aspects of the nursing education experience. Topics covered by faculty, staff, and fellow students included time management, academic expectations, cultural humility, and health equity. This welcoming experience for diverse cohorts of incoming students gave participants the confidence to know that they could transform health care and improve lives.


The Ohio State University College of Optometry’s SocialEyes program matches faculty members with small groups of first-year students. These groups meet regularly for fun team-building events that foster valuable relationships. During the COVID-19 pandemic, program participants were able to connect and build friendships virtually by creatively incorporating technology into their activities and playing online games. In the past, SocialEyes events have included dinners, hiking, pumpkin carving, and more under the guidance of a faculty member.

Debt-free Medical Education

To systematically address the cost of medical education for prospective students from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds, Weill Cornell Medicine has committed to ensuring that all medical students with financial need can reach graduation debt-free. This endeavor was first announced in 2019 and covers both tuition and cost-of-living expenses for qualifying students, including housing and health insurance. Generous support totaling $160 million has made this program possible thanks to the Starr Foundation, the Weill Family Foundation, and other remarkable donors who want every future physician to have the economic freedom to pursue their dreams.

This article was published in our December 2021 issue.