Social Justice Steering Committee Aims to Dismantle Structural Racism and Discrimination
The steering committee is focusing on a framework that includes awareness, building capacity and actions.
In May, University of Florida President Kent Fuchs urged all individuals of The Gator Nation “to become part of positive change against racism.” In response to this request, the College of Nursing formed a Social Justice Steering Committee with members from the faculty, staff and nursing student body. With the aim to recommend systemic changes toward anti-racism and structural equality in the College of Nursing, the steering committee is focusing on a framework that includes awareness, building capacity and actions.
Jeanne-Maire Stacciarini, PhD, RN, FAAN, (center) with Social Justice Steering Committee member Kayla Elliott (left) and post-doctoral associate Dany Fanfan (right). Note: This image was taken prior to national guidelines of face coverings and physical distancing.
The steering committee is led by Assistant Dean for Diversity, Inclusion and Global Affairs Jeanne-Marie Stacciarini, PhD, RN, FAAN, and Associate Dean for Student Affairs Versie Johnson-Mallard, PhD, RN, FAAN, and will remain active for one year with the ultimate goal of becoming a permanent committee.
“It is important to discuss social justice and make changes within the College of Nursing because there are strong relationships between racism, health and social justice,” Stacciarini said. “We cannot move away from recognizing racism as the root cause of health inequities and inequalities. We must prepare nurses who will be equipped to dismantle systemic racism and discrimination in the health care system.”
Social Justice Steering Committee strategies:
Promote positive and productive relationships among students, faculty and staff toward understanding racial health inequities and anti-racism practices
Educate the college on the negative impact of social injustices, racism and discrimination for addressing structural racism in the curriculum, research and service
Build a shared framework for conversations around race, diversity, inclusivity, equity, gender identities and different abilities
Advocate for research that support nuances of intersectional equity frameworks
The College of Nursing has held town halls for students and faculty to discuss inequality and racism in health care and society and dialogue areas to improve within the college.
Kayla Elliott, who participated in these town halls, is a senior in the BSN program and a member of the steering committee. She says the creation of the committee shows that the college’s administration wants to engage in conversations about race in order to change for the better.
“This gives me hope for the future of the College of Nursing as a more inclusive environment, producing nurses who think critically about the state of the world and actively work to combat injustices,” Elliott said.