Coalition of Urban Serving Universities addressing key issues
The Coalition of Urban Serving Universities (USU) works to both support and enhance the contribution of campuses like IUPUI make a difference in their communities. As the current board chair, I’ve just hosted the summer meeting in Washington, DC. The sessions focused on enhancing student success, diversifying the health professions, and strategies for economic development.
Joining me from IUPUI were John Krauss, who after retiring in May from the directorship of the Public Policy Institute, is joining my team as a senior advisor bringing his huge experience in cities; and Kathy Johnson, Associate Vice Chancellor for Undergraduate Education and Dean, University College, who not only leads IUPUI’s student success initiative, but a leader in USU’s student success initiative.
A major development of USU has been the Urban University for Health initiative that seeks to recruit more diverse students to the health professions. The U.S. health professions do not represent the population they serve, so there is a systematic effort to recruit students and support their success and encourage graduates to practice in underserved areas. One of the most impressive sessions focused on the efforts being made to diversify the nursing profession.
Saluting the IU School of Nursing 100th Anniversary
The IU School of Nursing 100th Anniversary Gala was celebration of nursing leadership. The School recognized 100 alumni of those 100 years “for their exceptional contributions to nursing through education, clinical practice, leadership, and/or research.”
IU President Michael A. McRobbie led an impressive contingent of higher education, corporate and community friends to the podium, heaping well-earned praise on professionals – past and present – who helped build the school’s rich heritage.
I focused my remarks on the nurses attending—first asking all present to raise their hand and then demonstrating their impact. Think for a minute. What if every nurse in the room (more than a 100, but take 100 for ease), work on a high intensive ward serving only four patients a shift (most serve more)? How many lives are touched in one year? Say only three 12-hour shifts a week (low); say 42 weeks a year (low); then we are talking about 504 patients a year per nurse—and with 100 nurses—we are talking about more than 50,000 in one year. From that audience. And what if every nurse in that audience worked 20 years—2 million patients!
But that doesn’t consider the impact of the nurse educators—both faculty, who may have taught hundreds or even thousands, and clinical preceptors, who mentor student nurses in the field, who may have taught hundreds.
And that doesn’t consider the impact of nurse researchers, who may identify better strategies for care or develop entire new areas of research, whose research shapes the training of tens of thousands of nurses across the world.
So in that room that evening, it is fair to say the impact of the IU School of Nursing was in the millions of lives touched. That is impact.
IUPUI students in Swaziland to address health needs
Another example of impact in “Indiana and Beyond” is the fact that 10 students of the IUPUI Honors College, School of Nursing, and School of Public Health are spending three weeks in the small South African Kingdom of Swaziland to learn directly about the complexity of healthcare delivery in such nations.
|IUPUI nursing students preparing for Swaziland.
Six nursing students are assigned to the Raleigh Fitkin Memorial Hospital joined by nursing instructor Beth Murray. Students are assisting doctors, nurses, and pharmacy staff.
Four Honors College students accompanied by program director Dawn Whitehead are volunteering with Saving Orphans through Healthcare and Outreach (SOHO); an organization to improve the quality of life and life expectancy of orphans and vulnerable children - especially child-headed households - in communities deeply affected by HIV/AIDS.
In Sub-Saharan Africa, there are over 15 million orphans. In Swaziland, HIV/AIDS infects more than one in four people, making it the country with the highest prevalence rate in the world. The result is an exploding number of households headed by children, some as young as eight or nine years old.
Students reaching out across the world. What a tremendous learning experience.
I cannot close a letter talking about nurses without mentioning that Nursing Dean Marion Broome is leaving IUPUI at the end of July. After 10 years of excellent work, she accepted the Deanship of Nursing at Duke University and Associate Vice President of the Duke Health System. My thanks and best wishes.