Chamberlain recently welcomed Kenya Beard, EdD, AGACNP, CNE, ANEF, FAAN, as associate provost, social mission & academic excellence. While she is poised to do so many impactful things in this role, Patricia Ferguson, MA, vice chairman of the Diversity & Inclusion Council, recently had the opportunity to sit down with her for a one-on-one chat to learn more about social mission and why it is so important.
During this time, we also learned more about Dr. Beard, her journey to where she is now and the big plans she has for Chamberlain.
Her Passion Toward Nursing
Dr. Beard entered nursing over 30 years ago, believing that nursing had the power to improve the health of the nation. Several years later, she learned many patients die for reasons beyond their control, stemming from a poor quality of healthcare. When she saw that was the case, her feelings about nursing were taken to the next level.
“I believe that individuals have the right to achieve their highest level of health,” Dr. Beard stated, aligning with Chamberlain’s mission to educate, empower and embolden diverse healthcare professionals who advance the health of people, families, communities and nations.
But how could that be achieved?
Her Feelings on Diversity in the Workforce
“Greater workforce diversity is needed,” said Dr. Beard, who explained that the absence of diversity in nursing explains many of the disparities seen between different races and their health, as well as their views on healthcare. “And I thought ‘I could help diversify the workforce.’”
Dr. Beard began conducting substantial research on strengthening racial and ethnic diversity in nursing, but soon began to question: what about the needs of faculty as they teach culturally-competent learners? At that, her research widened to examine and disseminate what universities really need.
- Read Dr. Beard’s article on Meaningful Inclusion of Diverse Voices
- Read Dr. Beard’s article on Using a Social Mission Lens in Nursing Education
Her Pathway to Social Mission at Chamberlain
“That's what led me to Chamberlain,” Dr. Beard said. “We are graduating learners with the capacity to improve the world.
In her role, Dr. Beard will focus on Chamberlain’s social mission, specifically the contribution the school makes to enhance health equity within a community. Dr. Beard notes that in order for social mission to be effective, it must align with the University's strategic priorities of mitigating structural racism and dispelling the myth of race as a biological construct.
“[Chamberlain University] is designed to serve as a leader in this space,” said Dr. Beard.
Dr. Beard is excited to team up with others to come up with innovative strategies to really impact the lives and the learning styles of Chamberlain’s racially-diverse student body.
Click here to watch the full conversation between Dr. Beard and Patricia Ferguson.
By Emily Bond
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