Frontier Nursing University (FNU) held its 12th annual Diversity Impact Conference on September 27-29. The event, which was free for all attendees, was held virtually for the third consecutive year. The conference’s theme was “Engaging Diverse Voices in Sustained Dialogue to Build Community Trust.”
The conference featured an impressive group of speakers and presenters from across the country. The opening day keynote address, “Social Justice in Nursing Education,” was given by Boston University Associate Professor of General Internal Medicine and Director of Faculty Development Angelique Harris, Ph.D., MA. The day two keynote address, “Community Historical Trauma,” was delivered by University of Texas School of Nursing Professor John Lowe, Ph.D., FAAN. Among the many other presentations were two by Clinical Professor at Duke University’s School of Nursing, Brigit Carter, Ph.D., MSN, RN, CCRN, FAAN, and Assistant Clinical Professor at Duke University’s School of Nursing Jacqui McMillian-Bohler, Ph.D., CNM. Together, they presented “Personal Triggers” and “Microaggressions.” FNU alumni Caitlin Hainley, DNP, ARNP-CNM, IBCLC, and Emily Zambrano-Andrews, DNP, ARNP-CNM, presented “Building Community: Advancing Accessibility and Affordability in the Midwifery Model,” based on their experience as co-founders of the Des Moines Midwife Collective. FNU President Susan Stone, CNM, DNSc, FAAN, FACNM, gave a presentation and led a discussion about gun violence in the United States.
One of the conference’s many highlights was a screening of the acclaimed documentary “Apart”. The film features formerly incarcerated mothers jailed for drug-related charges who overcome alienation and a society that labels them as “felons” to readjust to life with their families. The screening was followed by a panel discussion with three of the women featured in the documentary.
“What conference has a screening of a documentary and then has a session with the stars of the documentary?” Dr. Alexander-Delpech said. “I was floored by those women, allowing us to take what they were telling us into our classrooms and our professions.”
“I am proud that FNU makes this a signature event,” Dr. Alexander-Delpech continued. “I am so proud that I am a member of a community that takes this so seriously that this is the type of event they would sponsor. I know I’m being prejudiced – nevertheless, we had a lineup of speakers that speaks volumes of how important diversity is to us. It tells us that we put value into diversity, equity, and inclusion. It’s not just lip service. It is what we live, it is part of our fabric. I’m so proud to be interwoven into that fabric.”
“I always learn something at the Diversity Impact Conference,” FNU Associate Dean of Academic Affairs Rachel Risner, Ph.D., DNP, APRN, C-FNP, CNE, said. “I learned something from every one of our speakers. It was just such an important time for me to disconnect from all my other meetings and chats and work and just be in the moment and to listen to what everybody had to say and to have takeaways and to be able to be reflective. All the speakers were really great. I can’t wait to see how much it changes and grows every year.”
Dr. Alexander-Delpech believes that the Diversity Impact Conference has the potential to become even more prominent in the years ahead.
“I want to see this as the signature online conference,” she said. “I want to take it beyond the university. I want to go beyond our walls because we can. We just need to push the envelope further. That’s my goal for next year, to bring outside people into the conference.”
To learn more about FNU’s DEI initiatives, visit our website.