University of Arizona College of Nursing Senior Program Coordinator José Muñoz has been awarded an opportunity to attend the esteemed American Association of Colleges of Nursing Diversity Leadership Institute (AACN).
“It is an honor to be participating in the AACN Diversity Leadership Institute and representing UArizona Nursing,” Muñoz said. “I am excited to learn and engage with nursing faculty and staff from across the country.”
The central focus of the Diversity Leadership Institute is to provide an overview of the evolution of diversity and inclusion and the role of diversity officers in academic nursing and nursing practice. It frames diversity within the context of higher education and academic nursing while presenting high-involvement diversity practices in teams and leaders. Participants will develop a diversity plan designed to drive excellence specifically tailored to their organization. At the conclusion of this program, a certificate will be awarded.
Muñoz, who is a member and co-chair of the College of Nursing’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Task Force, has a longstanding and deep commitment to issues of inclusive excellence in higher education, and society in general.
“Amid the ongoing racial and health pandemics, the words of Nelson Mandela, ‘Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world,’ remind me that we, collectively, can be a catalyst for social change,” he said. “As a Mexican American person who has had many alienating experiences studying and working in higher education, I am well aware of how meaningful it is to be heard and supported by leadership and other members of the college community. It can make the difference between barely getting through a program, and graduating with pride and purpose.”
As a member of the Wildcat Nurse community, Muñoz sees a particular need to enrich the diversity of the nursing profession to better meet the needs of an increasingly diverse society. He points out that the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the differences in health outcomes and care for Black, indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) communities.
“Universities, colleges and nursing programs specifically are beginning to focus on increasing diversity as they seek to effectively prepare nursing students to serve diverse clients and communities,” he said. “Diverse voices from governance, faculty, staff and students allow nurse educators to collaboratively develop policies and practices that benefit all learners and members of the health care system. The current lack of diversity and inclusion in the nurse workforce, student population, staff and faculty impedes the ability of nursing to achieve excellent care for all.”
Muñoz’s participation in the AACN Diversity Leadership Institute will aid him in growing his skill sets to support an inclusive environment where everyone feels empowered to share their experiences and ideas. His capstone project will address strategies to develop a structure and processes to support ED&I and health equity at the College of Nursing.
He is enthusiastic about the prospect of playing a creative and collaborative leadership role in establishing a new strategic direction for diversity and inclusion.
“I will continue to engage in efforts that create a sense of belonging for all students, staff and faculty that ensures everyone feels included and valued,” he said. “I will strive to build and nurture a culture where inclusiveness is a reflex, not an initiative. Where there is a deep sense of pride, passion and belonging that transcends any role, business unit, language or country, and is unified in our shared commitment to inclusive excellence, innovation and care.”