September marks the on-campus arrival of Dr. Angela Richard-Eaglin, DNP, FNP-BC, CNE, FAANP, Yale School of Nursing (YSN)’s first fulltime Associate Dean for Equity (ADE). A member of Dean Kurth’s senior leadership team, Dr. Richard-Eaglin will collaborate with stakeholders across the YSN and Yale communities.
Dr. Richard-Eaglin enters the position during a national reckoning with racism and COVID-19’s exposure of longstanding structural disparities in health care.
During the past few years, the YSN community has discussed racism, microaggressions, health inequity, and other issues and interactions. In the past two years, YSN founded the Inclusion, Diversity, Equity Action Solution (IDEAS) Council and in 2019 made an initial Commitment to Anti-Racism, laying out a variety of action areas. A recent article (Knopf 2021) noted that YSN was one of only ten top schools of nursing whose statements on racism touched on all six elements outlined in anti-racism statements made by national nursing organizations. Yale now requires all units at the university to create diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEIB) plans. With the support of Maurice Nelson, director of YSN’s Office of DEI – which Dr. Richard-Eaglin will oversee – all YSN constituencies had the opportunity this summer to weigh on the school’s updated DEIB plan.
“Honesty, integrity, and ethics are at the top of my list of important virtues,” said Dr. Richard-Eaglin. “I’ve read all about the challenges that YSN has had in the space of anti-racism, anti-oppression, and diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. What impressed me during my interview process was that everyone I interacted with was honest and transparent about those challenges and about the work yet to be done. I have made a lifelong commitment to being a leader and a partner in creating meaningful and lasting changes from a humanitarian perspective, and I’m excited that YSN has like-minded people who are also committed to advancing racial and social justice.”
“Dr. Richard-Eaglin is an outstanding addition to the YSN community,” said Dean Ann Kurth ’90 MSN, PhD, CNM, MPH, FAAN. “As a nurse faculty leader she is a tireless champion for expanding diversity and inspiring cultural intelligence and cultural humility in health professions education and clinical practice. I look forward to collaborating with her, faculty, students, and staff as we all chart the school’s path forward.”
Dr. Richard-Eaglin envisions using a scaffolding approach that builds on a foundation of sincerity and authenticity.
“I think that establishing a culture of trust has to be a priority,” she said. “I liken this process to therapy. In order to repair any fractured relationship, all involved parties must be willing to take on some accountability for repairing the relationship and must also be committed to being fully and intentionally engaged in the process. This can be accomplished with a series of workshops that include consistent follow-up assessments and timely interventions.”
As a Certified Professional Cultural Intelligence (CQ) and Unconscious Bias Facilitator and Coach, Dr. Richard-Eaglin has developed customized workshops that inform practicing health professionals, health professions educators, students, researchers, and staff on the application of CQ to organizational wellness, bias management, and mitigation of bias-influenced health outcomes.
“DEIB strategies have to become a part of the fabric of the school in such a way that it IS the culture; it has to be integrated with intent so that it is sustainable and implicitly and explicitly apparent,” she said. “The school cannot shy away from implementing approaches that create accountability and responsibility at all levels for all stakeholders.”
Dr. Richard-Eaglin anticipates a variety of developments and supports for everyone at YSN. These include curriculum design processes that are already underway, policy development and reform, DEIB/anti-racism/anti-oppression integration into the framework of the school, recruitment and retention efforts for faculty, staff, and students, and clear and consistent accountability processes for all stakeholders.
“Integrating cultural intelligence throughout the nursing programs will give faculty and students the tools to develop and maintain a sense of global cultural consciousness and to apply those concepts to organizational equilibrium and wellness, bias management, mitigation of bias-influenced outcomes, and translation of those skills to clinical practice,” she said. “This all translates to critical consciousness and has the potential to advance the movement towards systems change, health equity, and improved health outcomes for black, indigenous, people of color.”
“We are proud to welcome Dr. Angela Richard-Eaglin to Yale,” said Secretary and Vice President for University Life Kimberly M. Goff-Crews ’83, ’86 JD. “Dr. Richard-Eaglin is a leader in diversity, equity, and inclusion work and is attuned to the needs of nursing students. I am confident that she will be a strong asset to YSN and the greater university community.”
Dr. Richard-Eaglin is hopeful about the future direction of the school.
“I want to show that YSN can be the exemplar, the model of excellence in the space of DEIB on-campus and beyond, to advance health equity for everyone,” she said.