PA-ACCEL Mentorship Program

Interested in Mentoring Nursing Students?

  • The Pennsylvania Action Coalition (PA-AC) is working with the Independence Blue Cross Foundation to expand PA-AC Cohort of Exchanged Learning (PA-ACCEL) Mentorship opportunities to nursing students in southeastern Pennsylvania.
  • Mentors will work with nursing students from the Independence Blue Cross Foundation Healthcare Scholars Program to bolster their capacity to succeed in nursing school and in their transition to nursing practice. We are looking for nurses from all disciplines intent on expanding diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workforce to mentor nursing students.
  • Cohort: Mentors are asked for a 2-year or 4-year commitment depending on their student's nursing program length. Mentors can meet with mentees virtually or in person at least once a month. The program will begin in September and will include orientation to introduce you to the program, comprehensive resources we will provide for both mentors and mentees and the PA-ACCEL Program Support Team.
  • If you have any questions, please contact Senior PA-AC Manager, Zaharaa Davood at  or Public Health Project Coordinator, Namaijah Faison at .
  • MENTOR APPLICATION STILL OPEN! We encourage nursing professionals in any role to apply. 

In Case You Missed It...


  • The PA-ACCEL Program Support Team hosted a virtual Information Session open to anyone interested in volunteering as a mentor. We provided an overview of program expectations and requirements. To view the recording please email Zaharaa Davood at  or Namaijah Faison at  for the password. 

In Case You Missed It...


About the PA-AC Cohort of Exchanged Learning (PA-ACCEL) Mentorship Program

  • The PA-AC Cohort of Exchanged Learning (PA-ACCEL) Mentorship Program is a mentorship program created by the Pennsylvania Action Coalition’s Nurse Diversity Council (PA-NDC).
  • Program Objective: Bolster the nursing students’ capacity to be successful both in nursing school and in their transition to professional nursing practice. Mentoring provides lifelong learning and professional resilience to students and is proven to increase student retention, the success rate on NCLEX, an increased sense of socialization into the nursing profession, enhanced self-esteem, and decreased anxiety and stress 1.
  • Cohort: A mentee cohort of nursing students are matched with one (1) professional mentor from various nursing fields for one (1) academic year. Throughout this program mentors and mentees will meet virtually or in-person.
  • Funding: The program is funded through in-kind support from the PA-NDC and grants from the Nursing Innovations Fund and the Independence Blue Cross Foundation. The grant award was supplied by the Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action, an initiative of AARP Foundation, AARP, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). The Campaign’s Nursing Innovations Fund was created in 2018 to support the work of its state Action Coalitions in advancing health equity. PA-ACCEL is working to address nursing’s role in building health equity and well-being and promoting a Culture of Health in future nurse professionals. Investment in future nurse professionals of diverse backgrounds assures health equity, health care equity, and optimal health outcomes for individuals, families, populations, and communities.

Office Hours with the PA-ACCEL Program Support Team: Students and mentors are welcome to schedule one-on-one meetings with PA-ACCEL staff to ask questions or address any problems or concerns. These meetings are 100% confidential. 

PA-ACCEL Resources (2023-2024 Cohort)

The Importance of Mentoring

The Importance of Mentoring

  • Research is clear that creating a healthcare system that empowers everyone to live their healthiest lives requires the nursing workforce to be reflective of the population that it serves.

    The Future of Nursing 2020-2030: Charting a Path to Achieve Health Equity underscores this imperative throughout its report: “as discussed… developing a more diverse nursing workforce will be key to achieving the goals of reducing health disparities, providing culturally relevant care for all populations and fostering health equity.”

    Furthermore, as nurses comprise the largest sector of the healthcare workforce, changing their demographics has the potential to transform the U.S. healthcare system while removing barriers to care, addressing interpersonal and structural racism, and cultivating social justice. However, diversifying the nursing pipeline entails more than recruiting and admitting a diverse student body. It is critical to build an inclusive environment where all students receive individualized support and are encouraged to thrive academically and professionally.

Background Information

  • Lincoln University of Pennsylvania (Lincoln University), the nation’s first degree-granting Historically Black College and University (HBCU), reports that 85% of their students are Black or African American, while most nursing students across the country are White (60% reported in 2019). Studies have shown that common barriers to the success for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) nursing students have included a lack of financial support, inadequate emotional, moral, and technical support, insufficient academic advising and program mentoring, and inadequate professional socialization.

  • To address these gaps, the PA-AC’s Nurse Diversity Council (PA-NDC) and Lincoln University partnered in 2020 to start the PA-ACCEL Mentorship Program. The PA-ACCEL program components were created to address the social determinant of health of educational attainment for the students who participate and the transformation of access to care and services for those who will benefit from their successful career as professional nurses.

  • Mentorship within the nursing workforce is the link to a healthier future for all. As discussed in the Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action’s Health Equity Toolkit (Health Equity Toolkit), an upstream approach to public health practice requires a focus on and dismantling of the systems that perpetuate the same inequitable outcomes. The PA-ACCEL is designed to address structural inequities in our healthcare system by equipping nurses from underrepresented backgrounds with more tools to pursue their educational goals and to be the healthcare leaders that they are fully capable of becoming.

Additional Student Resources

Scholarships & Financial Aid


Career Resources/Professional Nursing Organizations


Mental Health Support

Moral Resiliency

Resume Building

Career Resources

Successful Interviewing

Professional opportunities - Externships, internships, shadow experiences, etc.