2021 Nursing Innovations Fund Award Recipient

Oct 26, 2021

Pennsylvania Action Coalition Wins National Nursing Innovation Fund Award for Work on Health Equity

The Pennsylvania Action Coalition (PA-AC) is among six nurse-led organizations that will receive a Nursing Innovations Fund award of up to $25,000 each for new or ongoing work that addresses nursing’s role in building health equity, well-being, and promoting a Culture of Health. The award was announced 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 work of its state Action Coalitions in advancing health equity.

The Pennsylvania Action Coalition Cohort of Exchanged Learning (PA-ACCEL) Mentorship Program is a mentorship program created by the Pennsylvania Action Coalition’s Nurse Diversity Council (PA-NDC) in partnership with Lincoln University's Department of Nursing. A mentee cohort of junior and senior nursing students from Lincoln University 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. The program objective it to 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.

"An investment in future professional nurses is an investment in health equity, health care equity, and optimal health outcomes for individuals, families, populations, and communities," said Monica Harmon, Pennsylvania Action Coalition Nurse Diversity Council Co-Chair.

Five other winning projects this year are from Delaware, Kentucky, Montana, Utah and West Virginia. All were selected based on offering replicable strategies that help nurses build a Culture of Health and promote health equity and well-being, while highlighting the importance of collaboration with diverse stakeholders. In fact, each of the 2021 Nursing Innovations Fund projects secured dollar-to-dollar matching funds from local and state partners as a condition of the award, which prioritizes coalition building to achieve sustainable change. As of 2020, state coalitions have raised more than $93 million in matches.

“This award’s focus on health equity has never felt more urgent,” said Susan B. Hassmiller, PhD, RN, FAAN, senior adviser for nursing at RWJF and director of the Campaign for Action. “This pandemic has put a spotlight on the inequities in our healthcare system. People of color, with lower incomes and those living in remote communities have gotten sick and died in the greatest numbers. Nurses remain on the front lines as trusted providers of care, and they are stepping up to innovate ways to build more equity into the system.”

“It is remarkable to me that despite the unprecedented pressure nurses are under during this pandemic, they are prioritizing the critical work that is needed to create structures to make health care more equitable in every way,” said Susan C. Reinhard, PhD, RN, FAAN, senior vice president and director of the AARP Public Policy Institute, and chief strategist at the Center to Champion Nursing in America, an initiative of AARP Foundation, AARP, and RWJF, which coordinates the Campaign for Action. “We received impressive proposals from all over the country, including some places hardest hit by COVID. I feel so much pride in our profession right now.”

“In my work, I see first-hand the powerful effects of social determinants on health,” said Scharmaine Lawson, DNP, FNP, FAAN, CEO of Housecall Nation® and Nola The Nurse® and co-chair of the Campaign’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Steering Committee (EDISC). “I love to see nurses actively engaging with their communities to connect more people to health care.”

“When nurses reflect the communities they serve, you see significant improvements in health and health equity,” said Eric J. Williams, DNP, RN, FAAN, interim associate dean of health sciences, nursing program director at Santa Monica College and co-chair of the EDISC. “No one is better positioned than nurses to innovate ways to make their profession more inclusive and diverse.”

Learn more about the project at this link: PA-ACCEL Mentorship Program

Read about the other awardees here.

About the Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action

About the Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action

The Pennsylvania Action Coalition is part of the Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action, a national initiative of AARP Foundation, AARP and RWJF, working to implement the National Academy of Medicine’s evidence-based recommendations on the future of nursing. The Campaign includes Action Coalitions in every state and the District of Columbia and a wide range of health care professionals, consumer advocates, policy-makers, and the business, academic, and philanthropic communities. The Center to Champion Nursing in America, an initiative of AARP Foundation, AARP and RWJF, serves as the coordinating entity for the Campaign. Learn more at www.campaignforaction.org

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