As we return to in-person work and school on campus, there is much to reflect upon. The past 19 months have no doubt been challenging for many of our students, alumni, faculty and staff. At the same time-- as a community we are so strong and we are returning to campus with renewed dedication to the many opportunities ahead of us.
As always, our School is not simply focused on the challenges associated with recovery from the pandemic. We are also at the forefront of those critical reflections and we have wonderful momentum in terms of making significant local, regional and national impacts. For example, our faculty have expertise in historical and contemporary vaccine hesitancy (including discrimination and racism in health care) and are actively presenting their scholarly work to community and general public forums as I write this note. Other faculty are leading the way with offering a virtual town hall on how to prepare for a post-COVID future with a focus on the health of older individuals. Several of our faculty have just won large grants—one to increase the number of Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) students in Nursing programs and another focused on mobilizing and training lay peer health advocates in South Snohomish County to increase community awareness about behavioral health and to help navigate individuals and caregivers to behavioral health resources and services. Our School is awaiting reviews on a submitted proposal to launch a Master’s Degree in Community Health and Social Justice, and our K-12 school district and health-care focused behavioral health teams are both vibrantly planning their next phase of work with teachers and health care workers.
Yes, the pandemic has meant burnout, fatigue, and needing to offer one another more grace, patience and care. Yet it has also clearly meant that the School of Nursing and Health Studies is not just staying true to---but is advancing our educational, research and public service mission, vision and values. As we welcome back our students and each other to campus this Fall, let us not forget the incredible power that comes with our School’s ability to be creative, flexible, compassionate, and fiercely innovative. WELCOME BACK to all!
Shari L. Dworkin, Ph.D., M.S.
Dean and Professor
School of Nursing and Health Studies