CINCINNATI — A $1 million study is aiming to bring more diversity to the nursing field. Researchers at the University of Cincinnati are planning to use the money to combat the issue.

What You Need To Know

  • Ann Gakumo recently got two grants totaling more than $1 million to find more was to bring diversity to the nursing workforce

  • Gakumo said a more diverse nursing workforce leads to better health outcomes 

  • She's planning to use the money to support diverse nursing students, follow them through their careers and work with other nursing colleges to implement plans for diversity

For Naiah Mensah, nursing is not only what she’s studying, but also a personal passion.

“My mom, she had some complications with me when she was giving birth. And then, I know with Black mothers, the birth mortality rate is exponentially high,” said Mensah. 

Mensah will graduate with her nursing degree in May from the University of Cincinnati. Mensah said she’s prepared to go right into the labor and delivery field.

“I want to see more people that look like me delivering babies and helping moms,” Mensah said.

Ann Gakumo, the associate dean for inclusion and community impact at the school’s College of Nursing, said she’s trying to understand why more students of color aren’t getting into nursing.

“There have been a number of studies that have shown better patient satisfaction with a more diverse workforce, better partnership and better health outcomes,” said Gakumo.

Gakumo recently got funding to find ways to diversify the nursing workforce. The funding comes through two grants and totals at $1 million.

She said one way to increase nursing student diversity is changing the nursing college admissions process.

“If we remove additional potential barriers, such as requiring standardized test score, this will make the admissions process even more holistic,” said Gakumo.

As part of Gakumo’s research, she’s following students who have been admitted to nursing programs on other factors. They’ll also be working with about ten other nursing schools.

“We’ll be developing a learning collaborative where we can really examine what the best practices are in addressing those structural barriers that exist that create obstacles for students, faculty and staff of color,” said Gakumo.

She’ll be doing the work over the next three years in an effort to bring in more students like Mensah, who’s trying to make a difference.

Fore more information on the grant and study, click here.