Robert Lucero sitting with a colleague at UCLA Nursing

The UCLA School of Nursing has been selected as a recipient of the UC Hispanic Serving Institutions Doctoral Diversity Initiative. This prestigious program is designed to attract underrepresented students to doctoral programs with the long-term goal of developing nursing faculty that reflects California’s diversity. 

Spearheaded by UCLA Nursing Professor Robert Lucero, PhD, MPH, RN, FAAN, the UCLA initiative, Nursing Professoriate Pathway Program: From Bench-to-Community, will work to recruit and support underrepresented students over the next five years. The plan calls for network level interventions and will leverage the relationships and expertise of five federally designated Hispanic Serving Institutions and two health care systems across southern California. 

“As a public institution, we have a unique responsibility to create a more diverse and inclusive academic community, and this initiative is an important step towards achieving that goal,” Lucero said. “This program will provide us with invaluable resources and support to increase the recruitment and retention of underrepresented students and make a meaningful impact on the academic community as a whole.”

While doctoral education in nursing continues to expand nationally, the vast majority (approx. 64%) of those who received a PhD in nursing from 2010-2020 identify as White, according to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s report, The Future of Nursing 2020-2030: Charting a Path to Achieve Health Equity. And when measured against the changing racial and ethnic composition nationally, and in southern California, it’s clear the demographics do not align. 

This five-year PhD pathway program in nursing hopes to change that by giving those from underrepresented communities access and resources to pursue their endeavors and become the future of nursing education and leadership. 

“It is imperative that we take the steps today to build a health care workforce that reflects the diversity of the region in which we live,” said Lin Zhan, PhD, RN, FAAN, dean and professor at the UCLA School of Nursing. “I am proud of supporting this initiative; We are grateful for the opportunity to work with other institutions in our state to promote diversity in higher education.”

The UCLA School of Nursing’s partner institutions include, Mount Saint Mary’s University Nursing Department, California State University – Los Angeles School of Nursing, California State University – Long Beach School of Nursing, California State University – Channel Islands School of Nursing, Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science Mervyn M. Dymally School of Nursing, UCLA Health Department of Nursing, & Cedars-Sinai Department of Nursing.