Forging Policy: Associate Dean Jermaine Monk and Education After Affirmative Action

Sam DiStefano
By Sam DiStefano  | 
Forging Policy: Associate Dean Jermaine Monk and Education After Affirmative Action

Last year, the Supreme Court overturned Affirmative Action. The decision means that schools can no longer legally consider race as a determining factor for a student’s admission.

As a result, educational institutions need to find new methods to achieve their goal of matriculating a student body that reflects the diversity of the real world.

But how?

Jermaine Monk, PhD, MSW, MS, MA, Associate Dean of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging, wants to take on that question at “Beyond SFFA: Dismantling Barriers and Fostering Innovation Through a Health Policy Incubator.”

Dr. Monk received an Institute for Policy Solutions Grant for the project in November 2023. The grant, funded through the Institute for Policy Solutions at the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing, awards recipients $100,000 for convenings and research that will identify solutions to improve the health and well-being of individuals, families, and communities. Ultimately, this work will contribute to the Institute’s goal of shifting policy and practice toward preventive, whole-person care while also eliminating racist policies and structures.

For Dr. Monk, the grant, and incubator, is an opportunity to ignite action, and the impact reaches beyond education.

Diversity is critical for achieving health equity and access; diversity in the nursing workforce enhances culturally competent care, improves patient outcomes, and addresses health care disparities. The Brookings Institute now projects that America will have a majority population of people of color by 2045. And while in the School of Nursing’s community, 52 percent of students and over a third of faculty are people of color, 80 percent of registered nurses and nurse practitioners are White.

“We see diversity and disparity in the real world, so we are committed to ensuring diversity, equity, and inclusion are built into nursing education,” says Dr. Monk. Now it is up to schools to find new strategies to foster and sustain inclusive excellence.

We know what the problem is,” says Dr. Monk. “We need to identify solutions.”

A Meeting of the Minds

“Beyond SFFA: Dismantling Barriers and Fostering Innovation through a Health Policy Incubator” will take place at the Institute for Policy Solutions in the new Johns Hopkins Bloomberg Center in Washington, DC in fall 2024. 

The event will convene researchers, policymakers, and practitioners for a two-day “think-and-do-tank,” where they will produce a cohesive plan that encompasses everyone’s input.

Dr. Monk plans to include thought leaders from outside institutions, policy organizations, health care organizations, and more —including students from the School of Nursing.

“It’s important to include their perspectives because, ultimately, they feel the impact,” notes Dr. Monk.

Despite the recent ruling on race and admissions, our resolve remains unchanged to build a school community that represents the rich diversity of America.

Dean Sarah Szanton upon receiving the 2023 HEED Award for Diversity

Diversity in the Nursing Workforce

The Supreme Court decision creates a ripple effect throughout the health care field. It impacts the opportunities for individuals from underrepresented backgrounds to pursue nursing, decreases diversity in the nursing student population and, ultimately, the nursing workforce.

It matters because social determinants of health make up around 80 percent of health outcomes. While an understanding of social determinants is built into the foundation of nursing practice, our efforts to address health inequities fall short if they don’t also include efforts to recruit nurses of color.

“The decision is the decision,” says Dr. Monk. “We can’t change that. Now it’s time to come together and find new strategies to reach our goals.”

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About the Author: Sam DiStefano

Sam DiStefano is the Social Media and Digital Content Coordinator for the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing. Sam works to bring the latest from JHUSON straight to your social media feeds and online reading.

Sam DiStefano

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