Alumni Update: Spring 2024

Spring 2024 As Seen in Our Spring 2024 Issue

Dear Johns Hopkins School of Nursing Alumni,

In recent years, we have witnessed a remarkable shift within the nursing discipline—a transition from focusing solely on individual interventions to recognizing the critical role of systems in shaping population health outcomes. As alumni of the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing, we have a unique opportunity and responsibility to lead this transformative change, elevating policy and social justice to improve the health of all.

The evolving landscape of health care demands that we move beyond traditional roles and embrace a broader understanding of the factors influencing health. This does not mean that we forego our role in clinical management and mastery of materia medica—it simply means we must expand the levels of the care cascade to include the links and interactions between the disease presentation or states of health and the larger political and policy arenas. Nurses are now at the forefront of macro-level policy reform, advocating for systemic changes that address the root causes of health disparities. We are transitioning from mere enforcers of systems to agents of critical consciousness, leveraging our collective voices to drive meaningful change.

However, to truly affect lasting change, we must continue to engage in dialogue, uplift diverse voices, and push the boundaries of what is possible. This means integrating the epistemological foundations of human insight into our practice, centering the perspectives of both colleagues and patients in our research, implementation, and dissemination efforts.

We must address the gaps in our education system that perpetuate complacency. By expanding the focus of pre-licensure curricula to include structural factors impacting health and the role of nurses in driving structural change, we can empower the next generation of nurses to enact meaningful policy reforms, to interpret, evaluate, and lead policy change while maintaining a patient-centered approach.

The Policy Honors Program at our school serves as a model for how nursing education can integrate policy leadership training. By investing in policy education and fostering a culture of activism within our profession, our school is helping to position nurses, and our graduates specifically, as essential actors in redesigning the health care system and improving the health of communities worldwide. Let us continue to lead by example, leveraging our expertise and passion to create a healthier, more just world for all.

Meanwhile, we look forward to the traditional sharing of transformative ideas and coming together of milestone reunion classes during our upcoming Reunion Weekend, June 20-22 at the School of Nursing. This year, as always, we invite all alumni to help us honor the legacy of Hampton House, hear from students and faculty, and continue leading the way in shaping the future of nursing. Learn more about Reunion Weekend at, and see you there!

In solidarity,
Fernando Mena-Carrasco, MSN, MSW, RN

Fernando Mena-Carrasco, MSN, MSW, RN

President, Johns Hopkins Nurses’ Alumni Association
Doctoral Fellow, American Nurses Association (ANA) & Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

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