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DEI consultant gets most of nursing school’s ‘racial healing’ grant

Nurse: $25,000 could be better used to teach health care management, leadership

Most of a state “racial healing” grant will be spent on a “diversity, equity, and inclusion” consultant for Elmhurst University’s nursing school, according to documents shared with The College Fix.

The Healing Illinois grant comes from the Illinois Department of Human Services and YWCA Northwestern Illinois, according to the grant acceptance letter. The goal is to fund projects supporting “racial healing” and “racial equity.”

As The Fix previously reported, the Illinois government plans to spend up to $4.5 million on “anti-racism” and “racial healing” grants like the one to Elmhurst. The university received $25,000 through the program in March to “ensure its Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) curriculum fully integrates diversity, equity and inclusion concepts.”

Of that total, $17,000 will be used to hire an outside consultant, while the remaining $8,000 will be spent on faculty stipends for curriculum work, according to the university’s grant application, obtained by Do No Harm and shared with The Fix.

Laura Morgan, chief of staff at Do No Harm, which opposes DEI in healthcare, voiced concerns about the money being spent largely on an outside consultant since the university already has a vice president of equity and inclusion.

Morgan, a registered nurse, told The Fix in a phone interview she is concerned the consultant will not be familiar with nursing practices and the school’s program.

In a master’s program for nursing, many students train to become educators, managers, and administrators, she said. The grant money would be put to better use teaching students to lead and manage a department, Morgan told The Fix.

“There’s a lot of things that a nursing school or any university could use $25,000 for that does help their nurses to be better educated in the things that their program is supposed to educate them,” Morgan said. “Let’s use money to come up with something that then helps them learn something of value.”

MORE: University of Illinois grant funds DEI virtual reality training for nurses

According to Elmhurst’s grant application, the money will be used to fund a two-part project: “first, the creation and definitions of DEI concepts and second, the curriculum work to measure and revise content for full integration of defined DEI concepts.”

Overall, the purpose is to “facilitate a structured and ongoing improvement plan to fully integrate DEI across curriculum and levels of study,” according to the application. This will help nursing faculty to give students tools to “expand and apply their understanding of equity, inclusivity, and belonging in their courses and pedagogy,” it states.

The university media relations did not respond to three emailed requests for comment in the past three weeks. The Fix asked if the university has received pushback on the grant project from staff, faculty or students, and what its position is on viewpoint diversity.

According to the Illinois Department of Human Services, the grant program addresses “the ongoing oppressive and structural tactics that uphold systemic racism and inequities” by addressing “racial healing” and “the underlying systems that have created the conditions where vast racial disparities are allowed to exist.”

The Fix also contacted IDHS by email several times in the past two weeks, asking why it believes “racial healing” is a priority and how it would respond to people who believe these programs promote an ideological agenda.

Morgan told The Fix other universities are “backing away” from DEI in states like Tennessee, Texas, and Utah, but Illinois is doubling down and pushing the ideology on students to carry with them into their careers.

She said healthcare “is supposed to be based on science and evidence,” but the DEI ideology focuses on how someone thinks and feels.

For nursing students who disagree with DEI, Morgan said the situation can be difficult.

“Either there is going to be coursework that they object to, it is going to be difficult to get through school, or they are going to go to work at an employer that forces them to take that kind of training as a condition of employment,” she told The Fix.

“Nursing students need to be informed about what their chosen nursing school is doing with these types of concepts in their curricula,” Morgan said.

MORE: Illinois university nursing program gets ‘racial healing’ grant for DEI curriculum

IMAGE: Hush Naidoo/Unsplash

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About the Author
College Fix contributor Kayley Chartier is a student at Fort Hays State University she is pursuing a degree in Criminal Justice. She is a member of Students for Life, College Republicans, and the Vice President of her Turning Point USA chapter. She also writes for Campus Reform.