OADN and Partners Awarded Grant to Advance Social Mission in Nursing Education

January 17, 2023

The George Washington University Social Mission Alliance Receives $50,000 Award to Advance Health Equity Through Nursing

One of 16 Recipients Nationwide of AARP & RWJF Health Equity Innovations Fund Awards

The George Washington University’s Social Mission Alliance, of which OADN is a member, is among sixteen organizations to receive a Health Equity Innovation Fund award. The awards from the AARP Center for Health Equity through NursingSM and the Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action, an initiative of AARP Foundation, AARP, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), are for projects offering promising solutions aimed at eliminating structural inequities, particularly structural racism, within the nursing profession, health systems, or community, and for projects that help improve access to care and services for those most disproportionately impacted by health disparities. The 16 projects sharing the over $700,000 in awards also support the advancement of one or more of the recommendations in the National Academy of Medicine report, The Future of Nursing 2020-2030: Charting a Path to Achieve Health Equity.

The Social Mission of Associate Degree Nursing Programs project will be led by Social Mission Alliance (SMA) team member Sonal Batra, Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine and Health Policy and Management at the George Washington University, in collaboration with New York State Action Coalition (NYSAC) and the Organization for Associate Degree Nursing (OADN).

Throughout the project, the team will administer a social mission self-assessment survey to associate degree nursing program leaders across the country in order to provide a mechanism to assess their program’s social mission and benchmark it to national norms. This process will establish a social mission performance baseline, identify strengths to build on and improvement opportunities for ADN programs to advance health equity and social justice, and allow for evaluation of the effectiveness of subsequent performance-improving changes.

“As the national advocate for the over 1,100 associate degree nursing (ADN) programs across the country, OADN has been proud to partner with the Social Mission Alliance over the last several years to lead the effort to address social mission in nursing education and develop the Social Mission Metrics Initiative (SMMI) for associate degree nursing. The majority of new nursing graduates from diverse backgrounds are entering the profession through the ADN pathway. Nurses who reflect the individuals living within their local communities are better prepared to deliver culturally congruent, equitable health care to their patients. The ADN SMMI Survey is a critically important tool to help capture much-needed data, which is currently lacking on social mission within associate degree nursing education. This data will help amplify the voice of community college nursing education and call attention to the importance of the associate degree pathway in addressing racial and social inequities and address the social determinants of health affecting the communities we serve across the country.”
Karen LaMartina, PhD, RN, OADN President

With initial support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Fitzhugh Mullan Institute for Health Workforce Equity and the Social Mission Alliance began the Social Mission Metrics Initiative (SMMI) in 2016. The project started with the development of a novel social mission self-assessment tool to measure school-level social mission that was implemented nationally in 2019. This interprofessional work initially focused on dental schools, medical schools, and baccalaureate and masters level nursing schools. Schools received a benchmarking report for their performance in educational programming, community engagement, governance, diversity and inclusion, institutional culture and climate, and research.

In 2019, OADN and SMA began a collaboration to assess the feasibility of adapting the SMMI self-assessment to ADN programs. These programs contribute to the largest segment of the U.S. health care workforce who are at the front line of patient care and are a critical mechanism for diversifying the nursing workforce. This work was led by members of OADN’s Social Mission Task Force and began with piloting the original SMMI survey at 5 ADN programs, followed by focus groups with participating program leaders. After promising results from the initial pilot, an associate degree version of the SMMI survey was fielded to 17 ADN programs in 2021. The survey was adjusted at each step based on participant feedback, lessons learned from the broader SMMI, and input from the Social Mission Task Force. The result of this process is a ready-to-go ADN Social Mission Self-Assessment survey.

Through this project, SMA will deepen our partnership with OADN and expand the collaboration to include the New York State Action Coalition (NYSAC) to

  • conduct a national implementation of the SMM Survey with OADN member programs,
  • develop a baseline for social mission in associates degree nursing education, including an assessment of difference in program performance by characteristics including geography, institutional structure, size, and student body characteristics
  • provide program specific benchmarking for ADN programs to advance targeted health equity promoting education, training, and institutional policy strategies, and
  • elevate the social mission conversation among ADN programs through turning data into collaborative efforts to facilitate structural change in nursing education.


About the Funding: 
The 16 winning projects for this funding are from: California (3), the District of Columbia, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland (2), Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Tennessee, Utah, Wisconsin (2) and West Virginia.

The awards will be administered by CCNA at the AARP Center for Health Equity through Nursing. (Read more below.)

Read more about the projects here.


About the AARP Center for Health Equity through Nursing and the Campaign for Action:
The AARP Center for Health Equity through Nursing serves as a vehicle for change and national resource for advancing health equity. CCNA is an initiative of AARP Foundation, AARP and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and it runs the Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action, an initiative of the same organizations building a healthier America through nursing. Since its founding in 2007, CCNA has created national and state multi-sector networks to stimulate collaboration, innovation and spur for better health and well-being through nursing.