HSC Health Equity summit speakers
By Eleanor C. Hasenbeck

Empowering Equity & Preparedness

UNM College of Nursing Rolls Out PhD Concentration in Health Equity and Preparedness

The University of New Mexico College of Nursing is introducing a new concentration in health equity and preparedness in its Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) program.

“The focus on health equity and preparedness is driven by our experience working with underserved populations that are most impacted by disasters,” said Roberta Lavin, professor and deputy director of the Center for Health Equity and Preparedness in the College of Nursing. “Our research is not only focused on disaster preparedness, but also equitable services and outcomes for those who are living in poverty or experiencing homelessness, as well as underserved minorities.

Students in the concentration will build an understanding of how health equity affects public health emergency preparedness, including disasters that are related to climate change, environmental hazards, terrorism and war.

“These issues of equity are compounded in a disaster, so it is critical that we empower new nurse scientists to tackle these problems and improve these systems,” said Christine E. Kasper, PhD, RN, dean and professor in the College of Nursing. “Alumni of this program will be able to make an impact in understanding ways to make our health care system more resilient and accessible to more community members.”

Students beginning their PhD program in Fall 2023 can complete the concentration. Coursework in the concentration will focus on the intersections of health, disaster science, risk and equity.

A PhD from the UNM College of Nursing prepares students to become nurse scientists, equipped to address nursing challenges through research and policy. PhD-prepared nurses improve their communities through new understanding and stronger health care policy.

In addition to the concentration in health equity and preparedness, PhD students can pursue a concentration in health policy or an individualized plan of study. The program is mostly online, with in-person requirements for a one-week residency at the College’s Albuquerque campus and attendance at a research conference each year.

The concentration emerged from the work in the College’s Center for Health Equity and Preparedness and faculty expertise in those areas. The Center aims to create an infrastructure to contribute to social justice in nursing and public health preparedness through education, practice, research and policy and developing the next generation of experts. 

The Health Equity and Preparedness curriculum has been submitted to The University of New Mexico Faculty Senate for approval. It is scheduled to launch in August 2023, but is subject to change. Approval is expected in Spring 2023.

Categories: College of Nursing, Community Engagement, Education, Top Stories