UK College of Nursing Names Dr. Jean Edward As First Assistant Dean of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Posted: July 19, 2022

The University of Kentucky College of Nursing’s Dean Janie Heath recently announced the appointment of Jean Edward PhD, RN, CHPE, as the college’s first-ever assistant dean of diversity, equity and inclusion.  Dr. Edward currently also serves as an associate professor for the UK College of Nursing, a nurse scientist for UK HealthCare’s Markey Cancer Center and is member of the CHANGE (Community Health Advocacy iNterventions Generating Equity) research team.   

In this new role, Dr. Edward will provide leadership in advancing the College’s mission of using innovative approaches that leverage diverse thought, inclusive ideas, and strategic initiatives toward equitable solutions within the College, nursing and healthcare overall. As assistant dean, Dr. Edward will serve as a consultant to UK College of Nursing dean, senior administration, faculty, staff and students on issues relating to diversity, equity and inclusion in addition to being a liaison to the larger Office for Institutional Diversity at UK

“One of the most effective ways to influence change is to have a seat at the table,” said Janie Heath, dean and Warwick Professor of Nursing at the UK College of Nursing.  “By creating this new assistant dean position, the college is taking an important step toward giving a greater voice to our diversity, equity and inclusivity efforts. We are proud to welcome Dr. Edward into this role and know that her experience in the DEI space paired with her passion for ensuring equitable health outcomes will guide her success.” 

As a nurse scientist, Dr. Edward's research is focused on promoting equity in healthcare access, affordability, and health outcomes for underserved communities by intervening on the social determinants of health. Her current program of research is focused on improving health and financial outcomes of cancer survivors and caregivers by focusing on implementing sustainable financial and legal assistance programs within health systems to help alleviate financial toxicity and hardship. She has been funded by the National Cancer Institute, American Cancer Society, and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to implement interdisciplinary programs that enhance financial and legal navigation and assistance services for cancer survivors and their caregivers. 

“It is an honor to accept the inaugural assistant dean position at UK’s College of Nursing to build and support initiatives to foster a diverse and inclusive community of students, faculty and staff dedicated to promoting health equity and justice,” said Dr. Edward. “My passion for promoting DEI stems from my personal experiences as a first-generation immigrant and woman of color, and from my professional experiences as a nurse and health equity researcher. These experiences have allowed me to approach all aspects of my life using a DEI lens. As a University and College, we have taken several steps to ensure an inclusive environment for our campus community, but there’s still lot of work to be done. I look forward to establishing ourselves as change leaders in promoting DEI efforts that focus on representation, transparency and accountability, and action to catalyze change across our college, university and community.”

Dr. Edward received her BSN from Bellarmine University and her PhD in Nursing from the University of Louisville. She has received several recognitions, including the American Public Health Association's Public Health Nursing Junior Investigator Award, and her work has been published in over 40 peer-reviewed publications and presented at over 60 national, regional, and local conferences. She is the associate editor of Clinical Nursing Research, chair of the American Public Health Association Cancer Forum’s Program Planning Committee, and steering-committee member of Health Literacy Kentucky. Dr. Edward also serves as a member of the American Public Health Association, American Nurses Association, Kentucky Nurses Association, and Sigma Theta Tau International Scholarly Nursing Society.

The UK College of Nursing 
As the Commonwealth of Kentucky’s flagship nursing institution, the University of Kentucky College of Nursing strives to promote health and well-being for the people of Kentucky, the region and world through excellence in nursing education, research, practice and policy.  The UK College of Nursing launched the nation’s first DNP program and the state’s first PhD in Nursing program.  The College’s BSN and DNP programs are ranked among the top 20 public nursing schools in the country and the College boasts $36.2 million in annual active research.