News and Commentary Wrenetha Julion on Being a Macy Faculty Scholar

Wrenetha Julion, PhD, MPH, RN, FAAN, of Rush University Medical Center’s College of Nursing is part of Macy’s 2012 Scholar Class. As a Macy Faculty Scholar, Julion developed a cultural competency course for health professions students. We sat down with Dr. Julion to hear about her time as a Macy Faculty Scholar.

What has being a Macy Faculty Scholar meant to you?
I’ve learned so much through the Macy Faculty Scholar Program, and engaged with so many people who I would have never met otherwise. My exposure to new ideas, new colleagues and a whole new network of innovators is something I will always value about the experience.

How did being a Macy Faculty Scholar impact your career?
This program was extremely influential for my career path and research. While I was a Macy Faculty Scholar, I applied for a very competitive NIH grant and was successful in getting funding for my research on fatherhood. Through this grant, I will be testing a program I developed to support African-American non-resident fathers’ positive involvement with their children. Two other great things happened during the Macy program: I was inducted into the American Academy of Nursing and promoted to the status of full professor at Rush University!

What’s next for your project?
The goal of my project was to develop a cultural competency course for students that could be implemented interprofessionally. Through this course, students from all health professional backgrounds would be introduced to the tenets of culturally competent care and learn about the impact of social factors on health through community-based service learning. I am still working on making this curriculum a reality at my institution. One of the major hurdles has been the lack of a universal academic calendar for Rush University students. Thankfully, by next year, there will be one consistent calendar for all of our students, which removes a huge barrier to implementing my course. I am also turning this curriculum into a continuing education course for current health professionals, which I’m very excited about.

What advice do you have for educational innovators today?
My advice to all innovators is to set goals for yourself, and don’t beat yourself up if you don’t achieve them within your initial timeframe. Give yourself a break, and know that just the act of moving forward or making an attempt to innovate will ultimately lead to change. It may be change at a slower pace than you want, but it’s still important change.

Learn more about Dr. Julion’s work at Rush University.

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