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President’s Message: Know the Power of Diversity

President’s Message: Know the Power of Diversity
Zim Okoli APNA President

January 2023
Includes distinctions in biological and physiological make up (e.g., skin tones, neuronal make up, body shape), as well as variations in workforce, worldviews, cultural identity, and self-perceptions.

How often do you or those you serve experience stereotyping, stigmatization, prejudice, or discrimination? Many of us might answer, “Too often!” We know that these experiences can cause disparities in health outcomes. One important solution is diversity. By creating room for minoritized voices to be heard, varied opinions acknowledged, and stigmatized faces seen, diversity can:
• Break stereotypes
• Stop Prejudice
• Silence Stigma

Each of us can help further the above through evidence-based conversation that is intentionally diverse. The APNA Annual Conference is a great place to find diversity of perspectives that smash stereotype, prejudice, and stigma. The Call for Abstracts is open through March 6 and I hope you’ll join your voice to the submitters sparked to action by our theme: Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurses: Novel IDEAS (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Access, de-Stigmatization) Moving Whole Health Forward. What is your organization doing to foster inclusion and diversity? What research are you conducting regarding the need to expand care access? How do you model equity in your practice? ALL voices and perspectives are needed to create a rich profession-wide conversation that drives better outcomes for the full spectrum of those we serve.

As we gather in June for the APNA 21st Annual Clinical Psychopharmacology Institute and prepare our abstracts for consideration for the APNA 37th Annual Conference let us contemplate how we can advance whole health through the power of diversity!

Chizimuzo (Zim) Okoli, PhD, MPH, APRN, PMHNP-BC, NCTTP, FAAN
American Psychiatric Nurses Association