Veronica Carey, PhD, CPRP, an international educator, wears three hats at the College of Nursing and Health Professions: assistant clinical professor, assistant dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and the chair of CNHP’s Board for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Whether training students in behavioral health or leading the charge for systemic change, her main goal is to give people tools they need to help alleviate pain.
The cornerstone of both psychiatric rehabilitation and equity and inclusion is attention to functioning in the community through consideration of living, learning, working and socializing. She impresses upon her Counseling and Family Therapy students that their jobs are to help people get to what Carey calls “staying vertical.” “The way that we stay vertical is by having the skills, resources and supports we need to live our lives,” she articulated. Racialized students, faculty, professional staff and alumni often endure violations toward equity within living, learning, working and socializing in the name of a degree or sustainability of an academic position.
Carey’s new campaign is “you don’t have to be in pain to get a degree.” She said that racialized alumni endured a lot to get their degrees. Carey has received calls from individuals who didn’t feel comfortable talking about incidences of microabuse at the University until they graduated or left. Her work as assistant dean, and as she shepherds the board, is to empower the CNHP community with skills, resources and supports to recognize and address implicit biases and to provide equity so students aren’t in pain for four or five years.
“Drexel prides itself on being diverse,” Carey articulated. “Equity is not the same as diversity, however. Equity is the ability to participate while you're here; not just being present,” she added. She’s hoping to influence the ability for all students to have experiences that are equivalent to the predominate experiences of white students and colleagues. “When I get into the classroom, can I participate as I am? That’s equity,” contended Carey. “Inclusion is the frequency of a seamless experience during the time they are here.”
Carey’s overarching purpose, “as I see it, is to mitigate the amount of pain that disenfranchised, marginalized and minority students have at Drexel.”