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Shining a Black Light Week Two

February 8, 2021

During Black History Month, the College of Nursing and Health Professions and its Board of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion recognize Black and African American faculty, professional staff and students with attention to the gifts, support, competencies and contributions each have made toward the success and sustainability of the College. As with our first installment, this week, we are Shining a Black Light on faculty, alumni and students whose contribution are felt throughout the College and University.

Shauna's headshot in Shining a Black Light FrameMy name is Shauna Walters. I am a senior five-year co-op nursing student and part of the CNHP Board of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for over a year now. Since my acclamation to the board, I have hosted a workshop that centered on workplace harassment and microaggressions that co-op nursing students may experience. I am a Drexel Liberty Scholar and as a Liberty Scholar, during my freshman and sophomore years, I dedicated four hours each Friday afternoon to serving the gentleman of the Sunday Breakfast Rescue Mission men’s shelter here in Philadelphia. Community service is one of my passions—I have been actively giving back to the city of Philadelphia since high school.

Being a Black first-generation student at CNHP I often feel small. There aren’t many of us and I find that sometimes I am one of the only Black students in my classes. The culture shock I felt when starting at Drexel was rough, but I eventually found ways to feel more seen. I joined the board and got involved with student organizations that represented people of color. But not all students of color are aware of these organizations. I think if CNHP/Drexel accepted more Black students and students of color as well as advertised and endorsed the Black student union at Drexel, Black students would feel recognized. Furthermore, I believe courses should incorporate aspects of culture into their lesson plans. For instance, when teaching about certain skin conditions PowerPoints should include darker skin complexions and how the disease process would present on this skin color. Without this representation students at CNHP lack the proper knowledge they need in order to care for Black and Brown patients. 

A fun fact about myself is that I am a first generation American and first-gen college student. My parents immigrated to the U.S. from the Caribbean.

Rita Headshot in Shining a black light frame Rita K. Adeniran, DRNP, is an assistant clinical professor in graduate nursing and serves as the president and CEO of Innovative and Inclusive Global Solutions (IIGS). Dr. Adeniran embodies an inclusive leader's signature traits, a much needed and essential leadership quality, considering the nation's current racial reckoning and call for meaningful change. She intentionally works to value individuals and creates safe spaces where everyone's contributions are appreciated and feel empowered to be the best version of themselves, including her students. She operationalizes these principles in her role as a faculty member of the College. Dr. Adeniran’s contribution to Drexel University and CNHP's mission, vision and strategic priorities are evident in her exceptional teaching skills and students’ evaluations, deep engagement in scholarly activities, an unmatched level of a sense of service and civic duties, along with consummate boundary spanning capabilities.



Thomas' headshot in a Shining a Black Light FrameThomas Ellis graduated in 2020 from Drexel University’s College of Computing and Informatics (CCI) with a Bachelor of Science in Computing Technology and Security. He has been an employee of Drexel University for more than 13 years and has been a member of CNHP for the past four. Thomas works in the Center for Interprofessional Clinical Simulation and Practice (CICSP), aka Simulation and Skills Lab. He currently holds the position of Simulation Lab Specialist II. His strong work ethic, people skills and commitment to teamwork make him an asset to his team. Thomas is the point person for the skills portion of the CICSP Simulation Lab team. He has fostered an atmosphere of communication, collaboration and respect among the team, the faculty and the students.

Thomas believes that, “People are still our richest resource. When our teams are diverse, there is an opportunity to better serve our students, our institution and our communities—people from everywhere—serving people from everywhere. We should all take the time to learn and understand each other. Disagreements do not mean that all hope is lost. We can pursue our dreams without diminishing the dreams of others in the process.”

In his spare time, Thomas likes writing poetry and creating electronic music.

Elease headshot in a Shining a Black Light FrameElease McLaurin, PhD, is a postdoctoral research fellow in the Department of Health Systems & Sciences Research. During her time at CNHP, she has served as a human factors engineering consultant for two CNHP faculty-led research teams conducting socio-technical health systems research. In addition to her research activities, Dr. McLaurin was honored to be a volunteer for the past two Fall Institutes on Implementation Science Research hosted by CNHP. She also had the pleasure of sharing her insights on machine learning methods as a speaker during the Postdoc Discussions series.

She believes that as CNHP builds an anti-racist culture, we need to anticipate and prepared for the multifaceted individual- and group-level resistance that occurs alongside systemic changes.

A fun fact about Dr. McLaurin is that she is an amateur lampwork glassblower—she particularly enjoys making glass beads! 

Meleki's headshot in Shining a Black Light FrameMy name is Meleki Wamulume and I am the fitness coordinator at Stephen and Sandra Sheller 11th Street Family Health Services. I offer coaching services for individuals, staff and groups. I enjoy working with individuals at 11th Street primarily due to their resiliency, diversity in problem solving and the willingness to engage in creative activities dedicated to their overall health and wellness. The people I come across demonstrate an unprecedented level of courage as they maneuver through harsh realities and show up for themselves in my classes and individually. 11th Street provides me with the opportunity to work across disciplines tending to both the needs of clients and staff. I am able to see the totality of client wellness and support staff to tend to their wellness in order to be rejuvenated to keep meeting their unique demands they have within their respected craft. Along with a few of my colleagues at 11th Street, I am also part of our ‘Undoing Racism’ group which examines the roots of American racism and how it has penetrated individuals' lives, systems and structures that enforce and perpetuate racism and health inequity. We use this knowledge to dismantle racism and create intentional and systematic changes within the organization where our anti-racism commitment is reflected in the life and culture through behaviors and practices.

A fun fact about myself is I was born and raised in Zambia, Africa. I moved here when I was 11 years old.