From the Desk of Dean White
September 8, 2021
It’s a statement we hear people mutter these days, sometimes in sorrow or disbelief. And in some respects, it’s no wonder amid a recent resurgence of COVID-19, heartbreaking instability in Afghanistan and Haiti, the continued and unjust assault of racism and murder in our communities of color, the ongoing threats to the health of women, the disparities in our LGBTQ and other communities, and the fearsome brutality that is our warming planet.
These are difficult times to begin a new school year, with so much unsettled and unknown. But this is also familiar terrain for nurses, and those who support and champion them, as each of us do here at MGH Institute of Health Professions School of Nursing and at other nursing programs across the country. The moment, it strikes me, is not unlike a clinician’s initial walk into a patient room: mask on, hands gloved, senses alert, heart open, back strong.
Our core values and mission at the MGH Institute tell a story of the path we’ll take together: that we’ll lead with vigor and compassion, care for people with respect and across difference, and build equitable and supportive environments for all nursing faculty, staff, and students (through the exemplary work of our JEDI program and its leader, Dr. Kimberly Truong). We’ll collaborate across the professional aisle, catalyze change and compel discovery through nursing science, and build understanding of and solutions for the forces of climate change (thanks to leadership from our school’s Center for Climate Change, Climate Justice, and Health).
We will create spaces where belonging and acceptance are the rule. Where good intentions are transformed into meaningful action. We will, as I like to say, be nurses OUT LOUD.
Students with us for the first time and those who’ve returned after a year of virtual learning are committed, present, and eager: we are thrilled to see you. Our talented alumni on the front lines of care remain compassionate and steadfast. And our extraordinary and passionate faculty and staff continue their work to inform, inspire, challenge, and lead.
What we do on this day and each day that follows has everything to do with who we are as a community and as human beings. We are showing up together doing work that matters so incredibly – perhaps more than it ever has.
I look back on my own life as a boy growing up in rural Oklahoma and am awed to find myself at the helm of a storied institution such as ours – the only academic affiliate of the Mass General Brigham system. From the time I was a 16-year-old hospital orderly until now, I know that every place a nurse stands – at a patient’s bedside, in a classroom, to the news media, in the lab, and at the boardroom table – becomes a place of strength.
I have great optimism as we begin a new year. What a time this is.
Kenneth R. White, PhD, APRN, FACHE, FAAN
Dean and Professor
School of Nursing
July 1, 2021
Dear colleagues and friends,
When I was a child growing up in Oklahoma, I always looked forward to July 4th to watch the televised Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops concert in Boston, along with amazing fireworks. I never thought that someday I would live and work in Boston!
I hope you have a nice holiday weekend. The Boston Pops with fireworks is back – this year in Tanglewood.
Today, I join you as your dean and I am excited about the opportunity to work with and get to know all of you -- such an amazing School of Nursing family! We have purpose, vision, and values and something no other school has – YOU. Together we will grow, face challenges and celebrate joys. Our patients, students, communities, and colleagues are counting on us.
Thank you, Dean Tagliareni, and the entire leadership team for your gracious introduction to the School and IHP. Thank you also to the members of the search committee and Provost Johnson and Sarah Welch for leading the search.
Thank you, Lisa and Carla, for helping me with the transition from Virginia. I will be working remotely for most of July and August, with a Charlestown move-in date of 9/1.
In time, I would like to meet with each one of you to learn more about your jobs, interests, aspirations, and goals. For now, we can look forward to our retreat on 8/19, which will be a day to step back and celebrate all that you have accomplished in a very difficult 16 months. Ever forward looking, we will also consider possibilities for personal and professional growth.
We are all part of something bigger than we are. Together, the possibilities are limitless.