The Innovations Fund

Phase: 2019

Indiana NEEDS (Nursing Education, Engagement, and Diversity Statewide) Initiative

Project Description:


The Indiana Center for Nursing, which houses the Indiana Action Coalition, developed the Indiana Nursing Education, Engagement, and Diversity Statewide Initiative (NEEDS) with the goal of improving health equity and increasing diversity and inclusion amongst nurses in the state. In collaboration with diverse partners including AARP Indiana, the Indiana NEEDS Initiative created toolkits offering resources to nursing programs interested in implementing Holistic Review for Admissions and Peer-To-Peer Mentoring.

Summary of completed project

The NEEDS Initiative utilized online platforms to design, implement and disseminate detailed toolkits for both the mentoring program and the framework for holistic admissions, along with evaluation plans for both. Students from underrepresented groups were recently admitted to the program, so the impact of this program contributing to a more diverse workforce will not be measurable for a few years. However, current students participated in focus groups and responded positively to the holistic application process and mentoring toolkits.

Additionally, the NEEDS Initiative helped establish a Community Advisory Committee, made up of more than a dozen organizations committed to diversifying and strengthening Indiana’s nursing workforce. It will be utilized as a mechanism to enhance partnerships and explore future projects.


  1. Establishment of a statewide Community Advisory Committee with a dozen plus leading organizations committed to diversifying and strengthening nursing workforce.
  2. Toolkits to assist nursing schools in advancing diversity within their programs were created:

1) a toolkit for holistic admissions, and

2) a mentoring program toolkit.

Both toolkits are accessible online and will be updated periodically. As a result of this initiative, 14 schools of nursing have committed to implementing a holistic admissions process and mentoring programs. And more than half of the partner schools are working together to submit a Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) grant to build upon and expand this work.