Academic, Practice, and Community Partnerships  

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing and the American Organization of Nursing Leadership in 2012 emphasized that “an academic-practice partnership is a mechanism for advancing nursing practice to improve the health of the public. Such intentional and formalized relationships are based on mutual goals, respect, and shared knowledge. These relationships are defined broadly and may include partnerships within nursing, and other professions, corporations, government entities, and foundations.” 

The Katharine J. Densford International Center for Nursing Leadership advances the need for enhanced, mutually beneficial, respectful, and reciprocal partnerships among a broad range of communities and professional nursing education in preparing and prospering leaders for a new era. The operating ethos of the Densford Center is to create and nurture unique, need-based, and innovative opportunities utilizing the combined strengths and visions of academic, practice, and community stakeholders. 

This initiative pursues the essential synergy among academia (education), research, practice (care delivery and systems), and the integral engagement and partnership of individuals, families, communities, organizations, and systems, extending from local to global. Research-based, results-oriented endeavors will ensure health equity and access to the forefront of nursing practice, particularly addressing the immediate and long-term needs of the historically, economically, geographically, and culturally marginalized communities and populations. This initiative will further invigorate the impacts of active collaboratories, community partnerships, and the University of Minnesota’s commitment to Public Engagement. These vibrant alliances will co-generate new approaches to capacity-building among nursing leaders, health systems and community entities. 

Center for Nursing Leadership and Engagement at the United Nations

In 1945, the United Nations was established with these words, “WE THE PEOPLES OF THE UNITED NATIONS DETERMINED to save succeeding generations…” Yet, over 75 years later, the global community still struggles to fulfill these high ideals, while the United Nations holds the greatest potential for movement forward. The knowledge and skills of nursing increase the likelihood that a healthier future can be actualized. 

Nurses are renowned systems thinkers and creators of innovative solutions, including systems and models of care. Through synergy with the School of Nursing, its Densford Center, the Center for Nursing Leadership and Engagement at the United Nations, and similar entities will promote preparation and engagement of nurses to represent underrepresented peoples in discussions about planetary health, human rights, global health, and other global challenges at the United Nations. Nursing leaders will work as full partners with others to advance the Sustainable Development Goals.

Cultivating Bold Visionary Leadership 

The original purpose of the Katharine J. Densford International Center for Nursing Leadership was to support nurses to “transform their thinking, partner effectively with others, and create needed change” (School of Nursing, n.d.). This purpose informed the Center goal to prepare nursing thought leaders and transformers to lead locally to internationally. 

The urgent and intersecting crises (e.g., climate change, workforce, and inequities) demand us to move beyond simply developing leaders, to cultivating bold and visionary leadership, for local, national, and global transformation in micro and macro systems. This Densford initiative will advance systems thinking, further develop the science and practice of leadership through interprofessional and transdisciplinary partnerships and innovative networks with local and global community partners. The initiative applies future’s thinking to recognize emerging threats to health be they environmental, social, or technological.  This initiative fosters bold and visionary policies and actions that move nursing beyond managing the status quo, or reacting to change, to leading the great transition for a healthier future for all people and the planet. 

Nursing Impact: Key to a Viable and Better Future 

This initiative focuses on the power of nursing’s leadership and credibility to impact local to global health outcomes now and in the future.  Nurses are integral to health and healthcare at all system levels and, thus, can and must speak with a collective voice to advocate for policies that optimize the health and wellbeing of all and effective systems and models of care. Nurses must vision greater than the current perspective of quality and safe care to champion policy reforms that affect society and its health. To do this, they must engage communities and interprofessional partners with legislators. 

This initiative will empower nurses and nursing to advance the commitment to health and social equity, through focused education, awareness-building, and nurse activism to fundamentally transform the healthcare environments and culture. Essential to these efforts, the center promotes nursing’s responsibility to generate, advance, and utilize relevant evidence to support practice and positively impact community, global, and planetary health.