Chamberlain University Launches Actionable Framework to Expand National Focus on Increasing Diversity in Nursing

September 27, 2021
Social Determinants of Learning - Chamberlain University

CHICAGO –  Sept. 27, 2021 – Chamberlain University, which has the largest school of nursing in the country, has developed a research-based framework – the Social Determinants of Learning ™  –  to inform and advance nationwide efforts to create a more diverse pipeline of students entering the nursing profession.

Increasing nurse diversity is considered essential to improving health equity, according to research that indicates benefits to communication, access to care and patient satisfaction. However, only around 20% of the nursing workforce identifies with an ethnic or racial group while the U.S. Census Bureau projects that more than half the country will identify as such by 2045. 

The Social Determinants of Learning framework, presented at the 2021 National League for Nursing Education Summit, identifies six core factors for schools of nursing to build a more diverse pipeline for school of nursing graduates: physical health, psychosocial health, economic stability, physical environment/community, social environment/community and self-motivation. The framework, which is detailed in the recently-published paper Developing a Social Determinants of Learning Framework: A Case Study (Nursing Education Perspectives), includes examples of evidence-based initiatives addressing these factors, which can bridge social barriers to learning: 

  • Student Admissions: Holistic admissions processes evaluate factors beyond standardized test scores and GPA, and Chamberlain has adopted practices utilizing personalized and data-driven approaches to assess student potential and outcomes.
  • Student Success: Personalized learning approaches, developed through the Chamberlain Care Student Success Model, encourage strong student outcomes. According to the team’s analysis, pre-licensure BSN graduates experienced nearly a 13% increase in NCLEX pass rates from 2016 to 2020, and in 2020 the rates were above the national average.  
  • Mindfulness: An 8-week program integrated into Chamberlain’s pre-licensure BSN program was designed to support student psychological health as part of managing stressors that can be a barrier to student progress. More than 60 percent of participating students reported a reduction in stress levels.

“We are committed to engaging healthcare and education partners to join us in this nationwide effort to ensure that the nursing workforce of the future more clearly represents the communities and the patients we serve,” said Chamberlain President Karen Cox, PhD, RN, FACHE, FAAN. “Educators play a critical role in identifying solutions that support more diverse student pathways that align with society’s healthcare needs.”

The Social Determinants of Learning framework and research - authored by the Chamberlain University leadership team of Associate Provost Linda M. Hollinger-Smith, PhD, RN, FAAN, ANEF; Provost Carla D. Sanderson, PhD, RN; and President Cox -  is aligned with the direction of the National Academy of Medicine’s Future of Nursing 2020-2030 report to create a foundation for increasing diversity in the nursing profession and advancing health equity. It outlines for the first time, through a research-based framework, the connections with Social Determinants of Health, the widely accepted model that outlines conditions influencing health status and which serves as a reference point for healthcare leaders to define patient-focused community health solutions. 

Designed to be applied to education in general, Social Determinants of Learning is first being applied to schools of nursing to encourage a unified approach in assuring student persistence to graduation and success on the NCLEX nursing licensure exam. Elements of the Social Determinants of Learning framework research paper were introduced at the 2021 Higher Learning Commission Annual Meeting earlier this year and the wider public launch was timed to this month’s NLN Summit this month to expand the effort with introduction of an informational website and invitation for wider collaboration.  Visit the website for more information:

About Chamberlain University
Chamberlain University is a part of Adtalem Global Education (NYSE: ATGE). Chamberlain University’s mission is to educate, empower and embolden diverse healthcare professionals who advance the health of people, families, communities and nations. Chamberlain is comprised of the College of Nursing, which offers a three-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree program and flexible post-licensure programs such as the RN to BSN option, Master of Science in Nursing degree program, Doctor of Nursing Practice degree program and graduate certificates, and the College of Health Professions, which offers Master of Public Health and Master of Social Work degree programs. Chamberlain University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, a regional accreditation agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. For the most updated accreditation information, visit To learn more, visit 

About Adtalem Global Education
Adtalem Global Education (NYSE: ATGE), a leading workforce solutions provider, partners with organizations in the healthcare and financial services industries to solve critical workforce talent needs by expanding access to education, certifications and upskilling programs at scale. With a dedicated focus on driving strong outcomes that increase workforce preparedness, Adtalem empowers a diverse learner population to achieve their goals and make inspiring contributions to the global community. Adtalem is the parent organization of ACAMS, American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine, Becker Professional Education, Chamberlain University, EduPristine, OnCourse Learning, Ross University School of Medicine, Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine and Walden University. Adtalem has more than 10,000 employees, a network of more than 275,000 alumni and serves over 82,000 members across 200 countries and territories. Adtalem was named one of America’s Most Responsible Companies 2021 by Newsweek and one of America’s Best Employers for Diversity 2021 by Forbes. Follow Adtalem on Twitter (@adtalemglobal), LinkedIn, or visit for more information.