Today, New York University, in collaboration with Fundación Mujeres Por África, the University of Ghana, and Banco Santander announced the launch of The Ghana Wins! Project, a major initiative designed to develop and promote leadership skills in Ghanaian women. A select number of Ghanian women will receive training and assistance from the NYU College of Nursing (NYUCN), the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, and the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, to help address Ghana’s critical needs in healthcare, education, and strengthening of its civil society.
“The needs in developing countries are great, but the more health resources that are developed, the better off the country will be,” says NYUCN’s Yvonne Wesley, co-director of the project. The project’s director, NYUCN’s Mattia Gilmartin, added, “Ghana is dealing with increases in diabetes and cardiovascular disease, as we are here. One goal of our program is to teach the participating nurses skills to improve the quality of care in their local settings.”
The College of Nursing is the first to begin, launching the four-year Ghanaian Nurse Leaders Program, which addresses a fundamental need of the Ghanaian nursing profession—the development of a corps of nurses that can improve health system management and clinical practice —in Ghana.
The Ghanaian Nurse Leaders Program is based on the frameworks of both the seven-year-old Leadership Institute for Black Nurses (LIBN)—an annual fellowship program held at the College—and the more recent Global Health Scholars Program. Three cohorts of 10 Ghanaian nurses, in staggered groups, will join activities that advance their access to evidence-based science and training in leadership and performance improvement. Each will be assigned a mentor and take seminars led by College of Nursing and other faculty as well as tour NYU Langone Medical Center, simulation labs, and dental and clinical care sites.
The three cohorts of nurses will be recruited from across Ghana. Organizers are seeking to interest a mix of experienced nurse managers and less experienced nurses with great potential from both public and private hospital settings.
Project Director Kristie Patten Koenig, along with Rose Vukovic, assistant professor of education, will direct Steinhardt’s Ghanaian Institute for the Future of Teaching and Education (GIFTED) Women’s Fellowship Program.
“We know that education is key to economic development, stability, and equality in developing countries, especially the education of girls and women,” says Koenig.
GIFTED will provide professional development, on-going support, and leadership training to three cohorts of 10 to12 educators through collaboration with the Ghanaian Ministry of Education, the University of Ghana, and the University of Education at Winneba.
The program will begin recruitment in January 2013, kicking off the program in Accra in the summer. Teachers who are selected for this program will identify, develop, and implement a project that improves the quality of education in key areas of curriculum, integrated service delivery, and school leadership.
“Programs that are implemented with success in our public school systems inherently have a strong professional development component that not only values, but provides the time and supports for quality on-going teacher development. This is central to the GIFTED program and will enable the women leaders to make the changes they envision in their communities,” Koenig adds.
The Research Center for Leadership in Action (RCLA) at NYU Wagner will offer a one-year cohort-based leadership development program for mid- to senior-level women leaders from government and civil society organizations in Ghana. RCLA will select two cohorts of 15-20 women each working in public service across the nation. Women leaders will identify a pressing organizational or community need and design a public service action-learning project to address it. They will spend the following year working in small groups to implement their projects, aided by ongoing expert coaching via regular videoconferences and support from peers.
“In the half century since gaining its independence, Ghana has developed a strong and vibrant civil society to support its social, political, and economic growth,” noted RCLA Executive Director Bethany Godsoe. “As Ghana enters this next phase in its history, the continued strengthening of democratic institutions will be crucial to realizing greater prosperity, and NYU Wagner is honored to be identifying, nurturing, and equipping visionary women leaders as central to that effort.”
The Ghana Wins! Project builds on the collaborative relationship between NYU and the University of Ghana, which includes NYU’s study abroad site on the university’s campus in Accra, the country’s capital and largest city. For more than three years, the two universities and two medical centers—Korle Bu in Accra and Bellevue in New York City—have been working together and learning from each other.
“The philosophy of this program is that leadership can be learned,” says Wesley. “What we have learned from our Leadership Institute for Black Nurses is that, if we can help nurses to think about health care from a leadership position, they’re more likely to initiate projects in their own communities and really go out and make positive changes.”
The New York University College of Nursing is a global leader in nursing education, research, and practice. It offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing; Master of Arts and Post-Master’s Certificate Programs; a Doctor of Philosophy in Research Theory and Development; and a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree. For more information, visit www.nyu.edu/nursing.
About the NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development
Located in the heart of Greenwich Village, NYU’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development prepares students for careers in the arts, education, health, media, and psychology. Since its founding in 1890, the Steinhardt School's mission has been to explore aspects of the human experience through public service, global collaboration, research, scholarship, and practice. To learn more about NYU Steinhardt, visit: http://steinhardt.nyu.edu.
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