VCU College of Health Professions and School of Nursing jointly name new associate dean of inclusive excellence and belonging

Stephan Davis standing in HA conference roomStephan Davis, DNP, MHSA, FACHE, FAAN, has been named associate dean of inclusive excellence and belonging for the Virginia Commonwealth University College of Health Professions and School of Nursing, after serving both schools as interim associate dean of diversity, equity and inclusion. 

In this role, Davis will lead both schools in the evaluation of school policies, standards and practices to reflect a commitment to inclusion and belonging values; facilitate the work of each school’s diversity and inclusion council; curate a program of lectures and events on diversity and inclusion; support initiatives that ensure inclusive andragogy and teaching strategies; and promote understanding of health disparities, social determinants of health and health equity. At the College of Health Professions, he will continue to serve as executive director of inclusive leadership education and teach within health administration. 

Davis is celebrated as a national champion of inclusion and belonging, most recently as a recipient of the Teaching Excellence Award for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Belonging, and Social Justice by the Association of University Programs in Health Administration. He also serves on the American Academy of Nursing Diversity & Inclusivity Committee, a group comprised of AAN fellows charged with recommending strategies and goals for increasing diversity and inclusivity within the academy and its leadership bodies.

“At VCU, our number one strategic plan theme is ‘Diversity Driving Excellence’, which is grounded in our philosophy that we are excellent because of our diversity, not in spite of it,” said Davis. “The differences in our lived experiences, identities, abilities, talents, and beliefs enrich the process and outcomes of learning and expand the possibilities of new directions for research. This is why we must create an environment that supports all members of our learning communities thriving so that they can ultimately reach their full potential and contribute to the advancement of our collective aspiration to improve health for all people.” 

“Dr. Davis is passionate about advocating for the needs of our faculty, staff and students while fostering an environment where all individuals can feel valued and heard,” said Paula Song, Ph.D., interim dean and Richard M. Bracken Chair and Professor of Health Administration in the College of Health Professions. “His longstanding commitment to diversity along with his leadership and lived experiences, have made a transformative impact far beyond the university. I am confident his efforts will help us build a stronger sense of community throughout the College and with those we serve.”

“I am thrilled that Dr. Davis will continue to lead the VCU School of Nursing through this position. He has brought real passion for fostering a diverse and inclusive school community and visionary approach to involving our students, staff, and faculty in contemplating their individual responsibility in promoting inclusion and belonging. Under his leadership, we will continue our commitment to creating an environment that makes space for every individual and where a true sense of belonging flourishes,” said Jean Giddens, Ph.D., FAAN, dean and professor, Doris B. Yingling Endowed Chair, VCU School of Nursing.

“I am so excited to continue working with interim Dean Song and Dean Giddens to build upon the great work of my predecessor, Dr. Angela Duncan, and our committees focused on advancing inclusion and belonging,” said Davis. “Together, we will make the College of Health Professions and School of Nursing the most inclusive places to learn and work for our thousands of students and alumni, as well as the hundreds of faculty and staff members we proudly lead and serve. I also envision us furthering our national leadership related to inclusive excellence across the nine disciplines represented between the College of Health Professions and School of Nursing, both through discipline-specific and interprofessional contributions to health services delivery, improvement, and research.” 

The VCU College of Health Professions is a nationally recognized leader in the education of health providers and leaders, and cultivates an interprofessional approach to training. Several of its programs are consistently top ranked by U.S. News & World Report. The College offers curricula at the baccalaureate, master's, post-graduate and doctoral levels designed to prepare health care professionals for roles in a variety of clinical, teaching, and community health and wellness settings. For more, visit

The VCU School of Nursing enrolls 930 students in academic programs, from entry-level practice through the doctorate, with a mission to shape the future of nursing through the power of education, discovery and collaboration. The school’s undergraduate program is ranked No. 31 in the latest U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges rankings released this month, placing it in the top 5% of all undergraduate nursing programs nationwide.

by Malorie Burkett
VCU College of Health Professions
and Caitlin Hanbury
VCU School of Nursing

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