In 2010, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the country’s largest philanthropy devoted to health, joined AARP Foundation and AARP, the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to helping people 50-plus seek and create wellness in all aspects of life, to found The Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action, a nationwide initiative designed to harness the power of nursing to help all Americans lead longer, healthier lives.
The country’s challenges include not only the public’s access to high-quality, affordable care, but also the lack of access many communities have to fresh food, and clean air, even public transportation and good schools—all factors of health and well-being.
Because nurses are uniquely woven into the fabric of the community—in schools, workplaces, homes, prisons, hospitals, assisted living facilities, and other community spaces—they are positioned to be a more powerful part of improving health and health equity.
Through 51 Action Coalitions in every state and Washington, D.C., the Campaign works with policymakers, health care professionals, educators, and business leaders to respond to the country’s increasing demand for safe, high-quality, and effective health care.
The Campaign’s actions are based on the Institute of Medicine’s The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health, a report from the Institute of Medicine that offers recommendations to strengthen the nursing profession to improve Americans’ health and health care. The recommendations are in six categories:
- Improving access to care
- Fostering interprofessional collaboration
- Promoting nursing leadership
- Transforming nursing education
- Increasing diversity in nursing
- Collecting workforce data
In a 2015 report assessing the progress made on implementing those recommendations, the IOM—now called the National Academy of Medicine (NAM)—urged greater action on increasing the diversity of the nursing workforce, to better improve care and well-being in underserved communities.
The movement continues: Building on the accomplishments of the Campaign, the NAM in 2019 began research for a forthcoming report on the future of nursing 2020-2030, one that will chart a path for the nursing profession to help reduce health disparities, and improve the health and wellbeing of the U.S. population in the 21st century. We are working to prepare nurses and their allies to understand key ideas in health equity and take action for justice.
The Campaign is coordinated through the Center to Champion Nursing in America, also an initiative of AARP Foundation, AARP, and RWJF.
Working with leading nursing organizations, other business, consumer, and health professional organizations, advisers on strategy and diversity, the Campaign is making progress nationwide to improve America’s health through nursing, and build a Culture of Health.