A male with eyeglasses and three females -- one holding a certificate -- are wearing traditional Bangladeshi apparel.
Rima Rani, a nursing instructor at Grameen Caledonian College of Nursing in Bangladesh (holding certificate), being presented with her faculty development training certificate by (l. to r.) CNPH's Charles Cal '05, MS '01, MBA '03, clinical assistant professor, Dean Deborah Hunt, PhD '12 and Ani Jacob, DNP, clinical associate professor.

During the past two years, College of Nursing and Public Health Dean Deborah Hunt, PhD ’12, has been laser focused on the international collaboration with Professor Mohammad Yunus’ Grameen Caledonian College of Nursing in Bangladesh. 

However, for Dean Hunt, the interest in global collaboration is nothing new. “I have always been interested in an international partnership,” she said. “We are a global world, especially in nursing and healthcare. It is so important for us to collaborate on an international level and share ideas, knowledge and ways to prepare our future nurses and promote positive patient outcomes.”

In February–March 2024, the latest of several trips to Bangladesh, Dean Hunt concentrated on faculty development for educators at the Grameen Caledonian College of Nursing (GCCN). Dean Hunt said that she, Ani Jacob, DNP, clinical associate professor, and Charles Cal ’95, MS ’01, MBA ’03, clinical assistant professor presented “a five-day faculty development program that was based on my book The New Nurse Educator Mastering Academe.” Each GCCN faculty participant was given a copy of the book.

The Grameen faculty were “highly engaged and we had rich discourse around nursing and nursing education and healthcare,” Dean Hunt noted. In addition, she said they discussed simulation “and ways to incorporate it on a higher level in their classrooms.”

Since that training, Dean Hunt learned that Satu Mondal, a lecturer with Glasgow Caledonian University, utilized role-playing In her psychiatric mental health course, “which is one of the teaching strategies we shared in our faculty development program.” (Professor Yunus founded GCCN in partnership with Glasgow Caledonian University in 2011.)

Wide-ranging discussions are ongoing

Dean Hunt previously had indicated that she wanted to offer a nurse educator certificate course at Grameen. That did not happen during this trip, although she noted that CNPH’s faculty development program did cover many major subjects from that course.  

Additionally, Dean Hunt said, “We are still in discussions with CPCS [College of Professional and Continuing Studies] on developing a nurse educator certificate course that would be an option for nurses in the U.S. or abroad.”

Despite the “challenges” presented by the two parties’ time differences, she said, “We do meet consistently on Zoom and continue to share knowledge and ideas.”

The Susan Gibson connection

The Adelphi–Grameen partnership came about “through the generous donations of Susan Gibson,” said Dean Hunt.

Citing the nursing schools’ collaboration whose origins date back to mid-2022, Dean Hunt said that Gibson, an author and philanthropist, “has made this all possible with her philanthropy and support throughout this partnership. Susan has served as our ambassador and liaison since the beginning of the partnership.” Gibson, a friend of both Adelphi alumnus Bharat Bhisé, MBA ’78, and Yunus, brought about talks in 2022 that led to Dean Hunt’s exploratory visit with the Nobel Peace Prize laureate in Dhaka, Bangladesh, in January 2023.

In April 2023, Yunus visited the University’s Garden City campus, where he and Adelphi President Christine Riordan, PhD, signed a memo of understanding (MOU). “We continue to collaborate with Susan and brainstorm on ways to collaborate with our GCCN peers”—the latest instance being the faculty development program.

During their latest trip, Dean Hunt met with the Nobel laureate. That was soon after he was sentenced, in January, to six months imprisonment by a Bangladesh court for labor law violations tied to Grameen Telecom, as reported by CNN, Reuters and others.

Dean Hunt said, “Unfortunately, Professor Yunus is experiencing a very challenging time. But we do not believe that this will affect our partnership and [we] have plans to continue to collaborate and explore ways to conduct international research studies.”

As she looks ahead, what’s on Dean Hunt’s global collaboration wish list? She responded: “I would like to pursue a global partnership with a European country to … learn more about the nursing and healthcare systems [there].”

Meanwhile, in the Caribbean

Another collaboration was canceled this spring—the Dominican Republic trip long planned by Assistant Professor Kattiria Rosario Gonzalez, PhD, for Adelphi’s March 2024 spring break—due in part to the current political unrest and violence in neighboring Haiti.

“There were several factors that resulted in the spring trip being cancelled,” Dean Hunt said, “but my understanding is that Professor Gonzalez is still planning on a future opportunity.”

For two years, Dr. Gonzalez had developed the 1-credit study abroad service learning course to build CNPH students’ awareness of health needs in her father’s homeland. “I developed this to give back to my community,” Dr. Gonzalez explained. “My dad was born in Azua. We have a home in a rural community there.” She added, “Azua is a poor province of the DR and our community is one of the poorest.”

The trip would also enable the students to learn how community health needs are addressed at the grassroots level in Azua. Students would not only learn about healthcare there but also work with community members and prepare a health education presentation.

“I have led two trips to DR [before Adelphi] and the goal was to provide the students with a cultural immersion as well as expose them to the needs of the community,” she said. “I have always strived to assure that these trips are beneficial for both the students and the community members by making sure we provide services of use to them.”

During a Spring 2021 Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging Council Zoom panel, she said that, after her past trips, she decided to concentrate her research on the impact such trips have on their targeted communities, more than on the students’ experience.

Working with local partners

When the Dominican Republic trip gets back on track, Dr. Gonzalez will be partnering with various local entities. One is the Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra. A private university there, Pontificia Universidad offers a nursing major.

“We will be visiting the university to start student dialogue with regard to education and work,” she said. In addition, she said CNPH students will work at local clinics in Azua, as well as the main public hospital.

Beyond the DR trip, Dean Hunt said, “The CNPH is committed to offering faculty-led global and service learning experiences to our students, and several faculty are working on potential study abroad opportunities.” She did not offer specific destinations.

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