Zhizhong "Z" Li, MSN, MA, RN, CNL

Assistant Dean, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion; Assistant Professor; CNL Track Leader
Zhizhong Li
He / Him / His

Summary

Zhizhong “Z” Li ventured into nursing academia at the Orvis School of Nursing, University of Nevada, Reno, in 2015. With 15-year progressive clinical and leadership experiences in trauma critical care services at Renown Health, he was a major driving force for diversity and inclusion initiatives within the organization. He obtained his baccalaureate and master’s degrees from the University of Nevada, Reno. He became a trained change agent as a Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL) certified by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.

Li has worked tirelessly to address and raise awareness about issues of equity, diversity, inclusion, and access at the Orvis School of Nursing. After joining the faculty team, Li immediately began an extensive teaching responsibility, including undergraduate clinical and nursing management and leadership courses. He has also been teaching CNL theory and practicum courses. Li’s passion for equality and inclusion in nursing education is evident through his teaching effort and mentorship of the students. He actively incorporates principles of diversity, equity, inclusion, and access into strategically establishing a welcoming, safe, and nurturing learning environment for all.

Teaching at both undergraduate and graduate levels has provided Li with many opportunities to connect with our nursing students and educate them on the importance of diversity and inclusion initiatives. Under Li’s mentorship, his students have made a significant impact on the community by addressing healthcare disparities and stigma in vulnerable populations. In summer 2018, Li mentored one of his graduate students working on a project addressing healthcare stereotypes and stigmas against pregnant women with opioid addiction. Li developed strong academic-practice partnerships with multiple community partners and stakeholders. The collaboration led to the establishment of the Neonatal Guidance Committee, which united all Northern Nevada agencies and hospitals to work on the issue together. The project’s poster, “Addressing health disparities and stigma in pregnant women with the opioid disorder: An MSN education initiative through interdisciplinary collaboration,” received the first-place award for outstanding poster presentation at the American Association of Colleges of Nursing’s Master’s Education Conference in 2019.

Li also carries significant leadership responsibilities at the Orvis School of Nursing. Li’s primary leadership role is centered around serving as the Assistant Dean, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. He spearheaded the initiative in establishing Orvis School of Nursing’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee. He works closely with the Dean and executive board in setting policies and practices related to all matters of diversity, equity, inclusion, and access within the OSN. Li initiated the Orvis School of Nursing’s sponsorship program for the Northern Nevada Pride in July 2019, making the nursing program at the Orvis School of Nursing the first in the nation that independently sponsored a Pride event. The Pride parade and festival attracted over 14,000 attendees to Northern Nevada. The Orvis School of Nursing not only had a strong presence in a significant local community event but also has become an academic leader that strives to promote diversity and inclusion in the Northern Nevada community. The school has been sponsoring this event every year. Li also co-chairs the School’s Strategic Planning Committee and has successfully led the team developing the Orvis School of Nursing 2020 – 2025 Strategic Plan. Li received an administrative appointment as the CNL Track Leader for the Master of Nursing program. He has collaborated with the Associate Dean for Graduate Programs to improve the operations, enrollment, and quality of the CNL program. As a result, the graduates’ CNL certification exam passing rate remains 100%, compared to the national average of 75%.

Li has also dedicated his knowledge and skills to advancing inclusive excellence at the University, community, and national levels. While as a graduate student, Li actively participated in the University’s Cultural Diversity Committee. His most significant contribution was building the connection between the University and Renown Health for the Northern Nevada Diversity Summit sponsorship. Li is an enthusiastic member of the University’s Presidential Diversity and Inclusion Task Force and has contributed significantly to developing the University’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Strategic Action Plan. Li also represents nursing as a liaison of the University of Nevada, Reno’s Faculty Diversity Committee, and the Ozmen Institute for Global Studies Faculty Advisory Committee. As one of the founding members of the Neurodiversity Alliance, a University’s presidential initiative, Li is a strong voice advocating Universal Design for Learning to ensure every student has an equal opportunity to succeed. He also focuses on identifying and eliminating barriers and discrimination against neurodiverse people.

Li’s extensive healthcare leadership experiences in acute care health systems and academic settings also established a solid foundation for becoming an inspiring researcher. He has dedicated his research passion to examining issues related to human dynamics, diversity, equity, inclusion, and access in healthcare and higher education systems and addressing healthcare disparities and stigma among vulnerable populations in the society. Li’s master’s thesis, titled “Cultural Competence in Nursing Students and Practicing Nurses,” was recognized among ProQuest’s 25 Most-Accessed Dissertations and Theses in August 2018. The study was one of the most accessed 2.25 million full-text graduate works across all subject areas, based on total PDF downloads in the ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global database. Li showcased his work in a podium session presented at the 2020 Western Institute of Nursing Conference.

Li is a dedicated scholar with a drive to succeed. Currently, he is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Arizona College of Nursing in the Data and Systems Science track, with expected graduation in December 2022. He recently did three podium presentations at the 2022 Western Institute of Nursing Conference on his work of acute care nurse leader turnover intention and innovative teaching strategies fostering inclusive excellence in undergraduate nursing clinical education. After graduation, Li plans to pursue his career goal of advancing inclusive excellence in healthcare through interventional research and strategic leadership.

Education

  • Ph.D. Candidate, Nursing (expected graduation: December 2022) - University of Arizonia
  • MSN, Nursing - University of Nevada, Reno
  • BSN, Nursing - University of Nevada, Reno
  • ADN, Nursing - Truckee Meadows Community College
  • MA, Journalism - University of Nevada, Reno

Professional Experience

University of Nevada, Reno - Assistant Dean, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

University of Nevada, Reno - Undergraduate Level 1 Clinical Coordinator

University of Nevada, Reno - Track Leader (MSN CNL program)

University of Nevada, Reno - Assistant Professor

Renown Health - Manager of Nursing (Trauma/Neuro/Surgical/Medical critical care)

University of Nevada, Reno - Clinical Faculty (Trauma/Neuro/Surgical/Medical critical care)

Renown Health - Supervisor of Clinical Nursing (Trauma/Neuro/Surgical/Medical critical care)

Renown Health - Staff Nurse (Trauma/Neuro/Surgical/Medical critical care)

Renown Health - Critical Care Technician (Trauma/Neuro/Surgical/Medical critical care)

Research Interests

  • Inclusion, diversity, equity, and access in healthcare systems and higher education
  • Human dynamics and communication in healthcare systems and higher education
  • Compassion fatigue, burnout, and turnover among healthcare professionals
  • Healthcare disparities and stigmas in LGBTQIA + population
  • Healthcare management and leadership
  • Health behaviors, issues, and disparities in vulnerable populations
  • Substance abuse prevention and intervention
  • Psychological and physiological response to pain management

Scholarly Work

Li, Z., & Gephart, S. (2022, April). Prevalence and characteristics of the turnover of nurse leaders. Podium session presented at the meeting of the 2022 Western Institute of Nursing Conference, Portland, WA.

Li, Z., & Gephart, S. (2022, April). Inclusive excellence in undergraduate clinical education with teaching innovation. Podium session presented at the meeting of the 2022 Western Institute of Nursing Conference, Portland, WA.

Li, Z., Gephart, S., & Brewer, B. (2022, April). Turnover intention in acute care nurse leaders: A scoping review. Podium session presented at the meeting of the 2022 Western Institute of Nursing Conference, Portland, WA.

Li, Z., & Brewer, B. (2021, April). Cultural competence in nursing students and practicing nurses. Virtual podium presentation. Western Institute of Nursing Conference.

Li, Z. (2020, July). COVID-19 and the LGBTQIA+ Community. Virtual podium presentation. 2020 Sexual & Gender Minority Health Conference. Nevada Public Health Training Center.

Li, Z. (2020, May). COVID-19 and the LGBTQIA+ Community. Webinar presentation. COVID-19 Webinar Series: Supporting LGBTQIA+ Communities. Nevada Public Health Training Center.

Li, Z., & Holston, E. C. (2020, April). Promoting freedom of speech in the higher education environment. Podium presentation selected at the meeting of the 2020 Northern Nevada Diversity Summit, Reno, NV. (Conference canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic).

Li, Z., & Combs, K. (2019, February). Addressing health disparities and stigma in pregnant women with opioid use disorder: An MSN education initiative through interdisciplinary collaboration. Poster session presented at the meeting of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing Master’s Education Conference, Tampa, FL.

Li, Z., Elliott, J., & VanKirk, E.  (2018, May). Dedicated rapid response team (RRT) improves mortality rate. Poster session presented at the meeting of the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses National Teaching Institute Conference, Boston, MA.

Tung, W. C. & Li, Z. (2015). Pain beliefs and behaviors among Chinese. Home Health Care Management & Practice, (27) 2, 95-97. https://doi.org/10.1177/1084822314547962

Courses taught

  • Nursing management and leadership (NURS441)
  • Human care nursing II practicum (NURS454)
  • Leadership development and care management (NURS744)
  • Care management in a healthcare micro-system: CNL Immersion Practicum (NURS747)
  • Planning strategies for care of specialized populations (NURS759)
  • Advanced nursing care for specialized populations practicum (NURS760)
  • Nursing care individual & family (NURS346)
  • Nursing care of individual 1: Practice (NURS318)

Service activities

2021-Present - Neurodiversity Alliance – Founding member

2020-Present - Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee, Orvis School of Nursing, University of Nevada, Reno – Chair

2020-Present - Presidential Diversity and Inclusion Task Force, University of Nevada, Reno – Member

2018-Present - Strategic Planning Committee, Orvis School of Nursing, University of Nevada, Reno – Co-chair

2016-Present - Faculty Search Committee, Orvis School of Nursing, University of Nevada, Reno – Member

2018-Present - Honor Pledge Induction Ceremony Planning Committee, Orvis School of Nursing, University of Nevada, Reno - Member

2017-Present - Faculty Diversity Committee, University of Nevada, Reno – Member

2017-Present - Faculty Advisory Committee, Ozmen Institute for Global Studies, University of Nevada, Reno – Member