Brittney Lohmiller / The Natchez Democrat — Dr. Yolanda Powell-Young is the new dean of school nursing at Alcorn State University and hopes to bring research-based projects and initiatives to the school.
Brittney Lohmiller / The Natchez Democrat — Dr. Yolanda Powell-Young is the new dean of school nursing at Alcorn State University and hopes to bring research-based projects and initiatives to the school.

New dean takes over Alcorn State nursing program

Published 12:01am Friday, April 25, 2014

NATCHEZ — Alcorn State University’s new dean of the school of nursing has only been in Natchez for 60 days, but said it only took one day to realize the importance the university and program have within the community.

Dr. Yolanda Powell-Young took over the nursing program at the university’s Natchez campus after spending 10 years in New Orleans, the majority of which was spent at Dillard University, where she was one of the researchers for a National Institute of Health-funded exploratory center for health disparities.

“I got a phone call one day from Alcorn saying they were looking for a new dean for their nursing program, that my name had come up and was I interested in the position,” Powell-Young said. “I was invited to the campus, introduced to everybody, was able to visit the Lorman campus, and it just immediately felt like home.”

The Alexandria, La., native has been in the nursing field for 21 years, 12 of which she dedicated to educating practicing and aspiring nurses.

She completed her bachelor’s at Grambling State University, her master’s at Northwestern State University and her doctorate at Southern University.

“I knew just a little bit about Alcorn because it’s a historically black college like Grambling is, but that’s about all I knew before I came,” Powell-Young said. “I liked the idea that this school has a very vibrant community presence, where the community knows Alcorn and Alcorn knows the community.

“It really gave me a sense that this school is really a community-based school.”

Powell-Young’s most recent studies included investigating the determinants of inflammation and effect of intervention among black adolescent females with metabolic risk factors for diabetes and heart disease in Sudanese families.

Powell-Young said those types of research-based projects and initiatives are something she hopes to bring to the school of nursing.

“Right now the school of nursing doesn’t have a big research presence, but with everything going on with the Affordable Care Act and health disparities, this is a great time to push for that research,” she said. “If you have a school of nursing or any school that is medically inclined, then research is something you want to do.”

Samuel L. White, Alcorn executive vice president and provost, said he welcomed Powell-Young to lead Alcorn’s talented nursing program.

“We are confident that she will foster a collaborative spirit within the school of nursing and communities, where educators, researchers and clinicians join together to advance health and quality of life,” White said.

Powell-Young said she looked forward to expanding an already successful program that has enjoyed significant statewide and nationwide recognition.

“I have been gifted with the opportunity to help improve the health of not only this community, but the health and wellness of the nation,” she said. “I think nurses in general, and here at Alcorn, are poised to influence and support the efforts that have been designed to create a healthy America.

“I’m looking forward to affirming the school’s prominence in this community and establishing greater national presence through our practice and service.”

Powell-Young also completed two post doctorates in clinical genetics: one from the University of Iowa and the other through a Georgetown National Institutions of Health Collaborative.

Powell-Young’s husband, Derwin Young, is an engineer for the United States Department of Defense.

Alcorn’s main campus is located in Lorman, with satellite campuses in Natchez and Vicksburg. The historically black university is fully accredited with seven schools and degree programs in more than 50 areas, including a nursing program.