History of the Mervyn M. Dymally School of Nursing

“At a time when millions of inner-city citizens are suffering from vast health inequities and few clinical care options, the need for innovative, comprehensive health care education and clinical care has never been greater. The Federal Health Resources and Services Agency (HRSA) estimated that in the second decade of the 21st century, California would need more than 42,000 additional nurses to meet demand, which it describes as “a target that more than likely will not be met because of the inability of current nursing education programs to prepare sufficient numbers of professional nurses.” In particular, the critical need is for healthcare providers with expertise in working with highly diverse, low-income communities. California is known as one of the most racially, ethnically and culturally diverse states in the U.S., with a significant number of residents living without health insurance.

The South Los Angeles area surrounding CDU has the highest concentration of racial/ethnic minorities and is the most socioeconomically disadvantaged community in Los Angeles County. The university’s catchment area, South Los Angeles, is commonly known as Service Planning Area (SPA) 6 of Los Angeles County, which is one of the 8 SPAs of the county. Compared to Los Angeles County, SPA 6 has significantly fewer physicians and hospital beds per capita and a higher mortality rate, with elevated rates of serious chronic and acute health problems recognized by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as national priorities.

To tackle the growing demand for nurses who can provide healthcare in South Los Angeles and similar communities across the nation and throughout the world, CDU opened the Mervyn M. Dymally School of Nursing in the fall of 2010. The School was named after Dr. Mervyn Malcolm Dymally who was a Democratic politician from California. He served in the California State Assembly and the California State Senate as the 41st Lieutenant Governor of California and in the U.S. House of Representatives. A nationwide search for the founding dean of the School of Nursing was conducted and in January 2010, Dr. Gloria J. McNeal, PhD, MSN, ACNS-BC, FAAN was appointed the founding Dean.

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Drs. Mervyn M. Dymally and Gloria McNeal Founding Dean at MMDSON Opening Ceremony, 2010

Following the initial approval granted by the California BRN in 2010 to launch the pre-licensure Entry Level Masters nursing program, MMDSON then applied for professional accreditation with both the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). The MMDSON received a the 10-year CCNE accreditation in 2017.

In the summer of 2017, the MMDSON began a Baccalaureate of Science in Nursing completion program for RNs from Diploma and Associate Degree programs and this program has been extended to a concurrent curriculum. In Spring 2019, MMDSON began the Master of Science in Nursing and Post Master of Science in Nursing in the Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP). Enrollment currently stands more than 400 students in all the nursing programs.