Commitment to Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, Belonging, Justice and Anti-Racism

Hands laid on a table illustrate diversity

Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, Belonging and Justice Declaration

Georgetown University School of Nursing, consistent with Georgetown’s Catholic, Jesuit identity, supports an academic environment that is equitable, diverse, inclusive and respectful. We commit to building upon and promoting this work through humility and the transparent practices, policies, resources, and values of our academic community. Within this just culture, advocacy is expected and promoted to discourage, and actively intervene when there is unacceptable behavior.

Bias, discrimination, prejudice, racism and other oppressive mechanisms threaten our collective humanity by harming the ability of individuals and communities to truly flourish. These harms may be directed at persons and/or communities, expressed overtly or implicitly, and occur at the interpersonal, institutional, and structural levels. These mechanisms are in direct conflict with our values of equity, diversity, belonging, justice and the common good.

The School of Nursing strives to promote health equity and spurns racism, faith-based persecution, discrimination against transgender and gender diverse people, sexism, heterosexism, ageism, ableism, ethnocentrism, sizeism and others. Understanding intersectionality, the connections among these identities, and power relations are paramount to advancing justice and equity.

Dean Roberta Waite

Operationalizing our vision, living our Jesuit, social and racial justice values, and embracing the need to nurture the mind, body and spirit to promote maximum health and flourishing requires us to think boldly and creatively. This is what we do at Georgetown University School of Nursing.

Dean Roberta Waite, EdD, RN

Mission and Commitment to Anti-Racism

The Georgetown University School of Nursing is committed to advancing racial justice through awareness and action, seamlessly integrating antiracist education in our learning, clinical spaces and research, and focusing on cultural safety for learners across our programs. Universalizing and institutionalizing a racial-justice approach to health care will enhance care provided to individuals, families and communities. Our commitment to a better future requires an honest examination of the past and the present, actively leaning into discomfort to understand, learn and create change where injustice exists.

The School of Nursing developmental path towards anti-racism efforts encompasses:

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Belonging, and Anti-Racism Committee

In collaboration with the Georgetown and external communities we serve, the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Belonging, and Anti-Racism Committee creates and maintains environments of inclusion, acceptance and equity that fosters well-being and flourishing for all.

As part of this work, the committee:

Committee Members: 2023-2024

Edilma L Yearwood

Edilma Yearwood, PhD, Chair of the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Belonging, and Anti-Racism Committee

Committee Chair: Edilma Yearwood (faculty)
Lauren Arrington (faculty)
Lisa Chaplin (faculty)
Michael Clarke (faculty)
Susan Coleman (faculty)
Megan McAuliffe (faculty)
Signey Olson (faculty)
Catherine Tierney (faculty)
Lois Wessel (faculty)
Lisa Banks-Williams (adjunct faculty)
Janice Belbeck (adjunct faculty)
Emma Benson-Xu (staff)
Edith DeLeon (staff)
Lauren Hlava (staff)
Noor Bontz (G’24) (student)
Akua Yeboah (G’24) (student)
Lanika Tucker (alumna)

Nurturing Child Well Being: Educating Communities on Social Determinants of Health

Seven individuals from the research team stand together

The current NCWB research team (pictured from left): Christine Mauvais (N’24), Edilma Yearwood, Dylan Senescall (N’27), Diana Castro-Castro (N’25), Diana Tran (N’24), Shrishti Chhajlani (N’26), Sarah Price

Project Director: Edilma L. Yearwood, PhD, RN, FAAN
Assistant Project Director: Sarah Price, MSN, RN
Research Assistants (RAs): Christine Mauvais (N’24), Dylan Senescall (N’27), Diana Castro-Castro (N’25), Diana Tran (N’24), Shrishti Chhajlani (N’26), Margarita Sokolenko (N’23)

The Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA) awarded Georgetown University funding (2020-2025) through its Healthy Tomorrows Partnership for Children Program for the project titled “Nurturing Child Well Being: Educating Communities on Social Determinants of Health (SDOH).” This project addresses family and community dynamics along with existing social drivers that can negatively impact child and family health. The project team educates parents, health care providers and teachers to increase their literacy levels about SDOH and provides them with strategies to mitigate the negative impact of SDOH. We strive to improve overall child health outcomes and promote well-being in children residing in the District of Columbia, Northern Virginia and Maryland. Project activities aim to facilitate measurable improvements in health literacy, practice, service delivery, program development and policymaking in the region. We particularly work with under-resourced and underserved communities.

Key project activities have included:

Georgetown University School of Nursing has spearheaded this work by using several unique approaches:

Area Health Education Centers Program (AHEC)

AHEC programs were developed by Congress in 1971 to recruit, train and retain health professionals committed to underserved populations. The District of Columbia AHEC, led by Georgetown University, serves with the mission of meeting health workforce needs and improving the health of the public of the District of Columbia and beyond. The AHEC program helps bring the resources of academic medicine to address local community health needs. Currently, there are approximately 56 AHEC programs with more than 235 centers in operation in almost every state and the District of Columbia.

DC AHEC logo

The AHEC mission is to enhance access to quality health care, particularly primary and preventive care, by improving the supply and distribution of health care professionals via strategic partnerships with academic programs, communities and professional organizations.

The GU AHEC program is focused on:

AHEC Mentorship

This program links students seeking mentors with professionals in the field who can guide them through their academic endeavors to reach their career goals. View more information about the Primary Care Mentorship Program.

AHEC Scholarship

APRN students who are in a clinical rotation in a Federally Qualified Health Center or a similar community health setting (mobile van, school-based clinic, migrant heath, Indian Health Service, corrections medicine) may apply to be an AHEC scholar. Students are required to complete 40 clinical hours in this site, plus an additional 40 hours of didactic work (interprofessional education, behavioral health integration, social determinants of health, cultural competency, practice transformation, opioid use disorder, and COVID-19). Upon completion, students will receive recognition as an AHEC scholar and a stipend to help with their studies. View application information. For more information about the PCS please contact our Project Coordinator at or visit our website.

This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of an award totaling $722,740 with 50% financed with non-governmental sources. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by HRSA, HHS, or the U.S. Government. Please visit


In 2022, Georgetown University School of Nursing faculty were awarded several $3,500 RADIANCE (Respect, Advocacy, Diversity, Inclusion, ANti-racism, Collaboration, Equity) grants from the Office of Faculty and Academic Affairs of GUMC.

RADIANCE grants aim to contribute to a culture of respect, inclusion and belonging through strategies that promote advocacy, diversity, anti-racism, collaboration and/or equity.

The necessity to provide resources to advance faculty development, curriculum and programming with respect to respect, advocacy, diversity, inclusion, anti-racism, collaboration and equity were crystallized in April 2021 during a panel discussion titled “Black Women Lead Panel: Navigating Intersections of Race & Gender in Academic Medicine.” The event was organized by Susan Cheng, senior associate dean for the Office of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging (ODEIB) in the School of Medicine. The idea had been cultivated in collaboration with ODEIB and the GUMC Faculty Development Committee Design Team on Mentoring for Faculty Underrepresented in Medicine.

Georgetown University School of Nursing received funding to develop a set of DEI competencies for faculty. The Faculty DEI Competencies Workgroup is leading an inclusive process to develop the proposed list of competencies that will be integrated into faculty performance evaluation, and advancement and promotion.

The competency development process included mapping the competencies to the school through a roundtable discussion led by antiracism and health equity consultant Dr. Kristie Ford, and incorporating feedback from faculty, staff, and alumni. Competencies to guide faculty in their development and pursuit of excellence were developed to create a learning and work environment of respect, belonging, inclusivity, antiracism, and equity. These competencies reflect Georgetown’s mission and values and include self-assessment, classroom learning environment, mentoring, and advocacy.

The Task Force on Inclusive Pedagogy will provide staff and faculty with resources to learn how to implement the competencies in their teaching and engagement with the learning community. Competencies will be available by the end of 2023.

Faculty Team Members

  • Leslie Arceneaux, DNP, FNP, Director for Continuing Education and Instructional Continuity
  • Lauren Arrington, DNP, CNM, FACNM
  • Janice Belbeck – MA, BSN, RN, CPHQ, FACHE, Alumni and Adjunct Faculty
  • Pam Biernacki, DNP, FNP-BC, Assistant Dean for Innovation & Program Development
  • Debora Dole, PhD, CNM, FACNM, VIce Dean, Academic Faculty Affairs
  • Katie Daily, MSN, CNM, MW and WHNP Adjunct Faculty
  • Catherine Tierney, DNP, AG-ACNP
  • Lois Wessel, DNP, FNP
  • Melody Wilkinson, DNP, FNP-BC, FAANP

Building from a comprehensive review and curriculum mapping of the NM/WHNP & WHNP Programs’ curricula to the AACN essentials, ACNM competencies, and NPWH competencies, the primary goal was to re-evaluate the curricula and determine whether it met the diversity, equity and social justice components of these competencies and essentials. An expert consultant conducted individual interviews with course coordinators and program leadership, and reviewed the curricula, resulting in a comprehensive report.

Key findings highlighted several fundamental strengths, including a faculty commitment and a strong mission alignment, faculty expertise in relevant subject matters, and a robust series of on campus intensives (OCIs) that center health equity content. The report also highlighted opportunities for a more strategic approach that would scaffold an anti-racist and health equity focus across the seven specialty courses.

Recommended next steps included:

  1. Building capacity among faculty to deepen their understanding of foundational anti-racism and health equity concepts and strengthen facilitation skills
  2. Mapping and linking the anti-racism and health equity content using a spiral learning approach
  3. Strengthening the culture of peer feedback and evaluation of teaching
  4. Developing a more robust list of anti-racism and health equity resources for each course
  5. Adding a DEI liaison to serve as a real-time resource for faculty
  6. Ensuring the threading of structural competency, trauma-informed person-centered care and accurate midwifery history throughout the curricula to serve as pillars and guide content creation
  7. Developing a didactic toolbox on health equity content
  8. Setting aside time to develop anti-racism and health equity content in a structured way

Faculty Team Members:

  • Heather Bradford, PhD, CNM, FACNM, Assistant Program Director, Nurse-Midwifery/Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner & Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner Programs
  • Melicia Escobar, DNP, CNM, WHNP-BC, FACNM, Alumni and Program Director, Nurse-Midwifery/Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner & Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner Programs
  • Kelly C. Walker, DNP, CNM, FACNM, Assistant Dean of Evaluation and Outcomes, Stony Brook School of Nursing

GUSON received funding for the IPE project: The GUMC RADIANCE Pedagogy Project: Digital Storytelling to Impact the Attitudes and Beliefs of Clinical Faculty Teaching about the Care of Transgender and Gender-Diverse People.

This educational IPE research project was the pilot initiative for a longitudinal thread. The first pilot data has been collected and analyzed. Presentations at Georgetown’s Teaching, Learning & Innovation Summer Institute (TLISI) & through Center for Innovation and Leadership in Education (CENTILE) have led to further dissemination about this project. Storytelling as a pedagogical tool is planned to be woven into the FNP/ANP curriculum to enhance the aim to increase knowledge, empathy and decrease stigma and bias.

RADIANCE grant funding has led to further funding from the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) to expand the project to allied health personnel & clinicians within Medstar.  Additional Georgetown engagement will expand to other populations with the following IPE project: Utilizing Digital Storytelling to Increase Knowledge and Empathy about the Complex Care of Marginalized Patients.

CORE Faculty Team Members:

  • Elke Zschaebitz, DNP, APRN, FNP-BC, Assistant Professor, FNP Program (PI and RADIANCE grant project lead)
  • Amy Culbertson, DNP, APRN, FNP-C, Associate Professor, FNP Program
  • Karen McCrea, DNP, APRN, FNP-C, Assistant Professor, FNP Program
  • Melody Wilkinson, DNP, APRN, FNP-C, FAANP Associate Professor FNP/DNP Programs
  • Mariangela Mihai, PhD (Anthropologist Filmmaker), Anthropology/Gender Studies, Former Gender+Justice Fellow, Assistant Professor Western Washington University 
  • Nancy Crowell, PhD, Psychology, Adjunct Professor, Associate Professor (Research Statistician)

Contributing Members:

  • Susan Cheng, EdLD, MPP, Senior Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion, Deputy Title IX Coordinator, School of Medicine
  • Sarah Kureshi, MD, MPH, Associate Professor, Department of Family Medicine, Vice Chair for Education, School of Medicine
  • Leon Lai, MD, Clinical Faculty, MedStar Health Georgetown, Expertise: Internal Medicine/ Infectious Disease, Healthcare Equality Index Taskforce
  • Tobie-Lynn Smith, MD, MPH, MEd, FAAFP, Assistant Professor Clinical Family Medicine Course Director for Ambulatory Care, Family Medicine Clerkship
  • Kelly Thompson-Brazill, DNP, ACNP, BC, CCRN-CSC, FCCM, Associate Professor and Assistant Dean for Advanced Practice Registered Nursing (APRN)
  • Kelly C. Walker, DNP, CNM, FACNM, Assistant Dean of Evaluation and Outcomes, Stony Brook School of Nursing
  • Pamela Biernacki, DNP, FNP-C, Associate Professor, Assistant Dean for Innovation and Program Development
  • Tracy Simon, Director, Continuing Professional Education, MedStar Health
  • Sam Chan, Manager of Assessment and Impact, ODEI at GUMC School of Medicine

Learning, Equity, Access and Pedagogy (LEAP) Initiative

About LEAP

The Learning, Equity, Access and Pedagogy (LEAP) Initiative is intended to build and sustain inclusive learning environments for students with a focus on experiences, context, reflection, action and evaluation. LEAP embraces “development of justice-oriented mindsets,” by addressing structural and institutional practices that serve as barriers to equitable access for all to an educational institution like Georgetown University.

School of Nursing LEAP Program: Diversity and Equity Student Scholars (DESS)

Faculty have identified a need to recruit, admit and retain a more diverse student body across all School of Nursing programs. Historically, our programs have not been able to attract and retain a student body that adequately reflects the changing demographics of the patients we serve. Recently, the nursing profession has prioritized the importance of diversifying the nursing workforce to address the current nursing shortage, health inequities, and challenges associated with trust, access and the existing diverse cultural needs. The Future of Nursing document (2021) calls on the profession to “recruit and support diverse students that reflect the populations they serve.” To date, most diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging and anti-racism efforts have focused on the faculty. The LEAP focus for the School of Nursing will intentionally focus on our students. The goal is to develop the knowledge, skills and attitudes of our student scholars specific to diversity, equity, inclusion, accessibility and belonging. These scholars will serve as allies, role models and mentors among their peers and across various environments such as the classroom, clinical site and campus.


DEIB Speakers Series

The Georgetown University School of Nursing hosts a monthly development series focused on issues related to diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging and anti-racism.

View the Lecture Schedule and Archive

Resources for Our Community

Anti-Racism & Racial Justice at Georgetown University Medical Center

Racial Justice Committee for Change

Resources to Support Our Community in Diversity at Georgetown University

Contact Us

Please contact us for additional information about the initiatives and activities presented on this page, as well as suggestions for additional resources to include.