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Government and Community Relations at GW

All great cities have great universities. As a long standing anchor insitution in the District of Columbia, the George Washington University is invested in the success and vitality of the Washington metropolitan area. We actively share our resources and cultivate collaboration with the communities surrounding all three of our campuses, enhancing our collective quality of life and advancing our common goals.

The George Washington University community lends a wealth of intellectual capital to policymaking, whether it occurs in the White House, the U.S. Congress, the D.C. and Virginia governments, the courts or the hundreds of agencies, associations, foundations and think tanks throughout the region. GW infuses Washington’s government-related institutions with its research, experience, and an army of dedicated interns.


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GWSMHS Students Lobby Congress in Support of HCO Program.

Student ambassadors from the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences’ Health Career Opportunity Program (HCOP) pounded the pavement for some grassroots lobbying on Capitol Hill on Dec. 8, meeting with legislators to advocate for the continuation of federal funding — critically needed support to addresses workforce shortage in the health professions.

GW HCOP, which launched in 2018, has helped prepare more than 100 students from educationally and economically disadvantaged backgrounds, for academic and career success, providing scholarships and stipends for tuition, as well as offering a summer program, mentorship, and career counseling. Funding from the federal Health Resources and Services Administration, supports the grant program, will run out in August 2023.

With grant renewal uncertain, GW SMHS students joined representatives from the National Council for Diversity in the Health Professions of the Health and Medicine Counsel and GW staff, canvasing the offices of Senators Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Mark Warner (D-VA), as well as Representatives Jennifer Wexton (D-VA 10) and Donald Beyer (D-VA 08), sharing their stories and testimonials about the success of GW’s program.

Marcia Firmani, PhD, MSHS, chair of the Department of Biomedical Laboratory Sciences at GW SMHS, and the principal investigator on the grant, and Jessica To-Alemanji, PhD, DPT, PT, program manager for HCOP, organized the meetings and provided the legislative staffers with information about GW’s HCOP successes. From there, the students discussed their success stories and how HCOP helped them pursue their educational journey. Many of them expressed how without the program, they would not have been able to pursue their career goals.

The potential loss of such a vital pathway couldn’t come at a worse time for the U.S. labor market. Demand across all health care professions is expected to rise 13 percent from 2021 to 2031, creating about 2 million new jobs over the decade according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Eighty percent of health care facilities across the United States already are experiencing health care professional shortages,” added To-Alemanji.

“Programs such as HCOP,” she added, “not only offer students more opportunities to pursue careers in the health care industry, they also help build greater sociodemographic alignment between health workers and the communities they serve. That has been linked to better health outcomes.”

Read more about HCOP and testimony from students on the SMHS website.



Dr. LaQuandra Nesbitt


Former D.C. Official, an Expert in Health Equity, to Hold First of 14 New Endowed Professorships

LaQuandra Nesbitt, an expert in population health and leader in advancing health equity initiatives, will hold the first endowed professorship appointment that is part of the George Washington University’s transformative investment of more than $50 million to fund 14 new faculty positions in the academic medical enterprise.

The former director of D.C. Health, Nesbitt will serve as the executive director of the Center for Population Health Sciences and Health Equity, senior associate dean for population health and health equity and the bicentennial endowed professor in the School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS).

In her role leading the new center, Nesbitt will advance SMHS’ population health initiatives to improve the health and wellbeing of patients and communities served by the academic medical enterprise. She will oversee three significant initiatives: planning and implementing the clinical, educational and research programs at the Cedar Hill Regional Medical Center – GW Health; developing an applied clinical research center on population health sciences and health equity; and expanding the GW Clinical Public Health program in partnership with Senior Associate Dean Lawrence Deyton.

“Dr. Nesbitt is the ideal leader to launch this timely new center within GW’s academic medical enterprise,” said Barbara L. Bass, vice president for health affairs, Walter A. Bloedorn Chair of Administrative Medicine, dean of GW SMHS and CEO of the GW Medical Faculty Associates.

Nesbitt is a board-certified family physician with more than a decade of experience with population health initiatives in governmental agencies. In leading the District’s pandemic response, Nesbitt has worked across organizations and communities to bring innovative solutions that promote health and wellness and advance health equity.

“Throughout my career, I’ve been fortunate to serve patients and communities in a number of ways—as a clinician in the exam room, as an educator in the classroom and at community town halls and as an advocate for health equity with key decision makers,” Nesbitt said. “Serving as the executive director of the Center for Population Health Sciences and Health Equity affords me the opportunity to combine those experiences in new and exciting ways. I look forward to working with many colleagues and community members I have known throughout the years in continued service to the residents of the District of Columbia and beyond to achieve better health and equity in the health care space.”

Read more about Dr. Nesbitts  Endowed Professorships on GWToday


GW Serves DC 2022 Report

Cover of GW Serves DC Report


Dear Members of Our D.C. Community,

I am pleased to share with you the George Washington University’s second annual GW Serves D.C. Report. For centuries, the George Washington University and our students, faculty, staff and alumni have served the District in important and meaningful ways.

As the university embarks on its third century, we are committed to strengthening the invaluable partnerships we have established across all the District’s eight wards. These collaborations are guided by our deep commitment to serve our neighbors and communities—whether in work to address health disparities, including through the forthcoming Cedar Hill Regional Medical Center, GW Health; pandemic response and expertise; policy research and advocacy; innovation and entrepreneurship; or programming and scholarships for the next generation of District leaders.

Our partnerships are driven by our mission and the needs of the District, and they are rooted in our long-term commitment to finding creative and collaborative solutions. I look forward to the continued impact we will have together improving our home here in Washington, D.C.

Thank you for your continued support and partnership.

Sincerely yours,

Mark S. Wrighton

18th President of GW