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).
She joined GW on Monday.
“Throughout the pandemic, Dr. Nesbitt has been an incredibly resilient and effective leader. She navigated the response with a sharp focus on equity to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 for all District residents,” 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. “This response, coupled with her longstanding efficacy in leading health care delivery and public health programs in D.C., demonstrate her knowledge and skills as a nationally recognized health care leader.”
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,” Bass said.
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.”
A sought-after expert in her field, Nesbitt has held federal and local leadership roles, is a widely published author and served as an executive editor of “Population Health: Management, Policy and Technology.” She is a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Public Health Management and Practice. She earned a B.S. in biochemistry, M.D. and M.P.H. in health care management and policy, and she completed an internship and residency in medicine and fellowship in minority health policy.
Nesbitt’s professorship appointment is the first of 14 that aims to accelerate the progress of the academic medical enterprise. President Mark S. Wrighton announced in September that the university would direct more than $50 million—proceeds from the sale of the university’s partnership interest in GW Hospital—to fund the professorships in one of the most significant single investments in university history to support faculty.
The professorships will be established in schools across the university and support a broad range of disciplines, including medicine, public health, nursing, chemistry, biology and biomedical engineering.
“Endowed professorships are a cornerstone of world-class research institutions, and they are very important to our ability to recruit faculty and fulfill our mission of teaching, research, patient care and service,” Wrighton said. “Dr. Nesbitt is an exemplary individual to hold the first of our new professorships.”