GW Announces Fitzhugh Mullan Institute for Health Workforce Equity

The Institute, formerly known as the GW Health Workforce Institute, will continue its work to strengthen the health workforce worldwide.

April 11, 2019

Dr. Mullan

Fitzhugh Mullan, a professor of health policy and management, has dedicated his career to promoting social justice and health equity. (Photo: Milken Institute SPH)

The George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health announced it is renaming the GW Health Workforce Institute the Fitzhugh Mullan Institute for Health Workforce Equity. This change honors Fitzhugh Mullan, a professor of health policy and management.

The honor recognizes Dr. Mullan’s lifelong commitment to social justice, health equity and health workforce policies. Patricia Pittman, a professor of health policy and management at the Milken Institute SPH, was named director of the Institute.

“We are thrilled to rename this Institute to honor Dr. Mullan for his dedication to building a stronger, more diverse health workforce in the United States and around the world,” said Lynn Goldman, the Michael and Lori Milken Dean of Milken Institute SPH. “The Fitzhugh Mullan Institute for Health Workforce Equity will accelerate the work already underway that positions GW as a leader in the field of health equity and health workforce policies.”

Dr. Mullan, who is also a professor of pediatrics at the School of Medicine and Health Sciences, joined GW in 1998. He founded the GW Health Workforce Institute along with Dr. Pittman in 2015. The Institute was created to further research and education in health workforce equity and houses two fellowship programs that demonstrate Dr. Mullan’s role as a mentor, teacher and leader to scores of physicians and public health professionals.

The Institute is housed in the Department of Health Policy and Management at Milken Institute SPH but draws on resources from throughout the nation’s capital as well as from GW’s diverse and distinguished faculty, including the schools of Nursing, SMHS, Business, Education and Human Development, and the Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration.

Under Dr. Mullan and Dr. Pittman’s leadership, the Institute has conducted novel research in innovative uses of health workers, measuring social mission in health professions education, diversity in admissions to health professions schools, the impact of the National Health Service Corps and social mission in nursing education.

“A diverse and well-trained health workforce that can contribute to health disparity reduction is a major goal of the Institute,” Dr. Mullan said. “It is the work of the Institute to help build a health system that is not only better than it was in the past, but one that is also fairer.”

Dr. Mullan is a pediatrician by training and his 50-year career includes time as a civil rights worker, National Health Services Corps physician, federal administrator, assistant Surgeon General and senior adviser to Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, a writer and a researcher. At age 32, in the midst of his public service career, he developed cancer and underwent surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. He wrote a book about his experience at that time and founded the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship, which still serves as the leading voice for cancer survivors.

The Institute is home to the Atlantic Fellows for Health Equity, a program that trains early/mid-career health professionals in areas such as the social determinants of health and community organizing with the goal of helping them build healthier communities. The 10-year program was funded with an initial $6 million award from the Atlantic Philanthropies. In 2018, Atlantic Philanthropies committed another $18 million to expand the fellowship.

“Fitzhugh Mullan is a leading force for health equity who has always put humanity at the heart of health care,” said Christopher G. Oechsli, president and CEO of The Atlantic Philanthropies. “We’re honored to support the Fitzhugh Mullan Institute for Health Workforce Equity and its work to develop the next generations dedicated to ensuring people around the world have a fair chance at a healthy life.”