Former DC Health director joins GW School of Medicine

The former director of D.C. Health is joining the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences to serve as the new executive director of the Center for Population Health Sciences and Health Equity.

Dr. LaQuandra Nesbitt will oversee the academic medical enterprise’s research, education and community engagement programs to establish an academic center in applied population health research to address health inequities, according to a news release.

“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. Serving as the Inaugural Executive Director of the new Center for Population Health Sciences and Health Equity, affords me the opportunity to combine those experiences in new and exciting ways,” Nesbitt said. “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.”

She will take on the role this month.

“I am thrilled that Dr. Nesbitt will be joining our team,” said Dr. Barbara 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. “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.”

Nesbitt will be the first Bicentennial Endowed Professor of Medicine and Health Sciences, one of nine endowed professorships established in SMHS to further strengthen its academic medicine programs.

Nesbitt is a board-certified family physician with more than a decade of experience leading population health initiatives in governmental public health agencies, according to the news release. She also served as the interim director of the District’s Department of Behavioral Health.

She earned a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry from the University of Michigan, her medical degree from Wayne State University School of Medicine, and a Master of Public Health in Health Care Management and Policy from the Harvard School of Public Health.

Following graduation, she completed an internship in family medicine at the University Hospitals of Cleveland/Case Western Reserve University and served as chief resident in the family medicine residency at the University of Maryland and completed the Commonwealth Fund Harvard University Fellowship in Minority Health Policy.

In her new role, Dr. Nesbitt will oversee the development and implementation of three programs, including the planning and implementation of the clinical, educational, and research programs at the Cedar Hill Regional Medical Center, the development of an applied clinical research center on population health sciences and health equity, leveraging resources at the university, and the GW Clinical Public Health Program.

“Now is the right time to advance population health sciences and health equity to guide all of our programs by expanding our Clinical Public Health curricula and programs to the next level within GW and to the communities we serve. Dr. Nesbitt has the vision, experience, and expertise to do that and I am excited to work with her on this project,” said Dr. Lawrence Deyton, Senior Associate Dean for Clinical Public Health.

Valerie Bonk

Valerie Bonk started working at WTOP in 2016 and has lived in Howard County, Maryland, her entire life. She's thrilled to be a reporter for WTOP telling stories on air. She works as both a television and radio reporter in the Maryland and D.C. areas. 

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