Population Health

Panelists sit at a table before an audience

Many of the determinants of healthy outcomes and of creating healthy communities are rooted in longstanding social and economic factors, including education, employment, housing and the environment — particularly in underserved communities. The elimination of health disparities and the achievement of health equity across all populations is one of the most important social justice issues of our time.

Georgetown’s commitment to the common good and social justice, and its programs in service, interprofessional education, advocacy and research provide a strong foundation for our work in advancing healthy communities

Research Activities

The Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS) is an NIH-funded project to better understand how HIV impacts women’s lives. Since 1994, participants (both HIV-infected and uninfected), staff and researchers have worked together to accomplish this goal across a broad range of topics, both medical and psychosocial.

The Georgetown Initiative to Reduce Health Disparities is a university-wide initiative to expand interdisciplinary collaboration across the university’s campuses to conduct research, education and outreach efforts that address global and local inequities in health and health care. The initiative enhances an important research portfolio within the medical center, trains future leaders in health disparities research, develops leadership for related health policy, prepares professionals and future professionals to deliver state-of-the-art services and programs to eliminate health disparities, and provides a vehicle to move from research to practice and policy.

The Georgetown University Health Justice Alliance is a medical-legal partnership launched by Georgetown’s Law and Medical Centers in 2016 to prepare future generations of lawyers, doctors, nurses and other health professionals to work together to help promote health and well-being of vulnerable individuals and families in order to prevent legal crises that could have health effects and contribute to health disparities.

The Office of Minority Health & Health Disparities Research at Georgetown Lombardi actively engages in research focused on reducing cancer disparities among the underserved and ethnic minority populations in the District of Columbia, including African-Americans, Latinos and Asian Americans.

The Capital Breast Care Center is a community-based program of the Office of Minority Health & Health Disparities Research. Its mission is to provide community outreach and patient navigation services for cancer prevention and early detection, including screenings and diagnostics utilizing evidence-based health and wellness education practices, to underserved women in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area.

The School of Nursing & Health Studies houses mission-oriented centers and initiatives like the Center for Health Equity – Research, Implementation, and Teaching (CHERITH); the Mid-Atlantic Center for Children’s Health and the Environment; the Population Health Initiative; and the Urban Health Collaborative. NHS demonstrated leadership in addressing health disparities in the local community by assisting the D.C. Commission on African American Affairs with developing the report The Health of the African American Community in the District of Columbia: Disparities and Recommendations.

The Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development (GUCCHD) works to improve the quality of life for all children and youth and their families, especially those with special health care needs, behavioral health challenges or disabilities (including adults with disabilities). Founded with an emphasis on bringing the social justice values of Georgetown University to life,
GUCCHD has built a strong training and research program that impacts thousands of lives across the world. It embraces an interdisciplinary approach to its work, whether creating clinical teams, collectively solving service delivery issues, or developing effective policies and practices. Locally, nationally and globally, GUCCHD brings to bear its unique capacities on critical social issues of our time, such as poverty, health and mental health inequities, and homelessness. 

Education Activities

The School of Nursing & Health Studies, reflecting its Mission, Vision, and Values, is committed to addressing population health and health equity. The school developed a public health minor for students at NHS and Georgetown College. Faculty colleagues developed the three-credit Health Equity Think Tank course. Additionally, population health themes are infused throughout the curriculum at the undergraduate and graduate levels, ranging from global health research practica abroad and the work of the nurse with vulnerable persons, to ethical, epidemiological, health promotion and policy approaches to related issues. Faculty members connect these themes to other credit-bearing, co-curricular and extracurricular activities, such as the school’s Minority Health Initiative Council and experiential learning opportunities in locations like Buenos Aires and West Virginia.

At the School of Medicine, two longitudinal academic tracks address population health and health equity.

  • The Population Health Scholar Track is a comprehensive, longitudinal curriculum in population health that includes additional training experiences and a rigorous outcomes-based scholarly project. By educating students about population health concepts and data, and increasing their opportunities to apply these skills, this track equips them with the necessary tools to thrive in a transformed health care system. 
  • The Health Justice Scholar Track empowers student physicians to be advocates for justice through a longitudinal program that integrates instruction in human rights and social determinants of health, opportunities for mentorship, and applied advocacy experiences through direct lobbying and research projects. 

The School of Medicine’s Department of Family Medicine is the proud home of Washington’s Area Health Education Center (AHEC). The District of Columbia AHEC is committed to addressing the need to increase diversity in health care professions and to improve primary care workforce distribution in underserved areas. 


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