John Monahan Appointed Interim Dean of School of Nursing & Health Studies

John Monahan
Beginning September 27, John T. Monahan, JD, will serve as the interim dean of the School of Nursing & Health Studies for the 2021-2022 academic year.

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(September 21, 2021) — A health and social services law expert whose career has focused on complex government programs that serve vulnerable populations in the United States and internationally has been appointed interim dean of the School of Nursing & Health Studies (NHS), Georgetown President John J. DeGioia announced today.

Beginning September 27, John T. Monahan, JD (C’83, L’87), will serve as the interim dean of NHS for the 2021-2022 academic year, the day after Carole Roan Gresenz, PhD, who served as interim dean for two years, concludes her service.

Monahan, senior advisor for global health at Georgetown, holds appointments as a professor of medicine in the School of Medicine, senior lecturer at Georgetown Law and senior fellow in the McCourt School of Public Policy. He began his work with Georgetown more than two decades ago. 

“Throughout his career, Professor Monahan has demonstrated a deep commitment to public service, to education and interdisciplinary collaboration to improve health for those most vulnerable in our world,” DeGioia wrote in announcing Monahan’s appointment.

“He is a collaborative and humble leader who welcomes the input of those he serves and serves with,” said Edward B. Healton, MD, MPH, Executive Vice President for Health Sciences, in a letter to the medical center community.

‘Time of Transition’ 

Monahan described the opportunity to lead NHS as a “great honor.”

“I am eager to work with each of you as we jointly sustain and advance NHS’s vital missions of education, practice, research and service while navigating an important time of transition for our school, our faculty, our staff and our students,” Monahan wrote to the faculty and staff at the school.

In late 2020, President DeGioia announced the launch of a School of Health and a School of Nursing on the medical center campus next year.

The schools will build upon the foundation of the current NHS tradition of nursing education that started at Georgetown in 1903, while broadening into other health disciplines built over the past two decades.

“As you know, robust planning processes are underway for both schools,” Monahan continued in his letter. “There is much work to do to ensure a smooth and effective transition from NHS to the two new schools. I will welcome your advice, guidance and support as we all contribute to the successful planned launches of the new schools next year.”

Monahan has tapped Jennifer Hayes Klosteridis, PhD, to join the NHS leadership team as a senior advisor. She brings a broad portfolio of experience in academia and nursing education. He also announced that renowned nurse and health policy leader Mary Wakefield, PhD, RN, FAAN, has renewed her appointment as a Visiting Distinguished Professor at NHS and will also serve as an advisor.

Legal Scholar Focused on Health

With decades of experience in public service, Monahan has held multiple executive appointments across three different presidential administrations.

While in several leadership roles within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), he focused on the design, implementation and oversight of federal programs such as Medicaid, as well as improvements to the overall impact and delivery of health policies and services at national, state and local levels.

“[John will] bring this vast experience and skill in managing and navigating complex organizations to NHS during this critical time of transformation,” said Healton.

Moreover, Monahan has deep experience working on global health issues, coordinating U.S. efforts on global health security and policy. He served as director of the Office of Global Health Affairs at HHS from 2009-2010, during the H1N1 influenza pandemic, and as Special Advisor for Global Health Partnerships at the U.S. Department of State from 2010-2014, in support of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. 

In addition to his ongoing teaching at Georgetown Law, he has also taught courses at NHS and the School of Foreign Service. Monahan was the founding executive director of the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law, established in 2007, and has co-led the university-wide Global Health Initiative since its launch in 2017.

Mission, Vision and Values

“During his time at Georgetown, he has demonstrated a strong commitment to building partnerships, to fostering new interdisciplinary collaborations and to facilitating conversations about how we can build and expand on existing strengths at the university,” DeGioia wrote. 

Healton added, “Given John’s reputation and experience in public service and academia, his selection as interim dean further underscores the university’s commitment to this final academic year at NHS and to the planning for the new schools.”

“On a personal note, NHS’s mission, vision and values resonate strongly with me, especially the underlying commitment to social justice through the education of our students; research that changes practice and policy; and service to our local, national, and global communities,” Monahan says, adding that social justice would continue to be a guiding principle in his new role.

‘Profound Appreciation’

“As we extend a warm welcome to John, I’d also like to express my profound appreciation to Carole,” Healton said in his letter. “When she agreed to pause her research to lead NHS, none of us had any idea how remarkably challenging higher education — or life — would become. Throughout the pandemic, Carole led NHS with authority and confidence when the unknowns often felt so overwhelming. Simply put, she is one of the most impressive leaders I’ve worked with.”

Gresenz will continue her research as a health economist as she returns to her faculty position as a tenured full professor in the school’s Department of Health Systems Administration, where she holds the Bette Jacobs Endowed Professorship.

Monahan concluded, “I have come to know Carole through our work together on planning for the new School of Health, and I remain deeply grateful for her friendship, wisdom and guidance.”