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“We found the need was to go directly into the community. It wasn't enough to only do work in the hospital, we had to do more to help out within the field."

Dr. Erin Athey is a faculty member at the George Washington School of Nursing who works with students to create real-world experiences out in the community. Throughout her career, she has strived to provide equitable resources and quality care to individuals and families that need it the most. In doing so, she has brought her experience as a clinician and educator to Southeast DC where she has worked for the last decade to create a broader understanding of the social determinants of health.  

In 2016 Dr. Athey received the Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Change grant. With this award, she was able to strengthen her initiative of providing healthcare in ‘third spaces’ (places outside of home and workplace) and help shape her vision to create a program that bridged the gap. This initiative, co-created with her physician colleague became  MHI-STREET,  Mental Health Improvement through Studying, Teaching, Rebranding, Embedded Education, and Technology. The program sought to embed mental health education within the adult male population in Southeast DC’s barbershops. Their approach was specifically tailored towards a communal approach to learning in which community members and participants were trained through storytelling to convey their unique experiences. 

Dr. Athey has used this fieldwork as a model for the courses she teaches at George Washington University. As an educator within the school of nursing, and particularly with the community health course offered in GW’s accelerated nursing program, she has made a point to encourage her students to be more involved in community-engaged research. 

“To me, this type of teaching is almost always better in the field. So the best thing that I have found that I can do for students is to put them directly in these community settings  so that they can observe and learn directly from them (community members).” 

When asked about the importance of this approach, Dr. Athey states how typically health care courses focus on the clinical approach, which can limit students' perspectives in the field. By researching the community her students can see firsthand how individuals are being affected and how their work can help

Dr. Athey’s courses and experiences champion the importance of engaging directly with the community and innovating strategies that meet the most immediate needs. To learn more about Nashman Affiliated faculty click here.

Nadia Volchansky is a Professor in pedagogy, design thinking and activism and a known published researcher, an established designer, and a strategic problem solver. Check out her work with students designing a health clinic in Haiti.

We are thankful to have Dr. Volchansky as a member of the Nashman Affiliated faculty. Check out more of her and her students work at this link.

Learn more about how Nashman supports community engaged faculty here. If you are engaging students and the community in your course and want more information on getting your course designated by the Nashman Center click here.


Elizabeth Fisher is a professor of classical and ancient near eastern studies and former chair of the department at the George Washington University. We are proud of her community engaged scholarship contributions. Read her bio and learn about her School Without Walls work.

Learn more about how Nashman supports community engaged faculty here.

Dr. Lottie Baker, assistant professor in the Graduate School of Education and Human Development recently published her work on service-learning and language in a classroom. Her piece “From learner to teacher assistant: Community-based service-learning in a dual-language classroom” displays extensive community-engaged scholarship on the topic of effective service-learning. We are so proud of the community engaged scholarship of Dr. Baker. Check out more of her work at this link. Learn more about how Nashman supports community engaged faculty here. Want more information on getting your Community Engaged Scholarship course designated click here 

Dr. Leah Brooks, Associate Professor of Public Policy and Public Affairs, centers her research on the formation of urban spaces, the continuation of urban development, the health of urban communities, and how governmental change affects urban areas. Areas of Dr. Brooks' expertise include, but are not limited to public and urban economics and political economy. A community engaged scholar recently interviewed Dr. Brooks to learn more about her work.  ...continue reading "Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Leah Brooks"

There are “countless ways people associate with University and interact with this community. It is essential to have an obligation and to be good citizens in the surrounding community.”  ...continue reading "Faculty Spotlight: Professor Steven Roberts"

Academia too often focuses only on research, and community engaged scholarship allows people to rehumanize their fields and to consider the impact they could have in applying what they know, to the communities most in need in Washington, DC."

Professor Sangeeta Prasad, M.Ed, Psy.D., Nashman Center Affiliate Faculty and Adjunct Professor of Human Services and Social Justice, sat down to talk with us about her community engaged scholarship class, HSSJ 2170: Interpersonal relationships, which she has taught for the past four years. The class is a part of the Human Services and Social Justice department. It focuses on helping students better understand the dynamics of relationships, which they experience through the direct service they complete for the class. This semester, the class served with six different site partners, ranging from after-school programs to senior services.

Professor Prasad shared that she believes community-engaged scholarship is important because “Academia too often focuses only on research, and community engaged scholarship allows people to rehumanize their fields and to consider the impact they could have in applying what they know to the communities most in need in Washington, DC. In my sense, as somebody who moved here like many professors, we have a responsibility to the community in which we are living and to serve our students well… community engaged learning, I think forces us in a way to grow in our capacity to listen, to reflect, and to support our students.” ...continue reading "Spotlight on Community Engaged Faculty and Course HSSJ 2170 – Interpersonal Relationships with Nashman Affiliate Sangeeta Prasad"

Dr. Sara Hooshangi is saying goodbye to GW after ten years as the inaugural director of the Integrated Information, Science and Technology (IIST) bachelor’s degree program

Dr. Hooshangi has been a friend of the Nashman Center and a champion of community engaged scholarship in the STEM fields. We will miss you Sara - all our best to you.

For more information, link here for the announcement in the College of Professional Studies newsletter. 





An Interview with Dr. Lotrecchiano: “We need teams because we can’t solve problems alone. This brings diversity to the table to solve wicked problems.” 

Professor Lotrecchiano’s courses highlight the importance of diverse perspectives and revolutionize concepts of interdisciplinary collaboration. ...continue reading "Faculty Spotlight: Professor Lotrecchiano"

Professor Pulcini, a Professor of Nursing, was the Director of Community and Global Initiatives and served as the Chair of the Acute & Chronic Care Faculty Community. Maureen Albero, a Community Engaged Scholar at the Nashman Center, interviewed Professor Pulcini to learn more about her work. 

Professor Pulcini has been with GW for seven and a half years and has been expanding international opportunities for Nursing students. Professor Pulcini’s dedication to local and global public health manifests in her research and initiatives. Locally, from the PCORI Grant, Professor Pulcini has been able “to research asthma barriers in children with special needs.” The PCORI Grant also allowed Professor Pulcini and her collaborators to focus her research in Washington, DC, Iowa, and Washington State. In DC, Professor Pulcini worked with “nurses and parents in schools to create a community engaged design study that focused on children with special needs and asthma.” 

Professor Pulcini teaches and participates in a Community Health, a course at GW that is required for Nursing students. As a requirement in this course, students may go to either Haiti, Ecuador, Costa Rica, or Uganda for one week. In this one week, students are totally immersed in this community as they do 40-50 hours of service. Professor Pulcini asserts that “the goal in this course is for students to have a community health experience.” This one week abroad “satisfies a major portion of the clinical component of Community Health by providing healthcare, treatment, and education abroad.” Professor Pulcini noted that “Carol Lang, the current Director of Community and Global Initiatives, is working to expand the program to include Slovenia.” 

Professor Pulcini noted that in recent trips to “Uganda and Haiti, students worked with community workers to teach community members about hypertension.” In Haiti, “students worked with mothers and children susceptible to anemia and parasitic diseases.” Professor Pulcini found this work in Haiti to be very intriguing as community members asked the facutly, and students, “to teach the community at large about anemia in hopes to implement preventative measures.” To maintain these global partnerships, new students in Community Health and experienced faculty members visit the same sites each year. To note, Community Health is offered every semester.  

While students learn a tremendous amount about local and global public health from this experience, students also benefit in other less obvious ways. “After living in an under resourced part of the world,” Professor Pulcini has seen “students change the direction of their academic study, pursue higher degrees in public health, and work internationally.” When asked about her favorite student story, Professor Pulcini recounted a memorable student experience, “this student earned their doctorate in Global Health from Duke University and continued their post-doctorate fellowship at Harvard. Now, this student focuses their work on tuberculosis in South Africa.” From the student’s experience in Community Health, they were inspired to “center their career in International Health.” 

Professor Pulcini encourages all students to take a service learning course because “you will learn so much about the community and world.” 


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