Georgetown University President John DeGioia announced on Dec. 7 the School of Nursing and Health Studies (NHS) will be split into two different schools, the Georgetown School of Nursing (GSN) and the Georgetown School of Health (GSH). In a university-wide announcement, DeGioia indicated that this division will be formally implemented by July 2022.
The NHS is currently home to all of Georgetown’s health science programs: Global Health, Healthcare Management & Policy, Human Science, and Nursing. DeGioia’s letter stated that the creation of these two distinct schools will allow for new potential to be unlocked in these disciplines as Georgetown continues to expand its commitment to health sciences.
The need for two schools was identified by the Health and Health Sciences Initiative (HSSI) established in 2019. Led by School of Medicine Dean Edward Healton and university Vice President Geoff Chatas, HSSI exists to identify the future direction of Georgetown’s health science programs.
Through conversations with NHS faculty and staff, the HSSI identified that the creation of two distinct schools would be an integral part of the nursing and health programs’ futures. “We recognized our ambitions for research and education in nursing and health could be strengthened by the creation of two distinct schools, providing space for growth within the focal point of each school, while fostering interdisciplinary cross-school collaboration.”
In a letter to the Georgetown medical community, Healton stated that a lot of the HSSI’s planning of the GSN and GSH has centered around the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Our health and health care challenges here at home and around the world have been laid bare. Sustainable solutions will not come from any one discipline or any one approach, but from a meaningful, collaborative and interdisciplinary effort,” he wrote. The framework for developing each school will be similar.”
The university administration has released few concrete details about the GSN and GSH, and Healton noted that there is much planning still to be done before the launch of the two separate schools.
The GSN plans to begin its search for a dean in the coming weeks, according to Healton. Future GSN faculty have been meeting regularly to identify areas of growth and opportunity within the nursing program at Georgetown. Meanwhile, the GSH plans to its their search for a dean after a comprehensive planning process to define the school’s mission has occurred. This process will be led by interim dean of the NHS, Carole Roan Gresenz, and senior advisor to the President John Monahan.
According to DeGioia, the separation of the NHS is indicative of Georgetown’s long-standing dedication to the health sciences.
“Our commitment to health—to improving the human condition—is integral to our mission as a Catholic and Jesuit institution.”