Former Director of DC Health, LaQuandra S. Nesbitt MD, MPH, Joins GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences to Lead New SMHS Center for Population Health Sciences and Health Equity

WASHINGTON (November 7, 2022) — The George Washington University (GW) School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS) is pleased to welcome LaQuandra S. Nesbitt, MD, MPH, immediate-past director of DC Health, to serve as the new executive director of the Center for Population Health Sciences and Health Equity. In this role, Nesbitt will oversee the academic medical enterprise’s research, education and community engagement programs to establish a premier academic center in applied population health research to address health inequities. 

As senior associate dean for population health sciences and health equity and professor of medicine, Nesbitt will be installed as the inaugural Bicentennial Endowed Professor of Medicine and Health Sciences, the first of nine endowed professorships established in SMHS by the University to further strengthen our academic medicine programs. 

“I am thrilled that Dr. Nesbitt will be joining our team. 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,” said Barbara L. Bass, MD, vice president for health affairs, Walter A. Bloedorn Chair of Administrative Medicine, dean of GW SMHS and CEO of the GW Medical Faculty Associates. “This response, coupled with her longstanding efficacy in leading health care delivery and public health programs in D.C., demonstrate her knowledge and skills as a nationally recognized health care leader. Dr. Nesbitt is the ideal leader to launch this timely new center within GW’s academic medical enterprise.”

In this role, Nesbitt will advance GW SMHS’ population health initiatives to improve the health and well-being of patients and communities served by the GW’s academic medical enterprise, with a focus on achieving health equity. She will oversee the development and implementation of three significant programs, including:

  • Strategic Partnerships. Nesbitt will lead the planning and implementation of the clinical, educational, and research programs at the Cedar Hill Regional Medical Center – GW Health.
     
  • Population Health Sciences and Health Equity. Nesbitt will oversee the development of an applied clinical research center on population health sciences and health equity, leveraging resources at the university.
     
  • The GW Clinical Public Health Program. Nesbitt, in partnership with Senior Associate Dean for Clinical Public Health Lawrence Deyton, MSPH, MD, will oversee the future expansion and application of the GW Clinical Public Health program at GW. With her leadership, the program will develop the next generation model of the clinical public and population health program at the SMHS as an educational, research, and community engagement platform. 

“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 Deyton

Nesbitt is a board-certified family physician with more than a decade of experience leading population health initiatives in governmental public health agencies. Most recently, she served as the director of DC Health and led the District’s COVID-19 pandemic response. In this role, she mobilized organizations and community to implement innovative solutions to promote health and wellness and achieve health equity. She also served as the interim director of the District’s Department of Behavioral Health. As a highly sought-after expert in population health and wellness, she has held leadership roles within major federal and local health care organizations, including the Centers for Disease Control, among others. 

She earned a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry from the University of Michigan, her Doctor of Medicine 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. 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.

“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,” said Nesbitt. “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.”

Nesbitt will start in her new role at GW SMHS in November 2022.