Interim Dean of the School of Nursing and Health Studies Patricia Cloonan was appointed as the school’s dean for a three-year term.
Executive Dean of the School of Medicine Dr. Edward Healton announced in an email to the Georgetown University Medical Center on May 19.
In the email, Healton said Cloonan has been a distinguished and vital member of the Georgetown community for over 20 years.
“Pat has provided exceptional leadership as the school enhanced current academic programs and launched new ones,” Healton wrote.
During her two-year tenure as interim dean, Cloonan led the development of the school’s strategic plan, which outlines its areas of focus for the coming years.
Following Healton’s email, Cloonan announced her new position as official dean in the school’s summer e-newsletter sent out to NHS students, faculty and alumni June 14. According to Cloonan, her appointment by University President John J. DeGioia was not announced in an email to the entire university because she was not a new addition to the Georgetown community.
“The nature of my appointment is a little different,” Cloonan said. “Since I had already been an interim dean, we made the decision that I would announce to the Medical Center because that’s organizationally where NHS lives. My colleagues on the main campus were all made aware as well.”
Going forward, Cloonan said the NHS is focusing on health equity in the Washington, D.C. area.
“We’re very focused on the D.C. community,” Cloonan said. “Our capacity to look at it from the pre-med, health administration, human science and global sides puts us in a unique place to develop programming with the community around this issue of improved health.”
According to Cloonan, the NHS is building upon its past efforts to draw greater attention to the issues facing those living in the broader D.C. community.
“In terms of our upcoming year, we really want to capitalize on the work we’ve done in a particular way,” Cloonan said. “The President’s Office asked our office to conduct a report assessing the health disparities of the District of Columbia. We’re organizing a variety of our internal activities, guest speakers, etc. around health equity.”
Cloonan said the strategic plan will also focus on experiential learning, including undergraduate research, studying abroad and community engagement. In particular, Cloonan highlighted the Discovery Center, a teaching and research laboratory established at the NHS in 2006.
“We want to continue to work to develop our experiential learning capacity,” Cloonan said. “Another addition we will focus on is strengthening our Discovery Center. We’ve worked on that over the past year, and I intend to continue to do that.”
Cloonan said she is optimistic about the future of her tenure in terms of what the NHS will achieve.
“We really anticipate a great couple of years,” Cloonan said. “We have lots of energy and a real focus with respect to the strategic plan that all the faculty and staff worked on together.”
Andrea Dressel (NHS ’19) expressed excitement about Cloonan’s continued leadership, highlighting the former interim dean’s efforts to connect with students on an individual level.
“She’s a great dean. It helps that the NHS is kind of a smaller school, so she is able to get to know all the students more personally,” Dressel said. “I remember the first time I talked to her was during NSO. I didn’t know at first she was the dean. When she spoke later at an event, I was surprised because she had been very interested in how move in went and made sure I felt welcome and comfortable.”
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