Forging Lasting Partnerships Through Community Engagement

Photo of Jehan El-Bayoumi
02/26/2019 17:08

Diversity in the health care workforce, continuing education for care providers and building partnerships with community stakeholders are the pillars on which healthy, resilient communities are built, according to Jehan El-Bayoumi, executive director of GW’s Rodham Institute.

Dr. El-Bayoumi gave the keynote address this winter at the first annual community partners engagement event.

Community partners from across the Washington, D.C., metro area, GW and local care providers came together to share their ideas and success stories for relationship-building initiatives at an event themed “It Takes a Community!” 

Hosted by GW Nursing, the event aimed to align the goals of our community partners and faculty to better serve the health and well-being of the Washington, D.C., community.

Dr. El-Bayoumi’s keynote address, “Working Together to Improve the Health and Well-Being of the DMV (District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia),” focused on the broad disparities between different parts of the city as well as some exemplars that have made strides in closing those gaps.

“We at the Rodham Institute like to present not just a problem but a solution,” said Dr. El-Bayoumi before introducing the institute’s three priorities in building health equity: community collaboration, education for health care providers and workforce diversity.

Dr. El-Bayoumi went on to say the model of community partnerships needs to change from one of top-down leadership with one group at the top—be it physicians, nurses or another stakeholder—to a wheel model with rotating leadership. GW Nursing practice and community partners in attendance, said the event provided invaluable learning opportunities.

“One of the things that really struck me was that diversity in the workforce,” said Charles Birdie, executive director of the Loudoun Free Clinic. “I’d like to see more minority physicians and health care personnel start to volunteer at the clinic, because I think it’s going to be better for everyone all around. I think the School of Nursing can help us with that.”

GW Nursing sends Bachelor of Science in Nursing students to the Loudoun Free Clinic for clinical assignments, and some students also volunteer there, Mr. Birdie said. The partnership has been beneficial for both the clinic and the school, he said. 

"I’m really glad GW Nursing put this together, and I’m glad to see it’s the first annual event," Mr. Birdie said. "I will certainly be back next year."