Doctor of Nursing Practice Alumnae Begin New Non-Profit to Support DNPs of Color
May 11, 2020 – Two Georgetown University nursing graduates have been working on the launch of DNPs of Color (DOC), a new non-profit organization.
Dr. Danielle McCamey (MS – Nursing 2011, DNP 2017) is the organization’s founder, president, and CEO, and Dr. Jenna Benyounes (MS – Nursing 2010, DNP 2017) is a member of the board of directors. (Visit the organization’s website.)
The 501c3’s “mission is to increase diversity in doctoral studies, clinical practice, and leadership for nurses,” according to the organization, which noted that the doctor of nursing practice degree “is the highest level of education a nurse can attain which focuses on clinical practice.”
Before receiving her DNP at Georgetown, Benyounes graduated from the master’s-level Nurse-Midwifery/Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner Program. McCamey, also a double Georgetown alumna, completed the master’s-level Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Program.
The organization plans to create virtual communities to support nurses of color who are working toward or have completed the doctoral degree. Leadership is planning celebrations and conferences, a speaker series, mentoring and networking, and nursing school collaborations.
“Statistically, doctorally prepared nurses of color are vastly underrepresented in clinical practice, academia, and leadership,” said McCamey. “Communities of color are disproportionately affected by many health care issues, such as the current COVID-19 crisis. One of the many reasons for these disparities is the lack of diverse health care professionals. With DOC, we intend to create supportive environments that will help inspire, empower, and transform the landscape of nursing to include more diversity in the practice that will ultimately increase positive patient-provider relationships, patient satisfaction and health care outcomes.”
McCamey said the idea grew from her personal experience of seeking mentors while in school and then listening to and learning from other students, via social media networking, who shared similar stories.
“DNPs of Color was created to provide a community that can support students and newly ‘minted’ [graduates], and ultimately help increase diversity in doctoral studies,” she said. “We seek to inspire, empower, and transform the landscape of nursing practice, academia, and health care outcomes in our communities.”
Promoting Health Equity
Benyounes, also an adjunct instructor at Georgetown, said she valued many aspects of her doctoral education, including learning how to look at complex issues from a systems-level perspective.
Because of that, she, McCamey, and others had substantive conversations “about how the lack of representation in health care was a major contributor to the poor health care outcomes we have in our country, especially in people of color,” Benyounes said.
A primary goal of their work is to increase and support diversity in the educational space to then do the same in the health fields, from administration and clinical care, to public health and policy, she added.
“Knowing someone else has been there and done it, knowing someone has your back, knowing someone can be that light at the end of the tunnel while in your studies can be inspiring and the support a student needs to succeed,” she said.