Jennifer Dohrn

Human Capital Development

Jennifer Dohrn

(USA) United States:  MidwifeNurse

Nominee Highlights:

Dr. Jennifer Dohrn, in partnership with the midwifery leadership of Dr. Ruth Lubic, initiated the first freestanding birthing centre to serve women with minimal access to perinatal services in urban cities in 1988. Over the next twenty-five years, Dr. Dohrn facilitated an increase in first-trimester enrollment to 90% within the first five years of the clinic’s opening in the Southwest Bronx neighbourhood of New York City. When the HIV epidemic entered the community in the early 1990s, Dr. Dohrn advocated for and helped change the protocol for HIV-positive pregnant women, allowing them to receive care at the Center. As Project Director of Global Nurse Capacity Building Program from its inception in May 2009 until October 2013, Dr. Dohrn built a team of nurses and midwives in 10 Sub-Saharan African countries to transform the capacity of the nursing workforce at the educational, clinical, regulatory, and policy levels, to meet the health demands of the HIV pandemic and strengthen health care systems for primary care.  She built relationships with multiple Ministries of Health to ensure the programme was sustainable within each nation’s strategic plans for human resources development. She was a consultant in the development and writing of WHO’s Strategic Directions for Nursing and Midwifery 2016-2020. She
currently works with nursing and midwifery educators globally to transform nursing education toachieve the goal of global health equity.

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Jennifer Dohrn, CNM, DNP, FAAN, is Associate Professor and Assistant Dean for Global Health at Columbia University School of Nursing. She serves as Director of the school’s Pan American Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) Collaborating Center for Advanced Practice Nursing. Dr. Dohrn has worked as a nurse educator and nurse midwife for more than three decades. As Director of Midwifery Services, she initiated the first freestanding maternity center in an inner-city in the United States in the Bronx, New York to address the rising rates of maternal mortality amongst women of colour. She has worked in Sub-Saharan African countries since 2003, helping to expand the role of nurses and midwives in primary and HIV care and the use of simulation learning in nursing curricula. Since assuming a leadership role in global health at the Columbia University School of Nursing, Dr. Dohrn has spearheaded the expansion of global clinical practicum experiences—growing the programme from four students in 2014 to nearly 80 in 2019. These students completed six-week clinical practice in 17 clinical sites in 15 different countries. In addition to her many contributions to HIV care and prevention, Dr. Dohrn is currently leading a study focused on the role of nurses and midwives in the Ebola pandemic in Liberia and Sierra Leone to recommend policy changes for pandemic response. She also serves as Principal Investigator for a study on the reproductive health needs of Syrian refugee women living in Jordan. Dr. Dohrn has had long-standing collaborations with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Consortium of Universities for Global Health, Global Alliance for Nursing and Midwifery, International Council of Nurses, International Confederation of Midwives, and WHO.

As an initial response to COVID-19, Dr. Dohrn initiated CUSON-Circles of Care with the purpose being to create a space to share daily experiences as a nurse or midwife at the frontlines to listen and acknowledge the daily challenges faced.  From the beginning of April to the present, she along with her team conducted 55 circles of care with over 550 participants. Nurses share their fears of lack of PPE, the escalating deaths of people who are alone and scared, their redeployment to units where they lack sufficient training, their concerns of infecting their families. These serve as a resource to prevent burn-out, find sustenance and energy from others, and minimize long-term mental trauma. She has also recorded oral histories of nurses on the frontlines of response in New York City as a way to give recognition and promote nursing leadership in policy development.