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.