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Karen R. Dawn Faculty Member


Dr. Dawn is an Assistant Professor in the School of Nursing at George Washington University, teaching in the Accelerated Bachelor of Science (ABSN) program and the RN to BSN program. She has 40 years nursing experience in community and public health, primary care- particularly diabetes management, chronic disease prevention, and health promotion. She has created hundreds of creative health education tools to assist people with chronic disease prevention and management. Her clinical specialties include diabetes education and research, health promotion, disease prevention, global and public health, and intensive diabetes management. She is a Certified Diabetes Educator and Public Health Clinical Nurse Specialist. Dr. Dawn received her DNP from the University of Virginia in 2014. She has extensive experience working with undergraduate nursing students in community settings, including international trips to Haiti and Uganda, public health departments, community service boards, low income housing, free clinics, homeless shelters, and summer camps with under-resourced populations, environment protection, senior centers, public schools, home health, hospice, vaccine centers, MRCs, school nursing, and primary care settings. In 2018, she was awarded the GWU SON Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award. She is the coordinator for the ABSN community clinical experience, which includes 90 direct hours in the clinical setting each semester, recently reduced to 45 clinical hours a semester per student. She manages the 12 faculty who supervise the students in the community clinical setting. This management involves monthly meetings via webex, organizing and evaluating all student’s progress and success in meeting the clinical objectives, and frequent meetings with the community partners to assess their needs and outline a plan for how the students can partner to meet the mutually developed community goals. Due to the pandemic, there was a pivot with many of our clinical partners, as outside agency workers has been discouraged. Developing new clinical opportunities for our community health students required creativity, excellent teamwork, and good investigative skills. Two new clinical opportunities this year include partnering with the MFAs primary care offices, the Calvary Women's Services gender violence center, and Well Connected - a virtual learning environment for English and Spanish speaking Medicare recipients. Our work continues with the GWU covid centers, which involve screening and immunizations, and the DC Housing Authority. These new partnerships have allowed our students to continue their work in the community, with a focus on mitigating the impact of the SARS-CoV2 virus on our local populations. She is currently co-coordinating the implementation of a Foundations in Nursing courses (2) with the GWU Governors School at Alexandria City (formerly TC Williams) High School. The Governor’s school is a partnership between GWU, the commonwealth of Virginia, and Alexandria High School. She has developed partnerships with over 40 community settings, where over 300 undergraduate nursing students a year experience community nursing. These clinical partnerships not only allow the ABSN students to work in a variety of community clinical settings, this partnership also improves the health of the communities we serve. She also teaches didactically in courses related to community / public health. She developed the new elective for both the ABSN and RN to BSN students – Disaster Management, NURS 4215. She incorporated new teaching styles geared towards the busy nursing student. She applied for a Community Engaged Scholarship Course through the Honey W. Nashman Center for Civic Engagement. The course was selected and is the first course in the School of Nursing that has been awarded this distinction. She continues to work closely with the Nashman Center to give updates and feedback on the course and its impact on the local community level. Dr. Dawn’s research interests include global and community health. She is the PI on a study evaluating the effects of Ugandan community health workers impact on chronic disease screening and management, although during the pandemic, this program is on hold. She was awarded a $5,000 grant from the Honey Nashman Center for a new program between the GWU SON and the DC Housing Authority. This award was paused due to numerous issues within the DCHA which is under new and fluctuating leadership. The funds will support a nurse’s office at two DCHA locations: the headquarters and one housing complex. This office will allow for health education and screenings for both employees and residents. She serves as a co-PI on one project that was awarded by a GWU covid funding grant. This study is assessing the knowledge and practice of telehealth in seniors living in ward 7 and 8 in Washington DC. She has had one scholarly national podium presentations this year. It involves the community health workers hypertension screening project she developed in Uganda’s Mukono district. She has co-authored several items this year, including a book chapter involving the photovoice project (publication post-poned from 2021). She has numerous co-authored publications which are partially completed. She applied for three grants this year, and one was successfully funded. She serves her community both locally, within both the SON and the larger GWU community, and outside the GWU community. Her service within the SON includes: the undergraduate curriculum committee, where she was elected chair-elect, and undergraduate clinical committee, an ad-hoc undergraduate curriculum revision committee, and the Diversity Council, where she has served as chairperson during 2021-22, bridging the committee through DEI deans. Her community work within GWU includes the pandemic task force, and the GWU Urban Affairs committee, where she serves on a subcommittee for the new Ward 8 GWU hospital, Cedar Hill. Her work outside GWU includes abstract reviewer for the Association of Community Health Nurse Educators (ACHNE), the social media committee for both ACHNE and the National RN-Baccalaureate Faculty Forum. She has volunteered with a local pharmacy and the GWU SON to administer covid vaccines to the public. She is an active volunteer in her community through political action work focusing on equity, social justice, climate solutions, and addressing homelessness. In addition to her work at GWU, she previously taught at George Mason University and the University of Virginia Schools of Nursing as an adjunct professor.

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