Elizabeth Downes named professor and MSN program director

Woodruff Health Sciences Center | June 22, 2017

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Elizabeth Downes

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Elizabeth Downes, DNP, MPH, has been appointed clinical professor of nursing and named program director for the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program at Emory's Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing. In her role as program director, she will provide leadership for the school's MSN program and will work with faculty and School of Nursing leadership to ensure excellence in preparing highly-skilled professional nurses for advanced practice nursing roles.

"Dr. Downes brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in designing and implementing student-centered learning programs both domestically and abroad," said Linda McCauley, PhD, RN, dean and professor of the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing. "As chair of the Curriculum Committee she brings deep understanding of school's educational needs, objectives, and requirements and a commitment to continuous improvement that will serve her well in her new role as MSN program director."

Downes has served on the School of Nursing's faculty since September 2002, and previously served as specialty coordinator for the Family Nurse Practitioner/Nurse-Midwifery dual specialty program. Her experience in international and public health nursing spans more than 25 years. As a returned Peace Corps volunteer, she worked to understand first-hand the needs and challenges of providing quality health care in resource-poor countries and has dedicated her career to developing sustainable educational strategies to support the expansion of highly-skilled Advance Practice Nursing (APN) workforces at home and abroad.

Her expertise in educational program development is internationally sought by such organizations as World Health Organization, USAID, the Department of State and the Carter Center, and has enhanced nursing clinical competency and capacity in more than a dozen countries, including Ethiopia, Fiji, Liberia, Mozambique, the Bahamas and Zimbabwe. The advanced practice nursing curriculum that she designed and implemented for the World Health Organization in the Western Pacific has created a sustainable domestic nursing workforce that can provide for population-specific needs of communities throughout the region. She has played a key role in the development of faculty continuing education and national curriculums for nursing schools in countries throughout Africa. Her textbook for educators, Educating Health Professionals in Low-Resource Countries, has shaped education and clinical training for health care professionals in many developing countries.

In addition to her work abroad, Downes leads many initiatives to improve health outcomes and access for vulnerable international communities within the United States, including refugees and migrant farmer workers. She is the graduate nursing lead for the Farmworker Family Health Program in Moultrie, Ga. that provides care for more than 600 farmworker families every year. She developed and leads the school's Coverdell Peace Corps Fellowship program and Emory's nursing-specific Complex Humanitarian Emergencies course that prepares nurses to assist in vulnerable countries destabilized by natural and man-made disasters.

Downes has been widely recognized for her work. She was recently named a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing, is a fellow of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners and the National League for Nursing's Academy of Nursing Education She also served on the International Council of Nurses' Advanced Practice Nursing Network Policy sub-committee.