George Washington University Announces Fitzhugh Mullan Institute for Health Workforce Equity

WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 11, 2019) – The George Washington University (GW) today announced the renaming of the GW Health Workforce Institute to the Fitzhugh Mullan Institute for Health Workforce Equity. The action was taken to honor Fitzhugh Mullan, MD, a professor of health policy and management at the GW Milken Institute School of Public Health (Milken Institute SPH), and his lifelong commitment to social justice, health equity and health workforce policies. Patricia Pittman, PhD, a professor of health policy and management at the Milken Institute SPH, was named director of the newly named Institute.

“We are thrilled to rename this Institute to honor Dr. Mullan for his dedication to building a stronger, more diverse health workforce in the United States and around the world,” said Lynn Goldman, MD, MPH, the Michael and Lori Milken Dean of Milken Institute SPH. “The Fitzhugh Mullan Institute for Health Workforce Equity will accelerate the work already underway that positions GW as a leader in the field of health equity and health workforce policies.”

Dr. Mullan, who is also a professor of pediatrics at the GW School of Medicine & Health Sciences, joined GW in 1998, and in 2015, he founded the GW Health Workforce Institute along with Dr. Pittman. The Institute was created to further research and education in health workforce equity and houses two fellowship programs (the Atlantic Fellows for Health Equity and the Residency Fellowship in Health Policy) that demonstrate Dr. Mullan’s role as an inspiring mentor, teacher and leader to scores of physicians and public health professionals. It is also the home of the Beyond Flexner Alliance, a national movement to promote social mission in health profession education founded by Dr. Mullan.

The Institute is housed in the Department of Health Policy and Management at Milken Institute SPH but draws on resources from throughout the nation’s capital as well as from GW’s diverse and distinguished faculty, including the Schools of Nursing, Medicine & Health Sciences, Business, Education and Human Development, and the Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration.

Under Dr. Mullan and Dr. Pittman’s leadership, the Institute has conducted novel research in innovative uses of health workers, measuring social mission in health professions education, diversity in admissions to health professions schools, the impact of the National Health Service Corps, and social mission in nursing education.

“A diverse and well-trained health workforce that can contribute to health disparity reduction is a major goal of the Institute,” said Dr. Mullan. “It is the work of the Institute to help build a health system that is not only better than it was in the past, but one that is also fairer.”

A pediatrician by training, Dr. Mullan’s 50-year career includes time as a civil rights worker, National Health Services Corps physician, federal administrator, assistant Surgeon General and senior advisor to Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, a writer and a researcher. At age 32, in the midst of his public service career, he developed cancer and underwent surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. He wrote a book about his experience at that time and founded the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship, which still serves as the leading voice for cancer survivors.

The Institute is home to the Atlantic Fellows for Health Equity, a program that trains early/mid-career health professionals in areas such as the social determinants of health and community organizing – with the goal of helping them build healthier communities. The 10-year program was funded with an initial $6 million award from the Atlantic Philanthropies. In 2018, Atlantic Philanthropies committed another $18 million to expand and extend the fellowship. 

“Fitzhugh Mullan is a leading force for health equity who has always put humanity at the heart of healthcare. We’re honored to support the Fitzhugh Mullan Institute for Health Workforce Equity and its work to develop the next generations dedicated to ensuring people around the world have a fair chance at a healthy life,” said Christopher G. Oechsli, President and CEO, The Atlantic Philanthropies. 

Learn more about the Fitzhugh Mullan Institute for Health Workforce Equity.