WASHINGTON (February 2, 2024) – The George Washington University Institute for Racial, Ethnic and Socioeconomic Equity (Equity Institute) has named Dr. Wendy Ellis as its Director. The Equity Institute leverages the resources of a premier research university and invests in transformative community partnerships with the goal of eradicating racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic inequity worldwide.
Wendy Ellis is an assistant professor of global health, and director of the Center for Community Resilience (CCR) at GW’s Milken Institute School of Public Health. Ellis’s scholarship focuses on addressing the systemic inequities that promote and prolong social and health disparities between dominant and marginalized communities. Additionally, her expertise lies in behavioral health, children’s health, chronic disease, community health, federal and state legislation, law and policies, global health, health disparities, health policy, health services research, hospitals and health systems, maternal and child health, mental health, population health, prevention and public health preparedness.
Before joining GW, Ellis received her bachelor’s from Seattle University, her MPH from the University of Washington’s School of Public Health and earned a DrPH in Health Policy as an inaugural Milken Scholar at the Milken Institute School of Public Health at GW. In addition to her studies, her past work includes a 2022 documentary, “America’s Truth: Cincinnati,” which contributed to a municipal apology from the city itself.
Ellis said, “I’m so excited to work with colleagues from all disciplines here at GW and especially with our students, who are so eager to bite into this apple and apply what they learn in the classroom to develop solution to global issues of inequity.”
As director, Ellis will identify strategies to carry out the institute’s mission of creating actionable new knowledge and educating citizen leaders who are dedicated to the eradication of racial, ethnic and socioeconomic inequality in the United States and worldwide. She will be responsible for helping to identify the interdisciplinary research and community engagement, as well as shape the institute’s future direction and scope.
“Dr. Ellis is an outstanding choice to lead the Equity Institute because she is well known national and globally as a serious scholar who is gifted and dedicated to translating research into actionable systems change, and she is already an accomplished fundraiser—what a winning combination,” said Dayna Bowen Matthew, Dean and Harold H. Greene Professor of Law, GW Law; Faculty Director, Institute for Racial, Ethnic and Socioeconomic Equity.
“I am thrilled that Wendy Ellis will be leading the Equity Institute,” said Lynn R. Goldman, Dean of the GW Milken Institute School of Public Health. “As Director of the Center for Community Resilience, Dr. Ellis has forged deep relationships with vulnerable communities nationwide. Her leadership will position the Equity Institute as a trusted voice in the fight to address systemic racism and the need to close equity gaps.”
GW’s Equity Institute
The Equity Institute was founded in 2021 and officially chartered in 2023 as an interdisciplinary research institute in the heart of the nation’s capital. The work of the Equity Institute at GW leverages the resources of a premier research university, GW’s prominent faculty, energetic students, vast network of preeminent alumni, and location in Washington D.C. to produce transformative research, innovative pedagogy, and impactful policy that will help end racial, ethnic and economic inequality in the United States and the world. The Equity Institute will provide a global model for top research universities to partner with communities to convene top experts, publish action-oriented scholarship, and educated leaders dedicated to building a more just society.
The Equity Institute’s Five Activities are to support GW Researchers, Invest to Advance Racial and Socioeconomic Equity in Vulnerable Communities, Equip Students to Serve, Translate Interdisciplinary Research to Impactful Policy, and Implement Actionable Research.
GW’s Provost Christopher Alan Bracey has said that Ellis’s “mission-oriented, preeminent scholarship elevates the George Washington University’s global profile. She has already contributed significantly to the Equity Institute in her faculty capacity, and we are now very fortunate to benefit from her leadership and experience in the context of the director role. I look forward to working alongside her as she leads the institute in this next phase.”