George Mason University
George Mason University Mason
George Mason University

Welcome to the 2019-2020 Academic Year

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

The new academic year is upon us and it promises to be an exciting one.  Faculty, staff, alumni, board members, and partners have all been engaged in helping us advance our mission to promote health while eliminating disparities. Please find a few highlights of our accomplishments this past academic year.  Stay tuned for more details to come in our 2019 annual report, due out in early October.

  • We finalized our mission, vision, strategic goals, and core values laying the groundwork for the College’s strategic plan.  Our College is positioned to support Mason’s goals while charting our path forward… imparting our legacy at Mason.  We will be checking our progression and likely making slight adjustments along the way.  A few examples of our strategic alignment and path forward:

o  Mason’s SMART Growth- our student enrollment continues to increase as we welcome 575 new undergraduate student and 442 new graduate students this fall.  This is our largest incoming class of graduate and undergraduate students in five years.  While undergraduate enrollment has remained consistent, graduate enrollment has increased by 18% since 2017 - due in part to the 277 students now enrolled in our online graduate programs. To support our student body, we welcome the arrival of new faculty and staff in 2019 with more recruitments underway.  (Thanks to the many search committee members.)

o   Accessible Pathways- we created new online degree programs offered through the Wiley-Mason partnership.  Our MSW degree will go online this fall and our MSN degree will begin in the Spring.  Currently, our College has 4 online degrees through this initiative.  We are looking to launch the online MPH degree with specific concentrations in epidemiology and health informatics in the coming year.

o   Career-Ready Workforce - we recently completed SCHEV applications for the new Ph.D. in public health with concentrations in epidemiology and behavioral and social sciences, and are working on the B.S. in nutrition.  Also, progress has been made in working to develop our forthcoming R.D. nutrition degree following approval of our demonstration program by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics.  Other degrees are in the planning stage.

o   Student-Centered- we continually work in support of Mason’s tenet that students come first.  In so doing, we are ensuring the nursing simulation labs are fully operational and preparing our students for clinical care and making our virtual autopsy table – the Anatomage– accessible to all students so they may perfect their understanding of anatomy.  Demonstrations of this resource for all students in the College is forthcoming.  As importantly, students are now serving on just about all College committees, including our Advisory Board, to ensure their voice is heard.

  • Population Health Center - charting our future included the completion and opening of our Population Health Center, which will deliver interprofessional care, research of consequence and interdisciplinary professional development.  Students will enjoy experiential learning opportunities in clinical care, research and professional development through innovative (under)graduate courses that are being designed to foster core competencies in each of these areas.  The Population Health Center will be the site of our 10th Mason and Partners (MAP) Clinic, the Northern Virginia AHEC, and the Mason: Health Starts Here student cohort study, among many other inaugural initiatives.  All faculty are encouraged to visit the Population Health Center and consider how their expertise can help advance its mission.  Directed tours will be available after the luncheon on August 22nd.
  • Research Funding- our extramural research funding portfolio continues to grow—reaching $5.7 million in research expenditures in 2019— with several new awards made this past year along with newly awarded training and curricular grants.  Funding has been obtained for research, curricular development and training.  Other grant applications have been submitted or are being developed. See a full list of grants and contracts awarded in FY2019.
  • Visibility for Our Achievements- we have made tremendous progress telling our story, both visually and with words.  We are finalizing College-level messaging and are working with a designer to build a visual identity to make compelling resources available to all.  We are now represented in communication committees across the University,The George has highlighted a number of our faculty and students, we have developed materials to support the undergraduate admissions cycle, and regularly distribute press releases featuring our research. Our video library is available on YouTube, so feel free to share or include them in your signature chain.
  • Advisory Board Engagement- the College’s Advisory Board said goodbye to one member (Irene Evan Williford, Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer at Reston Hospital Center) and welcomed three new members:  Eleanor Dehoney, Vice President of Policy and Advocacy at Research! America; Karen Remley, Senior Fellow at the de Beaumont Foundation; and Tonga Turner, Director of the Kaiser Permanente Community Health Division.  The Board provides external perspective and guidance for pressing matters affecting the College and Mason, more globally. Check out their video on why they serve.
  • Development Successes- our advancement portfolio continues its positive trajectory raising $1.2 million from 511 donors (30% increase) as compared to 393 donors the previous year.   And, of the 143 gifts made on Giving Day, over 70% came from our faculty and staff setting a new College record.  A number of new donors have come into the College, and we are working to get our story out as we continue to seek donor support for our academics, faculty, research, and scholarships.  Thanks to all who have supported the College with a gift.

Collectively, our past and continuing efforts are bringing health to Mason and making it visible for all to see.  There is much work left to be done as we are all reminded daily about the many threats to the public’s health and the need for creative solutions to lingering problems.  I call upon each of you to help advance and deliver on our mission for the many communities we serve.  Thank you for all you do, and here’s to the next set of opportunities for the College and beyond.  Send me your thoughts


Germaine M. Buck Louis, Ph.D., M.S.

Professor and Dean

Schools & Programs