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Shawana S. Moore

As a young college student, Shawana S. Moore spent a winter break sitting by her mother’s side at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital. As her mother recovered from a serious illness, Moore took notice of the nurses who were there every day providing care and contributing to the healing of her loved one.

“That was my first direct observation of nurses and what they did. They provided not only the right (clinical) care, but education and counseling for both my mother and our family—from both a physical standpoint and an emotional and health literacy standpoint,” she says. “From then on, I pledged that I would become a nurse.”

She kept that promise in a spectacular way. 

After graduating from Wilberforce University, a historically Black university in Ohio, Moore returned home to New Jersey to pursue a second bachelor’s degree at Jefferson. She completed an accelerated program in one year; a year later, she earned her Master of Science in nursing at Jefferson and became certified as a women’s health nurse practitioner. In 2013, she received her Doctor of nursing practice, her third Jefferson degree.

Her mission as an educator, she says, is to instill in her students the importance of understanding the people and communities they serve and to teach them how to make a difference on a larger scale through advocacy and activism. 

Her upbringing in an underserved area, and the mentoring she received as an adolescent and young adult, fueled her dedication to education and mentorship. 

“Mentorship made a huge difference in my growth and development as an adolescent female,” she says. “I knew what mentorship had done for me, and I always wanted to be able to give back in that same capacity.”

Moore currently serves as associate professor and director of the Doctor of Nursing Practice Program at Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing at Emory University. In 2022, she assumed the role of chair of the National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women’s Health, becoming the first Black woman to hold the position, which lasts through December 31, 2024. 

“In order to contribute to overall positive change, nurse practitioners have to be involved in more than one arena because education, research, policy, and advocacy go hand in hand,” she says, adding that in the end, the goal is to impact society.