Get to Know Dr. Nancy Reynolds, 2024 Global Health Week Keynote Speaker

Center for Global Health
March 05, 2024

Nancy R. Reynolds, Ph.D., MS, BSN, RN, is the associate dean of global affairs at the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing; director, Center for Global Initiatives. She is also the keynote speaker of the 2024 MUSC Global Health Week. She is also scheduled to deliver her keynote presentation at noon on Tuesday, April 9 in room BE 110 of the Bioengineering Auditorium on the Charleston MUSC campus. Click here to register to attend her presentation.

Get to know Dr. Reynolds in this exclusive Q&A about her career, here interests, and what attendees can expect from this year's keynote presenter. Nancy Reynolds, Ph.D., MS, BSN, RN headshot

1. How did you first become interested in about global health? What was the first project work that cemented global health as an area of passion in your life?

My area of research is HIV. When I began my work, HIV was primarily a domestic problem. As HIV spread elsewhere, many countries turned to HIV clinicians and researchers in the U.S. to assist with development of HIV clinical and research capacity. This led to my initial work in India, China and Ghana. HIV provides a prime example of infectious diseases knowing no national boundaries, but also of remarkable success in addressing HIV globally through cooperative, multisectoral efforts.

2. Reading your biography, I see some of where you’ve worked abroad, including Ghana and India, and some of the incredible organizations you’ve partnered with – what are one or two programs or projects that you are particularly proud of having been involved in or lead? What were their outcomes?

I am proud of my work in Ghana. I have been working on a project there for many years that is focused on the problem of children living with HIV not being told they have the diagnosis, even when they are in their teen years. The research has progressed from exploration of the problem with conduct of small, exploratory descriptive work, to large NIH-funded randomized controlled clinical trials testing an intervention. The research has demonstrated that a simple, context-appropriate intervention, integrated in routine clinical care significantly improves disclosure and clinical outcomes. I am currently PI of an NIH-funded implementation science trial with the intervention being scaled up in 12 clinics in Ghana. The work is a great example of the effectiveness of mutually respectful partnership with a multidisciplinary, multi-national team, a focus on development of a context sensitive intervention, ethical conduct and commitment to sustainability.

I am also proud of the research and capacity strengthening work I have conducted in India. Most recently this has involved a partnership with the Indian Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and the Institute of Health and Family Welfare to offer training in leadership in infection prevention and control. Nurses throughout India were involved in the trainings with a target of reaching 70,000 nurses. This multisectoral work is consistent with the recommendations of the WHO Strategic Directions for Nursing and Midwifery 2021-25 to maximize the contributions of nurses to better health outcomes through greater engagement in health system leadership.

I also deeply appreciate my work with the Yale China Association (YCA) in Hunan, China. The YCA views the U.S.—China relationship as an essential driver of cooperation, growth and peace in the 21st century. It seeks to strengthen cultural bridges and foster global citizenship through partnerships in education, health, and the arts. The YCA community has been promoting this vision through multisectoral collaboration for over 120 years. The sustained partnerships are characterized by deep cultural respect and mutuality.

3. Thank you for sharing your keynote presentation title – for those planning to attend the session, can you share some detail as to the focus and what attendees can expect to learn?

The Vulnerability of Health Care in Conflict Zones: The Role of the University -- This talk will focus on the challenges faced by health care systems in conflict zones, explore the role of universities in addressing health care vulnerabilities in conflict zones and ethical considerations involved in supporting health care in conflict settings.

4. MUSC has a considerable student population pursuing global health work spanning various colleges. What would you say to those who are just becoming interested in pursuing global health work? Why would you recommend it?

Global health is at the intersection of professions ranging from the health sciences and engineering to policy and international relations. Global health provides students and graduates with the opportunity to pursue work that can have a positive impact on the lives of others, especially the most vulnerable, on a national and international scale. Global health work offers the opportunity to address the social, cultural, economic and environmental factors that underlie health inequities we see across the globe.