Health equity expert Loretta Sweet Jemmott to present keynote at Rutgers School of Nursing Convocation

May 2, 2024

Loretta Sweet Jemmott (PhD, RN, FAAN), will present the keynote speech at the Rutgers University School of Nursing Convocation honoring the Class of 2024. The event, which celebrates the culmination of studies for close to 470 undergraduate and advanced degree students, will take place Wednesday, May 15 at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark.

Jemmott is the vice president for health equity at Drexel University and a professor at Drexel’s College of Nursing and Health Professions. She joined the leadership team at Drexel in 2015 after retiring from a successful 20-year tenure at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing. She is one of the nation’s foremost health promotion researchers in HIV/AIDS prevention with perhaps the most consistent track record of evidenced-based HIV risk-reduction interventions and over $150 million in federal funding. Aimed at increasing safer sex behaviors, these studies have not only demonstrated remarkable success in reducing HIV/STD risk-associated behaviors but have also reduced the incidence of sexually transmitted diseases.

Jemmott is a community engagement specialist, who has led efforts to promote health and wellness in West Philadelphia neighborhoods. She spearheaded Drexel’s community/civic engagement initiative, “We’re Here Because We Care: Building Healthy Communities Together.” Her work led to the creation of Drexel’s Community Wellness HUB, a place-based, community-driven health promotion partnership between Drexel and the residents of Mantua and Powelton Village residents. The HUB offers free health and wellness programming and disease prevention education, which includes screening, counseling, and referral services. Recently, Jemmott developed Drexel’s Lazarex Cancer Wellness HUB, designed to reduce cancer health disparities among impoverished, vulnerable West Philadelphia community residents. Dr. Jemmott’s health equity and social justice work gives voice to the voiceless and hope to the hopeless.

Jemmott is an outstanding translational researcher, who has had a global impact. She has partnered with community-based organizations, including churches, clinics, barbershops, and schools, and transformed her NIH-funded, evidenced-based research outcomes for use in real-world settings. To date, nine of her evidenced-based HIV/STD and pregnancy prevention curricula have been designated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Office of Adolescent Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for national and international dissemination. At least 45 states nationwide (including Alaska, the Virgin Islands, and Hawaii) are incorporating one of her nine curricula in their schools, clinics, churches, or community-based agency programs.

Jemmott’s research has changed public policy as it relates to the use of theory-driven, culturally appropriate, evidence-based HIV/STD risk reduction interventions in community and clinical settings. She has presented her research to the U.S. Congress and received many prestigious awards, including the U.S. Congressional Merit Award, She is an elected member of the Institute of Medicine and a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing.

She earned her BSN from Hampton University. She earned her MSN in psychiatric mental health nursing and PhD in Education from the University of Pennsylvania.