Category: Health Magazine, Winter 2024

Title:Helping people at their most vulnerable

Author: Karen Doss Bowman
Date Published: January 12, 2024
an African American woman wears a white medical coat and holds up a stethoscope
Danielle McCamey, DNP, CRNP, ACNP-BC, FCCP (G’11, G’17), created a nonprofit called DNPs of Color. Photo: Courtesy of Danielle McCamey

As the only Black woman in her doctor of nursing practice (DNP) cohort at Georgetown University, Danielle McCamey (G’11, G’17) often struggled with feelings of insecurity, lack of belonging, and anxiety. Wanting to connect with other DNPs of color, she created a Facebook group as a safe place where people in similar circumstances shared stories, exchanged ideas, found mentors, and networked.

The group grew dramatically, evolving into DNPs of Color (DOC), a nonprofit organization that became a 501(c)(3) in 2018 and officially launched in 2020. Its mission is to increase diversity in doctoral studies, clinical practice, and leadership for nurses. DOC provides networking, membership, and advocacy opportunities.

“Doctoral degrees aren’t as accessible to communities of color—you don’t find many folks with doctorates that identify as a person of color,” says McCamey, the assistant dean for strategic partnerships and an assistant professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing. “When you’re in these academic spaces alone, the dominant voices and perspectives can feel exclusive, even when it’s not intentional. DOC helps bolster the confidence and skills of its members, helping them realize the value they bring to the health care community.”

two people stand in front of a sign that says "DNPs of Color"
At the third annual conference in October 2023, participants gathered at the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, DC, to recognize game changers and trailblazers in nursing. Photos: Courtesy of Danielle McCamey

In addition to her academic career, McCamey practices in surgical critical care at MedStar Washington Hospital Center. A fellow in the American College of Chest Physicians, she serves as chair of the organization’s Palliative and End of Life Care Network because she’s passionate about quality of life as defined by patients and their families.

McCamey was inspired to pursue a nursing career by her mother, who worked as a home health care nurse. As a young child, McCamey often accompanied her mother on assignments, bringing along her own child-sized medical bag and plastic stethoscope.

“I really admired my mother’s ability to create a comforting presence and a comforting experience for her patients right in their own homes,” says McCamey. “The meticulous care that she provided was so fascinating for me, just seeing how nurses are part of people’s lives during their most vulnerable times. I wanted to contribute to that intimate fabric, to be a part of the evolution of care within patients’ lives— whether ushering them to health or comforting them during their transition to death. Being a part of those key moments in a person’s life and helping them and their families adjust, adapt, or overcome is definitely a special place that nursing holds, and no other profession has the honor to be part of.”

More Stories

a man and a woman with binoculars look for birds in bright autumn foliage

Photo: Lisa Helfert How nurse-bioethicist Christine Grady (N’74, G’93) and her husband, new faculty member Anthony Fauci, live their commitment to public service, health, and each other In May 2023,…

a group of people stands in

The world is facing a silent but growing public health crisis—a decline in mental health and well-being. People’s experiences of negative emotions, such as sadness, worry, stress, and anger, have…

three women sit on a couch and two women stand behind them

Co-authors of The Game Plan: A Woman’s Guide to Becoming a Doctor and Living a Life in Medicine: (seated, left to right) Jessica Osborn, M.D.; Leah Matthews, M.D., MPH; Angela C.B.