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Volunteerism and Service award goes to University of the District of Columbia director



Jonas Nguh, RN, PhD, MSN, MHSA
Director of Nursing
University of the District of Columbia, Washington, D.C.

Some people use vacations to relax and unwind. But Nguh takes teams of students to remote areas — in Alaska, Kenya, Sudan and South Africa — to provide vaccines and supplies.

“I do a working vacation,” Nguh said, adding he likes to combine volunteering with time off. “I like to keep active.”

That activity earned him the Volunteerism and Service award June 12 at the DC/Maryland/Virginia gala.

The students are eager to learn how to provide care outside of hospitals, he said. Because of fundraising and federal government assistance, the students travel for about $200 each.

This summer, students are working with local hotels on a project to collect discarded soaps to take on the missions to improve hand hygiene, Nguh said.

During the school year, Nguh oversees 50 nursing faculty and teaches med/surg nursing. He has expanded the nursing education program from one to four campuses to serve more than 500 students a year in eight healthcare specializations — CNA, home health aide, phlebotomy, patient care tech, LPN, RN, community health worker and medical records.

Nguh, a 12-year nurse, secured funding in 2011 for more than $500,000 in scholarship money for low-income students, underserved regions of Washington, D.C., and underrepresented ethnic groups in healthcare so they could gain skills and find jobs. “The program has successfully placed over 600 DC residents into stable jobs where they can provide for themselves and make a contribution to the economy,” his nominator wrote.

In 2005, Nguh founded Community Leadership Inc., a business that promotes networking for women. “Coming from a family background of seven women and witnessing first-hand the disenfranchisement experienced by minority women, Nguh continues to be a tireless advocate for women, for civic leadership and for community service,” his nominator wrote.

He also has set up a nonprofit organization, Dove House Assisted Living in the Baltimore area, that provides assistance with daily healthcare needs for the elderly and people with developmental disabilities or cognitive impairments.

Nguh has received other accolades, including outstanding alumni of the year honors from Strayer University and a Washington Business Journal Diversity Award.

“I really love what I do,” he said.

Karen Long is a freelance writer.


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