FSU College of Nursing professor to address Biden-Harris administration on health equity and community engagement

Eugenia Millender, associate professor in the FSU College of Nursing and founding co-director of the Center of Population Sciences for Health Equity. (FSU College of Nursing)

A faculty member from the Florida State University College of Nursing has been invited to address officials from the administration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris about health equity and community engagement in Florida.

Eugenia Millender, associate professor at the College of Nursing and co-founder and co-director of the Center of Population Sciences for Health Equity, will advocate for policies that promote health equity and access during a Wednesday, May 11, Zoom meeting.

Millender received her invitation from the White House Office of Public Engagement, which creates and coordinates dialogue between U.S. citizens and the Biden-Harris administration.

“There is power in people working together to address historical and contemporary injustices to achieve excellence in health and health care,” said Jing Wang, dean of the College of Nursing. “We are honored to have the brilliant leadership of Dr. Millender on our faculty and am excited for what her years of experience and expertise engaging with communities in Florida and abroad as a clinician and scientist will bring to the administration’s priorities on eliminating preventable health disparities and promoting equity and access to all.”

With decades of experience in nursing, public health research and leadership positions on national boards, Millender has dedicated her career to increasing access to health equity and providing culturally appropriate care.

“It is exciting to see that our nation’s leaders are placing a priority in engaging community-based clinical scholars to advocate for policies to promote health equity and access,” Millender said. “As an indigenous Afro-Latina nurse scientist, this platform will allow me to inform the White House on actionable health-related issues impacting our communities and the importance of community-based research that gives back to our communities today, not 10 years from now.”

Millender’s research explores how socio-cultural stressors and trauma influence transgenerational psychological and co-occurring physical illness through gene-environment interaction among vulnerable, underserved and marginalized populations.

She works with community-based organizations to foster partnerships, meaningful investigations and interventions for diverse communities.

“We all believe that Eugenia will deliver,” said Frankie Wong, McKenzie Endowed Professor of Health Equity Research in the College of Nursing and founding director of the Center of Population Sciences for Health Equity. “She is like the tide who can lift the boat for many people with little or no voice. I am proud of her achievements.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the onset of the COVID pandemic, political unrest and other factors magnified pre-existing systemic and socioeconomic racial inequalities and policies.

The COVID crisis alone exposed inequities in the U.S. health care system that will continue to disproportionately affect people of color without actionable efforts to dismantle racist and discriminatory policies and practices in health care and elsewhere, according to the CDC.

The Florida State University College of Nursing (CON) educates clinicians, leaders, scholars, and advanced practitioners who can enhance the quality of life for people of all cultures, economic levels, and geographic locations. Centers, Institutes and Labs within CON provide a framework for research and scholarly activities. Currently, CON houses three nursing research centers, a Digital Health Lab, and is the prime awardee for the 14.5 million Florida First National Institutes of Health U54 Grant to increase diversity in health research. For more information on the Center of Population Sciences for Health Equity, call 850-644-3296 or visit, nursing.fsu.edu.

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