At Xavier, we are celebrating both Black History Month and Women’s History Month with a special member of the Xavier faculty, Dr. Leahnata Davies, Associate Professor of Public Health and coordinator of the university’s nursing and public health programs.

A career steeped in patient care and education

For the past 20 years, Dr. Davies has dedicated her life to the field of nursing, where she has cared for patients and furthered her education—earning her Master of Science in Public Health and Doctorate in Philosophy in Health Administration. “I found myself wanting to provide deeper and more personal care as a facilitator of learning and growth to other nurses and healthcare professionals,” said Dr. Davies. She explained that her passion for strengthening and improving the public health system—locally, nationally and globally—is the driving force that drew her back to the classroom. In 2021, Dr. Davies joined the faculty at Xavier, where she teaches courses in nursing and coordinates nursing and community health programs. “My desire to teach is two-fold,” she explained. “I am committed to improving care for patients, but I also want to continue sharing my love of learning and my passion for addressing the needs of the community and the healthcare system.”

Making her mark at Xavier

In a very short period of time, Dr. Davies has made her mark at the university as well as in the community. “I genuinely believe that effective teaching seeks to change society in substantive ways,” she said. “Good teachers can awaken students to the values and ideologies embedded in texts and standard practices within their discipline.” She further explained that by preparing and developing the very people who will be active participants within the healthcare system brings her one step closer to her goal: The improvement of not only healthcare programs but patient outcomes.

Dr. Davies’ work is making an impact—not only in the classroom but beyond Xavier’s walls as well. Over the past two years, she has spearheaded numerous health fairs and community projects that target various specialties which include OBGYN, pediatric and geriatric populations. “I am passionate about serving the community,” she stated. “Working with students on health fairs and community projects is how I fulfill my passion.” This year, she is working closely with the Dean of Student Affairs to plan four health fairs and a suture workshop. Dr. Davies was excited to share the news of how Xavier was able to provide an IV certification course for local nurses in Aruba—a significant milestone for the community—thanks to the support of Dr. Dubey, Chief Academic Officer.

Her Perspective on Black History Month and Women’s History Month

As a black woman, Dr. Davies reflects on her journey, the challenges she overcame, and what it took to get to where she is today.

“I was born and raised in Sierra Leone, Africa, and moved to the U.S. almost 30 years ago. Moving to the states at a young age, I found it very challenging to be understood. Even more challenging was balancing work and earning my secondary degrees—all while being a single mom.” As a professor and mentor, she said the best advice she would give to any young woman is for her to be true to herself. This is especially true for young women from underrepresented communities who want to pursue careers in medicine. “It’s so important to be the best version of yourself,” stated Dr. Davies. “The world has come a long way, yet there is still so much improvement that needs to be made when it comes to supporting and empowering women from diverse backgrounds.”

With diversity being a topic that is top of mind today, Dr. Davies said she loves that Xavier has students from about 20 different countries. “It’s fulfilling to know that I’m a part of an organization that is shaping future physicians and understands the importance of cultural diversity.”

When asked how she instills confidence and self-worth in her female students, Dr. Davies replied: “I use myself as an example. If I can make it, anyone can. The key is to stay focused and motivated.”

Interested in a career in medicine? Learn about Xavier’s system-based curriculum and new scholarship opportunities today.