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Appointment of Loretta Sweet Jemmott

After a long and successful career at the University of Pennsylvania, Loretta Sweet Jemmott, PhD, will join Drexel's administration in a role to increase health equity in the University's neighborhoods.

What follows is a letter co-authored by Drexel President John A. Fry and the dean of the College of Nursing and Health Professions, Gloria F. Donnelly, PhD:

Dear Colleagues:

We are very pleased to inform you that Dr. Loretta Sweet Jemmott has been appointed vice president for health and health equity, Drexel University, and professor in the College of Nursing and Health Professions. She will assume these roles in September 2015. Dr. Jemmott has been a visiting professor and a member of the president’s cabinet as special advisor for community health equity since last fall. She is retiring from a long and successful tenure at the University of Pennsylvania to join Drexel full time.

Dr. Jemmott, an expert in health promotion research, is one of the nation's foremost investigators in the field of HIV/AIDS prevention, with perhaps the most consistent track record of evidence-based HIV risk-reduction interventions. The team she and her husband, Dr. John B. Jemmott III, lead at Penn has attracted more than $100 million in NIH funding over the past two decades to design and test interventions that reduce the risk of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases among diverse populations. Her studies have proved successful in reducing both risk-associated behaviors and the incidence of infection.

Dr. Jemmott is an outstanding translational and community-engagement researcher who has had global impact. She has partnered with community-based organizations, from churches and clinics to barbershops, housing developments and schools, and transformed her research outcomes for use in real world settings. To date, eight of her evidence-based interventions have been designated by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Department of Health and Human Services Office of Adolescent Health for national and international dissemination. Those interventions are used in 50 states across the nation and eight nations across the globe.

As vice president, Dr. Jemmott will focus on expanding health equity in the neighborhoods where Drexel is committed to working with residents and community leaders to improve the quality of life. She was born and raised in Mantua in West Philadelphia, and her work will be an outstanding complement to the extensive neighborhood partnerships Drexel has developed there, as well as the College of Nursing and Health Professions’ groundbreaking achievements through the Stephen and Sandra Sheller 11th Street Family Health Services of Drexel University in North Philadelphia. Dr. Jemmott will also be involved in community health improvement through the establishment of the Federal Promise Zone in West Philadelphia.

At the College of Nursing and Health Professions, Dr. Jemmott will work with researchers to build the college’s growing research portfolio in nursing and health professions research. As one of America’s leading translational researchers in health care, she is a natural fit for, and an outstanding addition to, Drexel’s research enterprise.

Please join us in welcoming Dr. Jemmott to Drexel full time. Her desire to join our University is a sign of our sustained excellence in health improvement research and civic engagement.


John A. Fry


Gloria F. Donnelly, PhD

Dean, College of Nursing and Health Professions