Campus & Community - Health
11th Street Health Center Welcomes New Director
A nurse specializing in psychiatry for more than 25 years, Roberta Waite has been named the as the new executive director of the Stephen and Sandra Sheller 11th Street Family Health Services Center.
Drexel University’s College of Nursing and Health Professions (CNHP) has appointed Roberta Waite, EdD, as the new executive director of the Stephen and Sandra Sheller 11th Street Family Health Services Center. She will also continue her role as assistant dean of academic and community integration.
A nurse specializing in psychiatry for more than 25 years, Waite has held clinical, academic, research and administrative roles throughout her career. No stranger to Drexel or the Center, Waite is poised to move 11th Street into the next phase of its development.
“The Center is unique because we focus on how we are optimizing a person’s health to enable him or her to thrive in life. Our goal is partnering with our patients to focus on what stimulates them,” Waite said. “Our health promotion programs are always developed in collaboration with our community voices, and we’re always evaluating these programs to be assured they align with our values and preferences of our community partners. It is a constant cycle of feedback and positive change.”
The nurse-led Center, located in North Philadelphia, has been recognized as a national model of innovative care by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, and the American Academy of Nursing. It serves residents of four public housing developments in the 11th Street corridor, providing primary care, behavioral health services, dental care and wellness programs to nearly 6,000 patients annually.
Waite first became involved with the Center in 2005, while conducting two pilot research studies focusing on depression in African American women as part of her research fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania. She was then appointed to the 11th Street Center as a research scientist, and subsequently earned promotion and tenure as an associate professor at Drexel University in 2010, and full professor in 2015. In her role, she built upon the Center’s mission of providing trauma-informed care to its patients, including replicating the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES) study.
“I am thrilled that Dr. Waite has assumed the executive director position. I am confident she will move forward the breakthrough model that Dr. Patricia Garrity helped to establish in new and very important ways,” said CNHP Dean Laura Gitlin, PhD. “The Stephen and Sandra Sheller 11th Street Family Health Services Center is a shining exemplar of interprofessional health care that is responsive to and aligned with the values and needs of the community it serves.”
Waite holds degrees from Widener University (BSN and EdD in higher education administration-leadership) and the University of Pennsylvania (MSN, adult psychiatric mental health nursing). She also completed a two-year post-doctoral research fellowship at Penn’s Center for Heath Disparities, focusing on vulnerable women, children and families. Waite is a Macy Faculty Scholar and a fellow in both the American Academy of Nursing and the Academy of Nursing Education.