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‘There’s so much more that I can be doing.’ Northeastern’s Valeria Ramdin receives the 2024 Excellence in Nursing Leadership Award

Beloved educator, researcher, mentor and DEI leader shares thoughts on her rich career and nurses’ contribution to health care. 

Headshot of Valeria Ramdin.
Ramdin, director of Global Health Nursing, was recognized by the New England Regional Black Nurses Association with the 2024 Excellence in Nursing Leadership Award. Photo by Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University

Valeria Ramdin is convinced that nurses have a lot to contribute to the U.S. health care system.

“They have a lot of leadership, policy, research angles that they are utilizing that are to be reckoned with,” says Ramdin, director of Global Health Nursing at Bouvé College of Health Sciences at Northeastern University.

Ramdin is constantly working to innovate around nursing care and care practices and to build bridges with other institutions toward improving patient care, says Amanda Choflet, dean of the School of Nursing.

“She is extremely devoted to the practice of nursing,” Choflet says. “She is the consummate nurse.”

The New England Regional Black Nurses Association recently recognized Ramdin with the 2024 Excellence in Nursing Leadership Award. 

Ramdin grew up in Barbados and came to Boston to work at a hospital that was recruiting nurses due to a nationwide shortage. 

With a nursing diploma in hand, she chose to attend Northeastern for her undergraduate degree, she says, because it allowed her to continue working full time.

In due time, Ramdin says, she started to be recognized at the hospital for her work.  

“I thought, ‘You know what, if I’m going to be a role model, and they’re telling me I’m a natural leader, I want to go back to school and do everything that I can,’” she says.

She received a master’s degree in science with specialization as a nurse practitioner from Northeastern in 1995. That led to a teaching opportunity — the School of Nursing asked her to teach a summer course on pathophysiology.

In 1998, while working in college health, she was invited back as a part-time adjunct faculty to teach nurse practitioner students.

Ramdin became a full-time faculty member at Northeastern in 2005, but continued her clinical work part time. From then on she had a lot of smaller leadership roles, she says. Four years later, she was appointed the assistant dean of the undergraduate program.

The rest was history, Ramdin says. She kept growing and looking for ways to be impactful and help move the School of Nursing forward no matter what role she was in.

She completed her doctor in philosophy in nursing degree in 2016. 

“Doctor Ramdin is a leader in the School of Nursing, regardless of the role that she inhabits at any given time,” Choflet says. “She’s had several different roles in the school, but she shows up to every meeting, every class, and every encounter serving as a leader in the profession and in the school.”

As the director of global health nursing, Ramdin works to create opportunities for both students and faculty to help them gain some perspective in nursing globally. That includes bringing international scholars to Northeastern, encouraging faculty to collaborate with scholars outside of the university in global settings and encouraging students to make use of the Dialogue of Civilizations program, which offers immersive global experiences led by Northeastern faculty.

She also developed embedded clinical programs for graduate nursing students.

Ramdin’s research projects included healthy aging and autonomy of older adults transitioning from their homes to assisted living facilities, and the association of vitamin D and chronic disease in the older adults with implication for the patient with pain.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Ramdin designed and implemented a new comprehensive health family pod model of care. 

“It includes webinars, instructions, interpreting test results [in] really layman’s terms and a lot of education and collaboration on healthy aging,” she says.

“She finds a way to balance a rigorous pursuit of science and clinical excellence with a deep caring for people,” Choflet says. “And right now, that’s her students.”

Ramdin has personally mentored many students into continuing with graduate degrees and doctoral programs, Choflet says, and into bigger and better careers. 

Cynthia Orofo, a doctoral degree candidate at the School of Nursing, says Ramdin not only taught her in the classroom but modeled the highest level of professionalism and encouraged her to expand her career vision and to pursue a doctorate degree. Ramdin found funding for Orofo to ensure finances were not a barrier for opportunities and supported her and her family through their personal challenges over the last nine years.

“She’s always available to students even when she truly may not be,” Orofo says. “She avails herself to help no matter the student’s major, background or level. She’s the first to help and last to take credit.”

Outside of Northeastern, Ramdin engages in impactful projects, which she calls her “personal contribution.”

Several years ago, she partnered with the GLO Good Foundation, which delivers dental care to communities in need. Ramdin created and led the nursing arm of the program on six missions to Eleuthera, the Bahamas.

Looking at the key health indicators and the disease burden determined by the Pan American Health Organization for Eleuthera, Ramdin built out a strategic plan for what else nurses could do besides pre-surgery checks. The mission started screening for hypertension, diabetes, respiratory illness and for cancer risks.

Currently, Ramdin is a part of the African Caribbean Cancer Consortium. In her nurse scientist role, she helps to translate research into implementation and develop strategies to prevent, diagnose or treat patients in a clinical setting. 

“My career is at its peak now,” Ramdin says. “And I expect better things to come. But even if I’ve done a whole lot, I feel like there’s so much more that I can be doing and should be doing, and I will continue to do that.”