By Joe Garvey

Deborah Gray, clinical associate professor in Old Dominion University's School of Nursing, received the Provost's Award for Leadership in International Education this semester.

The award was established in 2001 to recognize Old Dominion faculty members who have provided outstanding leadership in strengthening the University's international mission and helping the University reach its goal of becoming the premier international university in Virginia.

"I'm honored to receive this award," Gray said. "As an educator, scholar and clinician, my vision is to address global health-care crises related to access-to-care issues primarily affecting the most vulnerable populations. Through my work in the last few years, I believe I have made an impact while also fostering significant international partnerships and increasing ODU's visibility as a leader on the international stage."

Dr. Muge Akpinar-Elci, associate dean, professor and director of the health services research program at ODU, wrote in a letter nominating Gray for the award: "Dr. Gray truly has a passion for improving health globally. I have always found her to be open, creative, adaptable and a joy to work with. She is also an excellent cultural ambassador and representative for Old Dominion University globally. Her commitment to teaching, her students and her profession shines through in all her endeavors."

Gray was chosen as a U.S. Fulbright Scholar in 2018 and spent nearly a year working with the University of Botswana and the University of Ghana.

Her Fulbright project, "Expanding Global Nursing Education, Collaboration, and Access to Care," was a collaborative initiative between ODU, the U.S. State Department/Fulbright Organization and the University of Botswana nursing programs with the World Health Organization Center for Nursing and Midwifery for Sub-Saharan Africa. This project developed telehealth and web-based distance learning that increased nursing educational outreach, access and health-care capacity in Botswana and several countries throughout Sub-Saharan Africa.

"We truly appreciate Dr. Gray's educational leadership efforts and the continuing bond she has created between the University of Botswana and Old Dominion University," wrote Kefalotse S. Dithole, head of the School of Nursing at the University of Botswana. "Through her past and ongoing initiatives, she has increased educational access and improved health care."

Gray also has collaborated over the past four years with the United Nations Foundation on global health initiatives and worked on projects with the Geneva-based International Council of Nurses.

In addition, Gray has been involved with ODU's study-abroad program since 2014. In 2020, as an Entsminger Fellow for Entrepreneurial Education, she collaborated and presented a group project with faculty from Innovative Eurasian University in Kazakhstan on how to integrate entrepreneurship and innovation into the university culture and classroom.

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