Dr. John Lowe, a trailblazing teacher and researcher in health equity for Native American and Indigenous people, will deliver the keynote address during Eastern Mennonite University’s Commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 7, 2023.
EMU’s 2021 Alumnus of the Year, Lowe earned a bachelor of science in nursing degree from EMU in 1981. He continued his education, obtaining a master of science in nursing in 1986 from Oral Roberts University (Tulsa, Oklahoma) and a PhD in nursing in 1995 from the University of Miami. A Cherokee Native American tribal member with Creek and Lenape Native American tribal heritage, Lowe is the first Native American man to earn a PhD in nursing and to be inducted as a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing.
“We are delighted to welcome back John Lowe to EMU to deliver the keynote address to our 2023 graduates,” said President Susan Schultz Huxman. “His work in confronting health disparities among Black and Brown people reminds us that Indigenous communities need their own health experts, and his mission to bring change captures the EMU vision ‘to open pathways of access’ for the next generation of Indigenous nurses and healthcare professionals.”
Lowe has said that nurses are the key to addressing health disparities among native American and Indigenous people globally, as nurses are respected and trusted within those communities—and that Native American nurses who practice in those communities have a greater level of commitment due to their shared ancestry.
Lowe is the Joseph Blades Centennial Memorial Professor in the School of Nursing at The University of Texas at Austin where he developed the first Center for Indigenous Nursing Research for Health Equity and hosted the first international Indigenous nursing research summit.
Lowe has been recognized for his research and development of interventions for reducing and preventing substance abuse in Native American and Indigenous communities, which include the Cherokee Self-Reliance, Native Self-Reliance and Native-Reliance models as well as the Talking Circle intervention. Recognized as a “promising evidence-based program” by the U.S Department of Justice’s Office of Programs, the Talking Circle intervention was featured as one of the American Academy of Nursing’s “Edge Runners” and in the National Academy of Medicine report “The Future of Nursing 2020-2030: Charting a Path to Achieve Health Equity.”
Lowe co-authored “A Conceptual Framework for Nursing in Native American Culture” and has won numerous awards including the American Nurses Association Luther Christman Award, Florida Nurses Association Cultural Diversity Award, Great 100 Centennial Research Award, Nursing Educator of the Year Award, Nurse of the Year Award, Lifetime Achievement in Education & Research Award, and Researcher of the Year at the Professor Rank Award.
To livestream Lowe’s Commencement address, visit EMU’s Facebook page.