Edwards and Spencer Named Master’s Community/Public Health Nursing Specialty Co-Directors at UMSON

May 5, 2022
Edwards and Spencer Headshots
Left to rigtht: Edwards and Spencer

Baltimore, Md. - The University of Maryland School of Nursing (UMSON) has appointed Lori A. Edwards, DrPH, BSN ’80, RN, CNS-PCH, BC, assistant professor, and Michelle R. Spencer, DNP ’19, MS ’06, BSN ’94, RN, assistant professor, co-directors of the Master of Science in Nursing program’s Community/Public Health Nursing specialty.

As co-directors, Edwards and Spencer are responsible for leadership of the master’s specialty and of community/public health nursing coursework in the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and RN-to-BSN programs and in the entry-level Master of Science in Nursing Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL) option. All community/public health nursing coursework has a strong focus on population health, social determinants of health, social justice, and evidence-based programs. The Community/Public Health Nursing (MSN) master’s specialty prepares graduates to assume leadership roles in addressing large-scale population health challenges that impact entire communities.

Edwards and Spencer also oversee the academic trajectory of students in the master’s specialty and in the post-baccalaureate Environmental Health and Care Coordination certificates. Faculty in this specialty work in collaboration with many community partners in local, state, and national agencies. They advance the specialty of community/public health nursing and improve the health of populations through strong partnerships.

“Drs. Edwards and Spencer bring a tremendous amount of leadership and experience to the role,” said Bimbola F. Akintade, PhD ’11, MS ’05, MBA, MHA, BSN ’03, ACNP-BC, NEA-BC, FAANP, associate professor and associate dean for the Master of Science in Nursing program. “Dr. Edwards was the immediate past chair of the Master of Science in Nursing Curriculum Committee and brings her curriculum development expertise to this role and the upcoming Essentials curriculum revision. Dr. Spencer is an astute teacher and mentor, and her leadership contributions to the baccalaureate and master’s community health courses are invaluable. We look forward to their dynamic and innovative contributions to the Community/Public Health Nursing specialty.”

Edwards has developed numerous innovative community-based programs locally and globally to address preventable inequalities and upstream social determinants of health. In addition to her role at UMSON, she is a faculty member in the Master of Public Health program in the University of Maryland School of Medicine. She directs the UMB Health Alliance, an interprofessional, student-run health services program in the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) Community Engagement Center. She is funded by the UMB Center for Interprofessional Education to facilitate student education in health literacy, and she is president of the National Association of Community Health Nursing Educators.

Spencer serves as a clinical coordinator for pre-licensure BSN and CNL students during their community/population health clinical rotation. She also teaches in the post-bachelor’s Care Coordination Certificate program and in entry-level and graduate-level courses. She was a fellow in the inaugural 2020 - 21 cohort of the UMB Interprofessional Program in Academic Community Engagement (IPACE) and is currently a fellow in the 2021 - 22 cohort of the UMSON Nurse Leadership Institute. Spencer earned her post-master’s Doctor of Nursing Practice, MS, and BSN degrees from the University of Maryland School of Nursing.

Edwards and Spencer succeed Allison Del Bene Davis, PhD, RN, assistant professor, who served as director of the specialty since 2020 and has returned to a faculty role.


The University of Maryland School of Nursing, founded in 1889, is one of the oldest and largest nursing schools in the nation and is ranked among the top nursing schools nationwide. Enrolling more than 2,100 students in its baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral programs, the School develops leaders who shape the profession of nursing and impact the health care environment.