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Nurse, CEO, Author, and Health Equity Advocate Receives Jeannine Rivet Award

Keziah Proctor,

SILVER SPRING, MD  – The prestigious Jeannine Rivet National Leadership Award for 2023 has been awarded to Alita-Geri Carter, MSN, RN, CPNP-PC. This annual award is sponsored by the Jeannine Rivet National Leadership Fund, a $10,000 fellowship established through a 10-year partnership between the American Nurses Foundation (the Foundation) and the United Health Foundation (UHF), the philanthropic foundation of UnitedHealth Group. It pays tribute to Jeannine Rivet, MPH, RN, FAAN, retired executive vice president of UnitedHealth Group, for her invaluable impact as a health care leader and many community roles. This fellowship is meant to encourage and inspire the next generation of nurse leaders and innovators to explore new professional opportunities.

Alita-Geri is a seasoned nurse practitioner with more than a decade of experience in health care advocacy and leadership – spanning health care, business and within her community. During her work with the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Alita-Geri has directed key programmatic work and managed millions of dollars in federal funds. As the Founder and CEO of The Commission for Health, LLC, she empowers both health care providers and health care consumers through training and educational services. Alita-Geri is also the founder of the nonprofit On the MOVE Academy, Inc., an educational program designed to provide leadership development for middle and high school-age students to prepare them for a future career in health care. In addition, Alita-Geri authored and self-published “The Adventures of Reese and Rufus: The Day Reese and Rufus Met,” currently available in the Prince George’s County Memorial Library System, to help familiarize children with health care team members and the environment within emergency rooms.

Alita-Geri is the recipient of other professional awards that she has been given throughout her career. Colleagues have described her as “a multi-faceted individual who exudes professionalism, intellect, and people skills that have allowed her to excel as she represents the voice of the nursing profession while building relationships outside the profession.”

The Foundation recently caught up with Alita-Geri to discuss her accomplishments and goals for the future:


What guides your passion for nursing and the work that’s behind the companies you founded?
“Beginning at age 14, I knew I wanted to become a nurse practitioner. This desire resulted from my younger sister's birth after only 28 weeks of gestation. She was hospitalized in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) for approximately six weeks before being discharged home to our family. I was five, but I still remember my visits to the NICU which left a lasting impact on me, resulting in my decision to work as a student nurse extern in the NICU that cared for her at Washington Hospital Center. Since then, I developed a passion for pediatric nursing and advancing health equity.

As a young nurse, my own child was born with a developmental delay and numerous other medical diagnoses. This experience fueled my passion as an advocate to increase awareness of the social determinants of health, health equity, and health policies that impact patient outcomes. I embrace my history and use my story of growing up in a disadvantaged background with limited health care access and periods when I had no health care insurance to inspire and inform others. My passions and these experiences are a large part of the motivating force behind my entrepreneurial endeavors which seek to provide resources and empower others with knowledge to take charge of their own health care journey.”

What inspired you to author a children’s book?
As a pediatric nurse practitioner and mother, I have a natural affinity for children and the inherent inclination to care for them. I am very much aware of a child’s apprehension when they enter the emergency room or hospital setting and it can be confusing and scary. As a health care professional, it’s my duty to ease those fears and reassure them that nurses and other health care professionals are their friends and are there to help. More than that, I want children of color and various ethnicities to know the very people who are caring for them also look like them. Diversity in health care is vital in addressing social determinants of health and in improving health equity because there is an element of cultural understanding and empathy.”

You’ve accomplished so much already, but what are your hopes and aspirations for the future?
“I aspire to continue to grow and develop as a more impactful leader and to continue my rise within the nursing profession while providing mentorship and serving as an inspiration to the nurses who are coming after me. I am personally and professionally invested in creating change within communities and the health care system. Such an investment would further strengthen my abilities to innovate, lead, relate to community members, perform rapid cycle quality improvement, strategically plan, and advocate for health equity and effective health care policies.

I desire to follow in the footsteps of Jeannine Rivet concerning health care leadership, business, and community advocacy with lasting impact. I aspire to be a part of the future leaders that will transform the fractured health care system in the United States for the sake of my children and the families who experience disparities in health care and suffer health inequity. I hope for my legacy to be that I saw a need for change -- and led it.”

The Foundation is grateful for the generosity of the United Health Foundation for its sponsorship of the award and honored to participate in this esteemed partnership. This is the 5th Jeannine Rivet National Leadership Award conferred, highlighting the commitment of the United Health Foundation to the advancement and professional development of nurses.

“On behalf of the United Health Foundation, we are inspired by Alita-Geri Carter and the critical work she is doing within health care and many communities. It is an honor to support the nursing profession and to ensure that Jeannine’s legacy endures and is honored by trailblazing nurses like Alita-Geri,” said Tracy Malone, president of the United Health Foundation.


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