Manka Nkimbeng, is the recipient of the Isabel Hampton Robb Scholarship awarded to the doctoral student with the highest evaluation score. Manka is currently a third-year doctoral candidate at Johns Hopkins School of Nursing. She earned her Bachelors of Science in Nursing from the University of Massachusetts Amherst (UMass Amherst) and her Master’s in Public Health from Boston University. She is the only nurse accepted into the first cohort of the Health Policy Research Scholar program supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
The nursing philosophy of holistic patient care fit with Ms Nkimbeng’s passion for health prevention and community health and that philosophy was the determining factor in her choice of nursing as her profession. Funded by the Honors College at UMass Amherst, she undertook her first research study to examine the differences in nursing care between the United States and United Kingdom health systems. Upon graduation she worked as a nurse at the Lowell Community Health Center and saw firsthand how social determinants play a significant role on the health of an individual. She returned to school to study how health policies can improve social determinants of health. She moved to Baltimore after graduation to work on the Community Aging in Place: Advancing Better Living for Elders (CAPABLE) study in Baltimore, an intervention that targets both social and environmental determinants of health in older adults. It is now being implemented at 21 other sites across the country.
All of Ms. Nkimbeng’s research interests center around understanding the causes of health inequities in minorities and improving functional health outcomes for older adults. With a track record of funding from the National Institutes of Aging, Johns Hopkins Institute for Clinical and Translational Research and the School of Nursing Center for Innovative Care and Aging, her dissertation will explore the impact of acculturation and racial discrimination on the functional health of older African immigrants, an understudied population. As a Health Policy Research Scholar, she is learning how to use her research to influence health policy. Encompassing her research and policy training, her long-term goal is to become a nurse researcher and educator leading interdisciplinary teams. She plans to develop and test interventions to improve current health policies and implement nursing practice that improves health and eliminates health disparities for older adults.