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March 14, 2023

Community Health

A Conversation with Maria Gomez

Showing the Community Health Video

Maria Gomez is the founder and former executive director of Mary’s Center, a pathbreaking and innovative community health center in Washington, DC. Mary’s Center focuses on providing holistic care and serving immigrant communities in the nation’s capital. Gomez shared lessons from her decades of experience in delivering care to disadvantaged communities. 

This event was hosted through Georgetown University’s Conversations in Health: Global to Local class, which invites global health professionals to Georgetown’s campus to engage in discussions regarding their career paths and expertise. John Monahan guides the structured conversation, and the discussion is open to all Georgetown University faculty, students, and staff.


Maria Gomez (N’77) is the former executive director of Mary’s Center, which she founded in 1988 with a group of health advocates and the DC Mayor’s Office on Latino Affairs to help immigrant women fleeing war and poverty in Central America. Gomez immigrated from Colombia to the United States with her mother at age 13 to escape violence and find new opportunity. In the United States, she became dedicated to the empowerment of her local community. She served as a public health nurse at DC Health, directed community education programming and disaster services at the Red Cross, and worked at the Visiting Nurses Association. As a testament to her commitment to community, President Barack Obama presented her with the 2012 Presidential Citizens Medal, the nation’s second-highest civilian honor. Gomez obtained her B.S. in nursing from Georgetown University and a master of public health degree from the University of California at Berkeley.

John T. Monahan is a professor in the Department of Medicine, a senior advisor for global health to Georgetown University’s President John J. DeGioia, a senior fellow at the McCourt School of Public Policy, and a senior scholar at the O'Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown Law.