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Josephine Ensign FNP, MPH, DrPH

Adjunct Professor, University of Washington, School of Arts and Sciences, Department of Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies
Affiliate Faculty, University of Washington’s Certificate Program in Public Scholarship

Through my teaching, public scholarship, clinical practice, and writing, I engage in critiques of current social justice issues such as poverty and homelessness, trauma and resilience, and the well-being of marginalized populations. For the past decade my work has centered on using personal stories to highlight important public policy issues within an emancipatory framework. With an undergraduate degree in medical/health humanities (biology and religion with an emphasis on medical ethics), and a doctorate in international health with a focus on health policy, my worldview is interdisciplinary. My overall aim is to humanize health care, to cultivate empathy leading to action.


Psychosocial and Community Health


  • DrPH, Johns Hopkins University, 1995
  • MSN, Virginia Commonwealth University, 1986
  • BA, Oberlin College, 1981

What classes do you teach?

Community Health; Health Politics and Policy, Health Policy; Narrative Medicine


What do you love about the UW School of Nursing?

Working with groups of interprofessional health science students, faculty, and staff on meaningful community-based service-learning projects



  • Health humanities
  • Narrative medicine
  • Homelessness
  • Health care access
  • Health humanities

Research Areas

  • Health Equity

Research Centers


  • Catching Homelessness, She Writes Press, forthcoming August 2016.
  • Ensign, J. (Winter 2016). Listen, Carefully. In: Perspectives in Biology and Medicine, Special Issue, Diagnosis. 58(1).
  • Ensign, J. (May 2015). The Hospital on Profanity Hill. Hektoen International: A Journal of Medical Humanities.
Picture of  Josephine Ensign

University of Washington School of Nursing
Box 357263
1959 N.E. Pacific St.
Seattle, WA 98195

Office: T-518E