Randy Jones
Jones, associate dean for partner development and engagement, at a 2024 pop-up clinic in Fifeville, a neighborhood of Charlottesville.

Jones, an NIH-funded nurse scientist, scholar, and the School's associate dean for partner development and engagement, earned the 2024 Armstead Robinson Award for the expanse of his work, impact, mentoring, and his "unwavering commitment to community advocacy and nursing education."

Late last year, Jones spearheaded the creation of biweekly pop-up clinics in Charlottesville's Fifeville and Southwood communities, diverse communities where many residents are underserved and often lack primary care providers. With colleagues from the School of Nursing, UVA Health, the School of Medicine, and a host of community organizations, like WellAWARE and area food banks, Jones works as a clinician to offer health checks, including hemoglobin A1C tests and blood pressure assessments, and using the opportunity to educate community members about cardiovascular risk factors, diabetes management, healthy eating, and helping people find a primary care provider.

Randy touches people who are "often reluctant to seek healthcare within a traditional clinic setting" and his "dynamic approach [bridges] the gap between academic and underserved communities."

Malinda Whitlow, associate professor, RN to BSN program director, and Jones's nominator

Since December 2023, Jones and colleagues have taken part in 13 public pop-up clinics in these communities and served nearly 30 people at each, including 115 unduplicated individuals, many of whom, as fellow faculty member and clinic volunteer Malinda Whitlow said, are "often reluctant to seek healthcare within a traditional clinic setting."

"His dynamic approach to bridging the gap between academic and underserved communities is truly commendable," Whitlow said in her nomination letter.

Jones has also been a key driver to recruit diverse communities of students into nursing and healthcare. Through the School of Nursing's partnership with the Starr Hill Pathways Program, he's brought groups of prospective middle- and high school-aged students to the School for a "day in the life" of a nursing student, creating lively, hands-on activities, practical skills labs, and making presentations to interest students in the profession. 

Jones's work is further amplified by his regular outreach to and work with Mount Zion First African Baptist Church, where he organizes health screening events for men, and the Latinx Health Fair, where he helps do blood pressure, weight checks, immunizations, and offer health education. Jones is also spearheading the School's development and deployment of a mobile outreach health van where nurse practitioners and nurse practitioner students will deliver care to hard-to-reach communities.

A Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Nurse Faculty Scholar alumnus, Jones—associate dean for partner development and engagement, and assistant director for community outreach and engagement at the UVA Comprehensive Cancer Center—studies health disparities, health equity, prostate cancer, chronic illness, and decision making.

Most recently, he earned a $2.2 million NIH grant to develop a novel decision making tool to guide men with advanced prostate cancer through treatment and avoid decisional regret. Jones has also earned funding from the American Cancer Society, the American Nurses Foundation, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and speaks to audiences around the country about the importance of treatment decision making tools and of encouraging family members to be part of the process, especially for communities of color.

Jones is also part of the 37-member National Cancer Policy Forum, a venue in which experts from around the country work together to identify emerging high-priority policy issues in cancer research and care.

Elected to the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine’s 37-member National Cancer Policy Forum in 2020 and chosen as an advisor for the American Academy of Nursing’s Institute for Nursing Leadership in 2019, Jones was invited to be the 2020 National Institute of Nursing Research director’s lecturer, named the Southern Nursing Research Society’s Researcher of the Year in Minority Health, the National Black Nurses Association’s Institute of Excellence Scholar, and has been a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing since 2012.

The award is named in honor of the late Armstead Robinson, who died in 1995 and was a UVA history professor who oversaw the initial development of the Carter G. Woodson Institute for African-American and African Studies. The Black Faculty and Staff Employee Resource Group at UVA bestows the award annually to a faculty member who has contributed to diversity, equity and inclusion, and who has had a positive impact on the Black experience at the University.