Melissa Gilbert Gomes, PhD, APRN, PMHNP-BC, FNAP, FAAN, a nurse scientist and psychiatric nurse practitioner, leads the School’s Inclusion, Diversity, and Excellence Achievement (IDEA) initiative as associate dean for diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Dr. Gomes—who earned a post-master’s certificate in psychiatric mental health nursing from UVA—came to the UVA School of Nursing from Hampton University School of Nursing, where she was an associate professor and interim chair of graduate studies. She is also the founder of Transitions Empowerment Associates and co-founder, clinical research director, and principal owner of the Empowerment Through Healing Ourselves (ETHOS) project. These mental health practices have, since 2013, earned more than $670,000 in grants to develop and pilot alternatives to suspension programs for at-risk youth with Hampton City Schools.

Dr. Gomes’s NIH-, NINR-, and NCI-funded research has focused on youth and intimate partner violence, Black teenagers’ attitudes and beliefs about HIV/AIDS, and analyses of the genetic variants in African American women with breast cancer. An experienced mentor for and champion of underrepresented and minority nursing students at Hampton University, Dr. Gomes has also taught at the University of Pennsylvania, Old Dominion University, and VCU schools of nursing and worked as a clinician at South Baltimore Family Health Center, Johns Hopkins Hospital, Children’s Hospital of Pennsylvania, Bon Secours Hampton Roads Health System, and Portsmouth-based Churchland Psychiatric Associates.

Inducted into the American Academy of Nursing in 2021, she is a Distinguished Fellow in the National Academies of Practice and its nursing academy, a two-time Hampton-Penn Scholar, and a winner of Hampton’s Nursing Research Award. She completed an NRSA T32-funded post-doctoral fellowship at the Center for Health Equity at Penn’s School of Nursing, focusing on vulnerable women and children, and lends her expertise to many national and regional nursing societies and advisory committees, including the American Academy of Nursing’s mental health working group, the American Nurses Association’s mental health and substance abuse national advisory committee, and the Virginia Nurses Association’s nominations and cultural competence and health equity committees.


  • Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP-BC)

Honors and Awards

  • American Academy of Nursing Fellow
  • Distinguished Fellow, National Academies of Practice
  • Member of the National Academies of Practice's nursing academy
  • Hampton-Penn Scholar
  • Winner of Hampton University's Nursing Research Award
  • NRSA T-32 Post-doctoral Fellow at the Center for Health Equity at University of Pennsylvania's School of Nursing

Research Focus

Healthcare disparities; violence; women's health; teenagers' health beliefs about HIV/AIDS


Journal Articles

Gomes, M. G. (2023). Disparate discipline faced by black youth: The need for bias mitigation and school nursing impact to promote school connectedness. The Archives of Psychiatric Nursing, 46(10), 133-138.