Yale Nursing Welcomes Healthcare Equity Advocate Ben Danielson as Commencement Speaker

Dr. Ben Danielson
May 8, 2024

Yale School of Nursing (YSN) is delighted to welcome Dr. Ben Danielson, professor of practice at the University of Washington, as the 2024 commencement speaker at the diploma ceremony.

“Nurses are the backbone of healthcare, and I am honored to address the next generation of Yale’s nurse and midwifery leaders during their centennial year,” Dr. Danielson said. “These clinicians and researchers have been shaped by the Covid-19 pandemic but not defined by it, and they bring fresh insights into how we can best serve the communities most in need.” 

Dr. Danielson’s career has been noteworthy for his advocacy on behalf of healthcare equity, and for his recognition that healthcare delivery and efficacy is affected by a wide range of social and economic factors. He is a strong proponent of prevention as well as treatment and has worked to educate the communities he serves on the steps they can take to improve their health.

“Those attending commencement will hear from a physician who has not just talked about the inequities in healthcare access, but who has devoted his career to erasing those inequities,” said Dean Azita Emami, PhD, MSN, BSN, RNT, FN, FAAN. “Dr. Danielson has long worked in close partnership with nurses and the nursing profession to highlight the need for the well-being and dignity of every patient and the importance of antiracism in healthcare. He is a dynamic and effective advocate. The Class of 2024 will be enlightened and inspired by hearing his experience and advice.”

Dr. Danielson served as medical director for the Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic in Seattle from 1999 to 2020. The clinic, part of the Seattle Children’s hospital system, provided healthcare access for an underserved population. In 2020, he resigned his position in protest of what he cited as systemic racism and a failure to fully support his clinic and its efforts to provide equitable healthcare access to people of color.

In addition to his faculty position, Dr. Danielson serves as a board member or advisor for a wide range of health-related organizations including chairing the Governor’s Interagency Council on Health Disparities. He currently serves on the boards of the Seattle YWCA, the Seattle Foundation, Center for Children and Youth Justice, Tubman Health, the Inatai Foundation, Casey Family Programs, and Amara.

Commencement Festivities

Yale’s 323rd commencement will be held on Monday, May 20, 2024, on the historic Old Campus. Monday’s ceremony marks the occasion at which all university and honorary degrees are formally conferred.

YSN’s diploma ceremony will take place at the Shubert Theatre at 247 College Street in New Haven following the university ceremony. Graduates and their families are then invited to a reception on YSN’s campus at 400 West Campus Drive in Orange, CT.