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Janice T. Edmunds-Wells, BS, MSW

2018 Cristine Wilson Medal for Equality and Justice Medal Recipient: Janice T. Edmunds-Wells, BS, MSW

“Her keen intellect, clever sense of wit, personal experience, and clear passion…helped train tens of thousands of Iowan professionals on culturally competent health care and ways to modify their programs to meet the needs of diverse populations, particularly when serving women of color.”

-- Written by Dr. Michele Devlin, University of Northern Iowa, in her nomination

Janice T. Edmunds-Wells, BS, MSW

Janice T. Edmunds-Wells, BS, MSW began her work in minority health in Iowa in 1992 and in 2006, was able to codify the Office of Minority and Multicultural Health within an Omnibus Bill, serving as the office’s Executive Officer. She served until 2017, when the Office was eliminated from the Iowa Department of Public Health. During her time working in minority and multicultural health, she spearheaded some of the most important public health policy, research, and programming activities related to rapidly diversifying populations in the state of Iowa. Ms. Edmunds-Wells is a specialist in working with economically underserved and ethnically diverse populations, and has a particular focus on the needs of women and other at-risk individuals.

Originally from Philadelphia, she earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Individual Studies in the College of Human Development from Pennsylvania State University, and her Master’s Degree in Integrated Services MSW at the University of Iowa. She also completed a Public Health Certificate from the University of Iowa. 

She has served in the Iowa Department of Human Rights, Division on the Status of African Americans, as a program planner, and has also worked with the Urban League of Philadelphia as part of her commitment to promoting civil rights for communities of color. Ms. Edmunds-Wells has served as Adjunct Faculty at Des Moines University and at the University of Northern Iowa. Janice Edmunds-Wells has provided extensive professional and community service to numerous state and national agencies on issues related to cross-cultural health and wellness, such as serving as Chair of the Iowa Minority Recruitment, Education, and Advocacy on Careers in Health Network and as the state and regional representative, Board member and currently member at large to the National Association of State Offices of Minority Health.  Ms. Edmunds-Wells has won numerous state awards and national recognition for her outstanding contributions to promoting the wellbeing of diverse populations. In 2017, she was inducted into the Iowa African American Hall of Fame by the Black Cultural Center of Iowa State University.

An interview with Janice T. Edmunds-Wells, MSW:


Video of the 2018 Iowa Women's Hall of Fame Honorees: