Dr. Danica Sumpter
Macy Faculty Scholar
Danica Sumpter received undergraduate degrees from two contrasting institutions, an associate degree from a small historically Black Christian college, and a bachelor’s degree from one of the largest public universities in the country. After graduation in 2001 she began her career as a registered nurse in the neonatal ICU. Even before completing her undergraduate degree, she knew she would pursue graduate studies but she wasn’t sure where or in what specialty. The next leg of her journey led her from the NICU in San Antonio to Philadelphia where she obtained her MSN and PhD at the University of Pennsylvania. Her academic and professional endeavors centered around medically fragile infants and the biopsychosocial interplay inherent in parenting a child with a congenital heart defect.
After having a child of her own, she and her husband moved back to the Austin area to be close to family. The next stage of her journey led her to pediatric acute care nursing and back to her alma mater. She has taught at the University of Texas at Austin School of Nursing since 2012. Her teaching has focused in the areas of child health and nursing education. In her time at UT she has realized a love for all things “teaching and learning.” During her stint as chair of the Family, Public Health and Nursing Administration Division, she also realized a love for faculty development.
Her clinical experiences and those of her students continue to highlight the persistent health inequities in America, especially for people of color. She is currently most passionate about elevating her consciousness and those she interacts with as a first step to dismantling institutionalized racism and improving the health outcomes of marginalized groups in America. In 2018 she helped spearhead the faculty/staff book club at the UT Austin School of Nursing to create a brave space for conversations about race and racism. She has also been instrumental in the facilitation of the annual school wide movie night where films such as “13th” and “White Like Me” have been viewed and used as a launching point for conversations about race and racism for faculty, staff, and students.
In addition to being an active member of her church, wife, and mom to two amazing kids, she is a member of the NLN Taking Aims Initiative Committee addressing structural racism, diversity, equity, inclusion, implicit bias, and social justice. Her DEI work at the national, school, institutional and community levels informs her current work as a Macy Faculty Scholar. Though the work can be overwhelming and tiring, she stays motivated by keeping in mind that systems of oppression gain their power from silence, so she must keep talking.