Afaf I. Meleis became the fifth dean of the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing in 2002. Under her leadership, Penn Nursing has positioned itself as one of the world’s pre-eminent schools of nursing, internationally renowned for innovative research, teaching, and practice.
Leading an intensive strategic planning initiative, Dr. Meleis has overseen a broad program of research development, the integration of nursing practice and nursing education, and a focus on nursing’s influence in health policy. Under her leadership, the School established the departments of Biobehavioral Health Sciences
and Family and Community Health
; a new Office for Practice and Community Affairs
; and new research centers including the Biobehavioral Research Center
, the Center for Health Equity Research
, the NewCourtland Center for Transitions and Health
, and the Center for Global Women’s Health
The School’s emphasis on “Nursing Science” and “Care to Change the World” reflect the School’s reach and Penn Nursing’s presence in the many education abroad programs, interprofessional global partnerships, international research projects, and the many evidence-based models of care implemented in different countries.
Internationally renowned for her work in nursing theory and her devotion to the health of women and girls, Dr. Meleis has intensified efforts to improve their health around the world, creating international academic partnerships, developing relationships with the United Nations and other international organizations dedicated to equity and well-being. “Where Science Leads: The Campaign for Penn Nursing,” a $75 million initiative, strengthened the School’s endowment and increased student scholarships and faculty support.
The School of Nursing building has been renovated and renamed in honor of Dr. Claire M. Fagin. The undergraduate curriculum
, revised in 2011, integrates theory, practice, and technology to prepare Penn Nursing graduates for leadership in the 21st century. In addition, Dean Meleis co-chairs the Global Forum on Innovation in Health Professional Education at the Institute of Medicine
(IOM) with Jordan J. Cohen, MD, president emeritus of the Association of American Medical Colleges. This IOM initiative aims to apply an ongoing, multi-national, multi-disciplinary approach to exploring promising innovations in health education.