Navigate Up
Sign In
Penn Nursing > About > Meet the Dean

​Meet the Dean

Antonia M. Villarruel, PhD, RN, FAAN

Antonia M. Villarruel, PhD, RN, FAAN has brought innovative thinking and fresh approaches to educating future healthcare professionals.  Since becoming the dean of the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing and Director, WHO Collaborating Center for Nursing and Midwifery Leadership in July 2014, she has diversified the incoming faculty, created substantive partnerships across the 12 Schools at Penn and increased engagement with colleagues and communities in Philadelphia, Washington, DC and across the globe to China.

As a bilingual and bicultural nurse researcher, Dr. Villarruel has an extensive program of research in health promotion and health disparities, working with diverse Latino and Mexican populations. She incorporates a community-based participatory approach and has been the PI/Co-PI of over eight randomized clinical trials on reducing high risk behaviors in teens. One program – entitled ¡Cuídate! is disseminated nationally by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as part of their Diffusion of Evidence Based Intervention Programs. It has also been featured by the Office of Adolescent Health as part of a compendium of interventions that must be used in conjunction with federal funding. Currently, more than 30 U.S. states and Puerto Rico are actively implementing ¡Cuídate!. Her research, stateside as well as in Mexico and Puerto Rico, has been awarded funding from the National Institutes of Health in excess of $10 million in direct funding as a Principal Investigator and over $15 million as a Co-Investigator. Dr. Villarruel is advancing the integration of the research, education, practice and global missions of the School, the health system and the university through new initiatives and collaborations.

Dr. Villarruel’s research has led to 63 data-based articles published in nursing and interdisciplinary journals; 17 books chapters; 86 national and international peer-reviewed and invited presentations; many editorials, commentaries and technical proceedings; and over 100 scientific citations in journals. Her commitment to excellence in research is integrated with her strong commitment to building and developing the current and future generation of researchers through teaching and scholarly mentoring of students and junior faculty.

Dr. Villarruel serves in national leadership roles including Chair of the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) Roundtable on the Promotion of Health Equity and the Elimination of Health Disparities. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing and a member of the National Academy of Medicine (formerly IOM). She is a recipient of many awards: Sigma Theta Tau International Nurse Researcher Hall of Fame Award; President's Award for Health Behavior Intervention Research from the Friends of the National Institute of Nursing Research; and the Edge Runner Award from the American Academy of Nursing.

BSN Nazareth College
MSN University of Pennsylvania
PhD in nursing Wayne State University

She is a registered nurse in both Michigan and Pennsylvania.

Research Interests:
Health promotion, health disparities, STIs, and HIV prevention