The federal Health and Human Services Administration has announced that Penn professor Julie Sochalski, a well-known expert in the field on healthcare workforce issues and who has directed multiple federal research efforts, has been appointed the Director for the Division of Nursing in the Bureau of Health Professions.
Dr. Sochalski, PhD, FAAN, RN, currently an Associate Professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, will be on leave for two years, announced Penn Nursing Dean Afaf I. Meleis, PhD, DrPS(hon), FAAN, FRCN.
"This is a very critical time for nursing as we implement healthcare reform and I cannot think of a more qualified person to lead the national agenda for nursing and improved quality of care," said Dr. Meleis, the Margaret Bond Simon Dean of Nursing at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing. "She will help to define the future of nursing."
"Our health care system is only as strong as the workforce that supports it, and health reform has sounded the clarion call," Dr. Sochalski said. "It’s a great privilege to join the leadership at HRSA at this propitious moment and to work with them towards our common goal of assuring that the Nation’s health care workforce, now and in the future, can meet its challenges. Building a highly skilled, effectively deployed, and fully-resourced nursing workforce is integral to achieving that goal, and to assuring that all people and communities have access to high-value health care. I look forward to delivering on that promise."
As the Director for the Division of Nursing, Dr. Sochalski will serve as principal advisor to the Associate Administrator, BHPr and to the Administrator, HRSA, on national policy for nursing research, practice, and education with the overall objective of improving the quality of healthcare and nursing service in the Nation.
Dr. Sochalski has directed a series of national and international studies funded by National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other private and government foundations focused on the variation in patient outcomes in both in-patient and out-inpatient settings and the factors associated with nursing care that help to explain that variation. She has been the principal investigator on two NIH-funded studies evaluating the impact of a nurse-managed comprehensive geriatric outpatient rehabilitation program on the outcomes of frail elders. These studies involved the creation and use of statistically-matched control groups from national longitudinal Medicare databases to assess program outcomes and systematically explored the role of race in the variation of outcomes.
She is a national expert on the healthcare workforce and has served as a Senior Scholar with the Bureau of Health Professions at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, advising on research and policy issues regarding the nursing and medical workforce, particularly on the current national nursing shortage. She has published in interdisciplinary health policy and health services research journals on the conceptual and empirical foundations for the relationship between the structure and the quality of care and patient outcomes, and on domestic and international trends in the healthcare workforce and their implications for public policy.
Dr. Sochalski received her MS and PhD degrees from the University of Michigan, focusing on Health Economics, Public Policy and Public Health nursing.