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Our Leadership

Antonia M. Villarruel, PhD, RN, FAAN, the Margaret Bond Simon Dean of Nursing, leads the School with counsel from our Board of Overseers. As one of the 12 schools at the University of Pennsylvania, we are supported in our efforts by President Amy Gutmann and the University’s Board of Trustees.

Dean Villarruel with General Colin Powell at the Penn Wharton China Center, Beijing, 2015Dean Villarruel with General Colin Powell at the Penn Wharton China Center, Beijing, 2015Governance Structure

Dean Villarruel’s leadership team consists of three Associate Deans for Academic Programs, Research and Innovation, and Practice; two Chairs of the Departments of Family and Community Health and Biobehavioral Health Sciences; two Vice Deans for Administration and Finance, and Institutional Advancement; and three Assistant Deans for Diversity and Inclusivity, Global Health, and Community Engagement.

The Dean

Antonia M. Villarruel, PhD, RN, FAAN, is the Margaret Bond Simon Dean of Nursing and the Director of the WHO Collaborating Center for Nursing and Midwifery Leadership. She is our sixth dean and the first one to serve with prior and current NIH funding.

As one of 12 school deans at Penn, Dean Villarruel reports to both the University provost and president. She is responsible for the strategic vision and direction of the School in collaboration with her leadership team and the faculty. This includes responsibility for the School’s budgets, quality of academic programs, management of resources, and insuring the School is a leader globally in nursing research and education.

Associate Dean for Academic Programs

Julie A. Sochalski, PhD, RN, FAAN, Class of 1965 25th Reunion Term Associate Professor of Nursing, works to guide the School’s academic programs, including policy making and the development of quality assessments, and is accountable for cost-effective operations.

Associate Dean for Research and Innovation

Therese Richmond, PhD, CRNP, FAAN, Andrea B. Laporte Endowed Professor of Nursing, provides visionary leadership to promote growth and innovation in the School of Nursing’s research and scholarship agenda to ensure alignment with the School’s strategic goals. She has primary oversight for the School’s research initiatives including policy making, facilitating research, and insuring regulatory compliance. Dr. Richmond also directs the School’s Office of Nursing Research, which is responsible for all aspects of grant administration both pre- and post-award.

Associate Dean for Practice

Rosemary C. Polomano, PhD, RN, FAAN, Professor of Pain Practice, provides the strategic vision and leadership for the School’s practice goals. Dr. Polomano works closely with the Associate Deans for Academic Programs and Research and Innovation, as well as the Department Chairs and the Assistant Dean for Community Engagement, to insure the seamless integration of practice, education, and research. She also works with CNOs of the Health System, CHOP, the VA, and others to advance our practice priorities.

Department Chair of Family & Community Health

The Department of Family and Community Health, led by Patricia O. D’Antonio,PhD, RN, FAAN, Killebrew-Censits Term Professor in Undergraduate Education, encompasses those faculty with a research and teaching mission focusing predominantly on the delivery of care and improving patient outcomes. She serves as Director of the Barbara Bates Center for the Study of the History of Nursing.

Department Chair of Biobehavioral Health Sciences

The Department of Biobehavioral Health Sciences, led by Julie A. Fairman, PhD, RN, FAAN, Nightingale Professor of Nursing, focuses on the generation of new knowledge from both the biological and behavioral perspective, including research at the bench.

Vice Dean for Administration and Finance

Jacqueline Lowry Golding has over 30 years of financial experience in academic environments and boasts a proven track record in the areas of human resource management, financial management and strategic planning.  She has been Vice Dean of Administration and Finance in the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing’s Office of Administration since 2015, where she works with the School’s leadership to provide strategic direction, policy implementation and development, organizational development and resource allocation. 


Vice Dean for Institutional Advancement 

Nadina Deigh has extensive experience and proven success in not-for-profit and academic environments, including two schools at Penn (Wharton and Social Policy & Practice). She provides strategic oversight of the development, marketing and communications, events, and alumni relations activities of the School. As a member of the Dean’s leadership team, she also participates in key School-wide initiatives where Advancement is a meaningful partner.

Assistant Dean for Diversity and Inclusivity

Lisa M. Lewis, PhD, RN, FAAN, Associate Professor of Nursing, works closely with Dean Villarruel and the Leadership team to set the School’s strategic goals with regard to diversity and inclusivity. Dr. Lewis also collaborates with the Office of Academic Affairs to identify and support strategies to recruit and retain underserved minority students. In her role, she raises diversity awareness in the School, works with the minority nursing organizations, and advises the faculty search committee on best practices for recruitment of minority faculty members.


Assistant Dean for Global Health Affairs

Nancy Biller works to establish and implement goals to fulfill the School’s commitment to global understanding, engagement, and healthcare.  She identifies and promotes opportunities for students, faculty, and staff to expand their global experience in local and international contexts, through scholarly pursuits, extracurricular activities, service, and practice, contributing to their global leadership skills and ability to meet the health needs of individuals and communities in our multicultural world. 


Assistant Dean for Community Engagement

Terri H. Lipman, PhD, CRNP, FAAN, Miriam Stirl Endowed Term Professor of Nutrition, Professor of Nursing of Children, serves as the driving force for innovations that link Community Engagement with the School’s tripartite mission in practice, education, and research. In collaboration with the Associate Dean for Practice and members of the community, she assures and affirms the School’s commitment to, and leadership in, addressing and understanding the social determinants of health locally, nationally, and globally.


Research Centers

Our nurse scientists work through school-supported and grant-funded research centers where they pursue a variety of research programs such as transitional care, healthcare policy, nursing history, and global women’s health.  In addition, we have three distinct collaboratives around biobehavioral causes of disease, health equity and aging.