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Welcome to the New Academic Year, 2021-2022 from Dean Antonia M. Villarruel

Dear Colleagues – It feels like some time since I’ve been able to say this, but …Welcome back to Fagin Hall! It is great to be together again in our home base on Penn campus—and to resume in-person operations. It is my pleasure and privilege to welcome our returning students, faculty, and staff to this new academic year. I’d also like to welcome Penn Nursing’s new additions: 100 BSN, 83 ABSN, 65 MSN, 22 Post-MSN, 10 PhD, 41 Post-Masters DNP and executive leadership, and 28 Nurse Anesthesia DNP students. We have been waiting for you! Our faculty and staff have worked tirelessly to provide the best and safest educational experience possible.

Our return to Fagin Hall is not a return to the way things were, but—rather—back to the future. We have learned so much about the incredible work that can be accomplished virtually and what is critical for in-person interactions—and we are making sure that those lessons are integrated into our transition back to campus. Thank you for being an integral part of what makes Penn Nursing such a special and important place—and, of course, thank you for being just as committed to the health and safety of our community as I am.

Faculty Appointments and News

Our Penn Nursing family is growing! Please extend a warm welcome to new Penn Nursing faculty members:

  • Dolores Albarracín, PhD - Alexandra Heyman Nash University Professor, with joint appointments in the Annenberg School for Communication and the Department of Family and Community Health
  • Shoshana Aronowitz, PhD, FNP-BC – Assistant Professor of Nursing in the Department of Family and Community Health
  • Amanda Bettencourt, PhD, APRN, CCRN-K, ACCNS-P – Assistant Professor of Nursing in the Department of Family and Community Health
  • Rebecca R. S. Clark, PhD, MSN, RN, CNM, WNHP-BC – Assistant Professor of Nurse-Midwifery and Women’s Health in the Department of Family and Community Health
  • Hyejeong Hong, PhD, FNP-BC – Assistant Professor of Nursing in the Department of Biobehavioral Health Sciences
  • Amy Jo Lisanti, PhD, RN, CCNS, CCRN-K – Research Assistant Professor of Nursing in the Department of Family and Community Health

Please also join me in congratulating two of our faculty in new appointments—Susan Keim, PhD, CRNP is now a Practice Associate Professor of Nursing in the Department of Biobehavioral Health Sciences, and

Dawn Bent, DNP, CRNA is Practice Assistant Professor of Nursing in the Department of Biobehavioral Health Sciences.

New Staff

Several staff joined the Penn Nursing team over the summer, including Amber Banayat, Program Coordinator for Rosemary Carol Polomano, PhD, RN, FAAN, Lisa M. Lewis, PhD, RN, FAAN, and Terri Lipman, PhD, CRNP, FAAN; Drew Weiss, Clinical Research Assistant for Dr. Catherine McDonald; Antonia Caffrey, Research Specialist for Dr. Heath Schmidt; Aleksandra Golos, Clinical Research Coordinator for Dr. Alison Buttenheim; Sarah Curtis, Research Specialist for Dr. Bart DeJonghe; and Monique Howard, EdD, Senior Director of Women’s Health Initiatives for the Center for Global Woman’s Health.

Welcome to you all!

Upcoming Events

An exciting benefit to coming back to Fagin Hall and Penn campus is an opportunity to connect to faculty, staff, and students at events, both in-person and virtually. On September 13 in the Bayada Garden, just outside the entrance to Fagin Hall, we will have a special event: the Back-to-School Tree of Reflection Dedication. The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted so many nurses and so many people associated with Penn Nursing. While the pandemic continues, it is important to mark the moment while also reflecting on the hope we all have for the future. I hope you’ll be a part of this meaningful event. More details will be available shortly.

I also encourage you to check out Momentum 2021: The Power of Penn Women on October 1. This special event will feature a range of discussions, including several with Penn Nursing faculty. I will also be sitting down for an Office Hours Fireside Chat during the event as well. It’s a great opportunity to come together with the Penn community—the conference represents more than 62 class years, 41 states, and 19 countries.

Keep an eye out for these events and others on Penn Nursing’s events calendar—and check back from time to time for additional events added over the course of the semester.

One last word about safety. With Delta and other variants of this coronavirus spreading, there are guidelines we must follow to ensure a workplace and learning environment that are healthy and productive. We are not out of the storm—but we must learn how to dance in the rains! We all must be responsible for our own health and for each other’s health, and that includes ensuring vaccination status, paying close attention to our health each day, and masking up inside Fagin Hall and in buildings throughout campus. The Penn Nursing community has always been a tight-knit group—and now more than ever we must look out for one another, taking into consideration comfort levels around physical contact. As we return to campus, I would ask that you be especially mindful that each of us may be at a different phase of comfort with being around others. It’s completely normal to have anxieties because things are unknown and our home situations are not transparent to all. Please know, however, that we are committed to ensuring you have the resources you need for your health and to engage in a supportive place in which to learn and work.

A special word to our students: now more than ever, all of us at Penn Nursing are committed to ensuring a high-quality experience for you. We remain focused, regardless of how health and safety guidelines may or may not change over the course of the semester—we are here to support you in your journey, wherever it leads. I wish you all the best and much success.

I look forward to seeing you at the upcoming fall events. Thank you for being a part of our Penn Nursing community.

Toni