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New Presidential Professor for Penn Nursing

The University of Pennsylvania has appointed Carmen Alvarez, PhD, CRNP, CNM, FAAN, a Presidential Professor to Penn Nursing, making her the School’s second such appointment. Alvarez is the first nurse to attain this rank at the University. She is a faculty member in the Department of Family and Community Health.

“Dr. Alvarez brings with her to Penn Nursing an incredible range of expertise as a researcher, clinician, and teacher,” said Penn Nursing Dean Antonia M. Villarruel. “She is a nursing leader who has made a true impact in health care—and she has been a fierce champion for community engaged practice and scholarship. We are fortunate she has chosen to make Penn and Penn Nursing her new home. She makes an excellent addition to our School’s incredible faculty.”

Inspired by her years of practice in community health centers as a Family Nurse Practitioner and Certified Nurse Midwife, Alvarez’s research focuses on health promotion for marginalized populations – particularly survivors of adverse childhood experiences and intimate partner violence. Alvarez has led several projects to uncover how interpersonal violence impacts psychosocial well-being, and to develop interventions to mitigate the long-term effects of interpersonal violence. Essential to all these initiatives are community partnerships to inform and disseminate the work.

Building the evidence to eliminate health disparities is equally as important as building a diverse cadre of skilled researchers and practitioners. To this end, Alvarez is deeply committed to issues of diversity and inclusion in nursing. She served as a committee member for the National Academies of Medicine (NAM) to assess the Campaign for Action’s progress on the 2010 Future of Nursing (FON) recommendations in key areas —scope of practice, education, leadership, interprofessional collaboration, diversity, and workforce data. She also served as the national co-chair for the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Steering Committee for the Campaign for Action and led a committee of diverse nurse leaders to develop strategies to advance the recommendations of the NAM report.

“We are excited for Dr. Alvarez’s appointment to the faculty of the School of Nursing as an Associate Presidential Professor. Dr. Alvarez’s scholarship relies on the development of trauma-informed interventions to address health disparities experienced by Latina women, said José Bauermeister, PhD, Chair of the Department of Family and Community Health, and Penn Nursing’s first Presidential Professor. “Her work is grounded by her practice and advances the mission of the Department of Family and Community Health. I am thrilled to welcome her to Penn!”

Alvarez has made significant contributions to reducing health disparities among racial/ethnic minorities, and her policy and advocacy efforts focus on diversifying the nursing profession and increasing access to care. Her BSN and MSN are from Emory University and her PhD is from the University of Michigan. Presidential Professorships, originating in the Action Plan for Faculty Diversity and Excellence first issued in 2011, are awarded to exceptional scholars, at any rank, who contribute to faculty eminence through diversity across the University.