Julie A. Fairman, PhD, RN, FAAN
Julie A. Fairman has always been inspired by history. Her research, writing, and teaching illuminate the ways 20th century events have shaped current nursing and health care practice and policy.
Her article, “History Counts: How History Can Shape Our Understanding of Health Policy,” co-authored with Penn Nursing colleague Patricia D’Antonio, won the 2015 American Academy of Nursing Excellence in Media Award. Her book Making Room in the Clinic: Nurse Practitioners and the Evolution of Modern Health Care, which examines the growth of the nurse practitioner movement, won the Lavinia Dock Award for Exemplary Historical Research Writing.
“History shapes nursing and health care practice and policy, because it shows us what works, what doesn’t, and how context shapes our thinking.”
- Post-Doctoral Fellowship, University of Pennsylvania, 1993
- PhD , University of Pennsylvania, 1992
- MSN, University of Pennsylvania, 1980
- BSN , Albright College, 1976
Dr. Fairman forged a new paradigm of inquiry by conceptualizing nursing as a key analytical category for understanding the history of health care and health policy after World War II. This paradigm and her supporting data-based research contributes new knowledge and positions nurses as influential participants in the negotiation of clinical space and authority, the shaping and dissemination of technology, and as a critical perspective in the history of medicine. More importantly, by situating nurses as potent actors in the nexus of history and health policy, her research illustrates nursing’s clinical authority in patient care and strengthens nursing’s voice in health policy debates that influence every aspect of patient care in United States and around the world. To facilitate the examination of these ideas, she regularly publishes her work in recognized peer-reviewed nursing and humanities journals, and as well-received books.
Dr. Fairman has received many awards for her teaching, including the Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Award. She most recently taught students across the University in the Benjamin Franklin Scholars Program, a course entitled, “Race, Class, Gender and the History of American Health Care”, a student-led seminar in which students use primary documents and material from disciplines such as sociology and feminist studies to explore the history of American health care through the lens of race, class, and gender. The Benjamin Franklin Scholars program fosters intellectual curiosity and exploration for outstanding undergraduate students in Penn’s four undergraduate schools: the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, the Wharton School, and the School of Nursing.
Dr. Fairman’s research focuses on 20th century healthcare issues, in particular, the history of health policy as it relates to competition, scope of practice, and service models, and the history of technology. Her most recent work has moved into the intersection of the Civil Rights movement and health care. Her work has been funded by the NLM, NEH, the RWJ Foundation Investigator in Health Policy Program (only 2nd nurse), and other specialty organizations. In 2011, she was the first historian inducted into the Sigma Theta Tau Research Hall of Fame.
She the author/editor of 4 books, with work ongoing for a 5th, and her work has been published in journals such as the NEJM, the Lancet, and Health Matrix. She has been interviewed by national and international media, including NPR, the New York Times, USA Today, and J&J media campaigns. Dr. Fairman is the co-director of the $20 million RWJF Future of Nursing Scholars program and the Director Emerita of the Barbara Bates Center for the Study of the History of Nursing at Penn. She is an American Academy of Nursing and Philadelphia College of Physicians Fellow. She serves on the boards of the Visiting Nurses Association of Philadelphia and CGFSN. Dr. Fairman served as the 2009 IOM/AAN/ANF Scholar in Residence and worked with the Committee on the Future of Nursing. She is the first nurse to be invited to deliver the Garrison Lecture at the American Association for the History of Medicine, and the first nurse to address the American Philosophical Society. Internationally, she serves as a historical research consultant to IPASVI, Rome, Italy.
Funded Program Grants
2013 - 2021 Co-Director, Robert Wood Johnson, Future of Nursing Scholar’s Program, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, $20,000,000 (Co-Director, Susan Hassmiller).
Funded Research Grants
2013 - 2015 Research Manager, PG, Principal Investigator, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, $50,000.
2009 - 2010 ANA/AAN/ANF Distinguished Nurse Scholar in Residence at the Institute of Medicine, Washington, D.C., $75,000.
2007 – 2011 Practice Politics: The History of Nurse Practitioners, 1975 to the Present, PG, Principal Investigator, $230,000, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Investigator in Health Policy Award.
The first recommendation coming out of the future of nursing report is to “remove scope-of-practice barriers.” Since the 1970s, the Federal Trade Commission and nursing leaders have been concerned about state regulations that limit the ability of nurse practitioners to perform routine tasks such as ordering tests or conducting physicals. Dr. Fairman is examining these regulations for their implications in restraint of trade, imposing hardships on patients, and increasing costs.
Opportunities to Learn and Collaborate at Penn Nursing
From 2006 through 2015, Dr. Fairman served as Director of Penn Nursing’s Barbara Bates Center for the Study of the History of Nursing, where she is now a faculty member. The Center provides stipends to fellows, facilitates interdisciplinary study with Penn departments such as history and sociology of science, and maintains a repository of historical materials for use by students and researchers. Dr. Fairman works with colleagues at the University of Virginia, the University of Wisconsin, and elsewhere to promote understanding of historical influences on current nursing practice.
Selected Career Highlights
2008 - present Senior Fellow, Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics, University of Pennsylvania
2019 The Jean Kelly Endowed Lectureship, School of Nursing, University of Alabama Birmingham,
2019 The Renee Fox Honorary Lectureship in Medicine, Culture, and Society (first nurse recipient)
2018 The Garrison Lecture, American Association for the History of Medicine (first nurse recipient)
2018 The Kate Hurd Meade Lecture, College of Physicians of Philadelphia
2018 Annual Hixon Lecture in the History of Medicine, Dept. of History and Philosophy of Medicine at Kansas University Medical Center
2017 Ada Fort Honorary Lectureship, Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, Emory University, Atlanta, GA
2015 Nursing Outlook Award for Best Policy Article (Awarded for History Counts: How History Can Shape our Understanding of Heath Policy. Nursing Outlook, 61, 346-52).
2014 Mary M. Roberts Award for Exemplary Historical Research Writing, edited book, American Association for the History of Nursing (Awarded for Rutledge Handbook on the Global History of Nursing, London: Rutledge.
2016-2019 IPASVI, Rome, Italy. Consultation Lead on History Research Section.
“Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health.” IPASVI Rome Nursing Board, Ministry of Health. Rome, Italy (2016).
“History Matters: How History Shapes Health Policy”. Round Table, IPASVI Center for Excellence, Rome, Italy (2016).
“A New Era in Education and Research”. Closing Keynote, 10th International Nursing Conference, Korean Society of Nursing Science, Seoul, Korea (2015).
“The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health. Where Are We Now?”. Opening Keynote, 10th International Nursing Conference, Korean Society of Nursing Science, Seoul, Korea (2015).
“Empowering Women and Strengthening Health Systems and Services Through Investing in Nursing and Midwifery Enterprise Lessons from Lower Income Countries”, Institute of Medicine workshop, Bellagio, Italy (2014).
“The Past and Present of Nursing Science in the USA.” University of Rome Tor Vegata, Rome, Italy (2014).
“Future of Nursing: Orientating the Change and Guiding the Care Toward the Excellence.” Centro Di Eccellenza Per La Cultura E La Ricerca Infermieristica , Rome, Italy (2014).
“A Tale of Four Countries: Lessons Learned for Nursing Leadership from Government Reviews of Health Services,” International Council of Nurses, Melbourne, Australia (2013).
“Nurses as Catalysts for Transforming International and National Health Policy,” International Council of Nurses, Melbourne, Australia (2013).
“The PhD Pipeline: An Imperative for All Nursing Faculty,” Plenary Presentation, America Association of Colleges of Nursing, Doctoral Education Conference, San Diego, CA (2019).
“We Went to Mississippi”: Nurses and Civil Rights Activism of the Mid-1960s,” American Philosophical Society, Fall Meeting, Philadelphia, PA (2018).
“Nurses and Social Justice,” Keynote Address, American Association for the History of Nursing, San Diego, CA (2018).
“Health Policy: APRNs Working to the Full Extent of the Law,” Keynote Address, Gerontology Advanced Practice Nurse Association, Baltimore, MD (2018).
“We Went to Mississippi”: Nurses and Civil Rights Activism of the Mid-1960s, The 2018 Fielding H. Garrison Lecture, The American Association for the History of Medicine, Los Angeles, CA (2018).
“Update on the RWJF Future of Nursing Scholars Program, First Cohort Data.” Panel Presentation and Moderator, Doctoral Education Conference, Association of American Colleges of Nursing, Ft. Myers, FLA (2018).
“Service is the Rent We Pay”: Nurses and Social Justice.” Kate Hurd-Meade Lecture, College of Physicians of Philadelphia, PA (2018).
“Finding Susan Reverby: Celebration of Susan Reverby,” Panel Presentation, The American Association for the History of Medicine, Nashville, TN (2017).
“Incorporating Medical History into the Professional Curriculum,” Panel Presentation, The American Association for the History of Medicine, Nashville, TN (2017).
“Nursing and Social Justice.” Annual Policy Conference, American Academy of Nursing, Washington, DC (2017).
“Embracing the Past, Envisioning the Future: Nursing in Social Movement.” Annual Convention Keynote, National Student Nurses’ Association, Dallas, TX (2017).
“Service is the Rent We Pay”: Nurses in/and out of Social Movements.” Ada Fort Honorary Lectureship, Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, Emory University, Decatur, GA (2017).
“Making History: From the University of Cincinnati to the Future of Nursing.” The Annual Cecil Striker Lecture. University of Cincinnati School of Nursing, Cincinnati, Ohio (2016).