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Welcome to the New Academic Year, 2019-2020

Welcome back to Penn Nursing! It is my pleasure and privilege to welcome our returning students, our faculty, and our staff to a new academic year. I’d also like to welcome Penn Nursing’s new additions: 96 BSN, 80 Accelerated BSN, 118 MSN, 88 Post-MSN, 9 PhD, and 33 DNP students.

The beginning of an academic year is always full of possibility. We will continue to undertake the education and cutting-edge research that has made us the #1 nursing school in the world (and for the world) and #1 in NIH funding among all nursing schools nationwide. A new year brings opportunities for innovation—to address challenging problems and bring new ideas, processes, and products to life. We at Penn Nursing are primed to do just that—and I am privileged to be a part of this vibrant community.

The combined efforts of our alumni, students, faculty, staff, supporters, and friends truly make it possible to succeed and excel. It’s a good reminder that we are stronger together. We rarely accomplish anything on our own. Every one of us contributes to Penn Nursing’s stellar and well-deserved reputation as a global health leader. For the part that you play—thank you.

Year of the Nurse and Midwife

I am excited to let you know that we are about to embark on a year that will elevate and showcase nurses. The World Health Organization (WHO) has designated 2020 the Year of the Nurse and Midwife around the globe in honor of Florence Nightingale’s 200th birthday and to recognize the impact of nurses. Penn Nursing will celebrate with a range of events and activities across the Philadelphia area designed to bring our stories to the public and to advance support of our work and its impact. I invite you to be a part of these celebrations—because it is truly a milestone occasion: it is the first time that the WHO has selected a profession to be the focus of a “Year.” Nurses play a critical role in global health, and I am delighted to see our profession and impact highlighted in this way.

Keep an eye on your email and the Penn Nursing website for Year of the Nurse and Midwife events in 2020! We look forward to hearing your ideas as to how we can best celebrate this year!

Strategic Innovation Priorities Update

There is more exciting news as well. We continue to work toward our strategic priorities in the areas of education and leadership, research and discovery, practice, and global health and wellness, which—as you know—serve as a framework for our $60 million Innovating for Life and Living Campaign. This past year has been nothing short of transformative, with approximately 75 percent of the campaign goal now met. Thanks to the campaign, we have new funding for education and technical innovations, new professorships, scholarships, and more.

It has been especially gratifying to see so many of our faculty, staff, and students contribute to the campaign through scholarships, Penn Nursing’s Annual Fund, and other vehicles. Those of us who live the Penn Nursing story every day know that supporting innovation is critical.

Faculty News

Congratulations are certainly in order to several members of our faculty and alums as well:

  • Allison Buttenheim, PhD, MBA has been appointed as the Patricia Bleznak Silverstein and Howard A. Silverstein Endowed Term Chair in Global Women’s Health.
  • The Council for the Advancement of Nursing Science selected Dalmacio Dennis Flores, PhD, ACRN to participate in the 2019 Duck-Hee Kang Memorial Mentored Workshop, recognizing him as an outstanding early career nurse scientist.
  • Diane L. Spatz, PhD, RN-BC, FAAN was recognized by the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetrics, and Neonatal Nurses with their Award of Excellence in Research.
  • Nancy A. Hodgson, PhD, RN, FAAN has been appointed Chair of the Clinical Management of Patients in Community-based Settings Study Section in the Center for Scientific Review of the National Institutes of Health.
  • Mary Ersek was inducted into the Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing’s International Nurse Researcher Hall of Fame.
  • José A. Bauermeister, PhD, MPH was chosen to for the Aspen Institute’s two-year Health Innovators Fellowship to develop new approaches to improve the health and wellbeing of Americans.
  • In October, the American Academy of Nursing will induct Kimberly Kovach Trout, PhD, CNM, APRN, FACNM and Linda A. Jacobs, PhD, CRNP as 2019 Academy fellows.
  • Diane L. Spatz, PhD, RN-BC, FAAN; Marion Leary, RN, MSN, MPH, FAHA; and Tarik S. Khan, MSN, RN, FNP-BC, CRNP were named 2019 Influencers of Healthcare by the Philadelphia Inquirer.

As the Dean of Penn Nursing, it’s exciting to see our faculty receive well-deserved recognition and exciting opportunities to further their research and serve for the public good. I’m also quite proud knowing that our world-renowned faculty are always at the forefront of discovery and innovation, collaborating with schools across the University of Pennsylvania and building critical partnerships.

Our students truly benefit from the vast knowledge and experiences that Penn Nursing faculty bring. This is truly the Power of Penn, and the power of a Penn Nursing education.

Upcoming Events

In addition to the Year of the Nurse and Midwife events coming up in 2020, we also have opportunities for you to engage with our School and the wider university coming up this fall, including:

  • Story Slam Film Viewing, September 9
  • School of Nursing Back-to-School Carnival, September 16
  • Family Weekend, November 1-3
  • Homecoming Weekend, November 8-9
  • Norma M. Lang Award for Scholarly Practice and Policy, - which will be awarded to Dr. Charlene Compher, November 21

I want to let you know that our second annual Story Slam will take place on February 12, 2020—so start thinking now about a story you might want to tell about your experience in the lab, at the bedside, on a research project, etc. Last year’s inaugural story slam was a real highlight, filled with incredible stories that highlight the important (and sometimes heartbreaking) work we do as nurses. I hope to hear your story in February.

With every new academic year, our overarching goal remains the same: a high-quality experience for our students. Penn Nursing faculty and our initiatives serve to enhance the education our students receive and prepare them to succeed in whatever career path they choose. Students, we are here to support you in that journey. You are the future of innovation and change-making. You are the future of health. I wish you all the best and much success.

I look forward to seeing you at the upcoming fall events, as well as next year’s Year of the Nurse and Midwife celebrations and the Story Slam. This will be a very special academic year indeed. Thank you for being a part of it.


Dean Antonia M. Villarruel