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Antonia M. Villarruel Reappointed Dean of the Penn School of Nursing

The announcement was made today by Penn President Amy Gutmann and Provost Wendell Pritchett.

“As our University, nation, and world continue to grapple with a crippling health crisis, as well as a consistent and urgent cry for social justice,” Gutmann said, “it is an especially critical time for nursing education, research, and practice. Historically marginalized and disadvantaged populations face a higher burden of illness, injury, disability, and mortality, and their access to and use of care is limited. Nursing, and specifically Penn Nursing, has long focused on social justice and improving health outcomes for the most vulnerable. Dean Villarruel has the vision, energy, skills, and broad support needed to thrive and succeed in a second term as dean.”

Under Villarruel’s leadership, Penn Nursing has been ranked by QS World University as the top nursing school in the world annually since 2017. Her strategic plan, Leading to a Healthier Future, has catalyzed progress across the entire Penn Nursing enterprise. Accomplishments include a near-doubling of National Institutes of Health funding, to $15.3 million in fiscal year 2019 from $7.8 million in fiscal year 2015; the launch of a post-master’s Doctor of Nursing Practice program; the establishment of a formal Academic Practice Partnership with Penn Medicine; the successful transition of the Living Independently for Elders program to Trinity Health; and the creation of strategic global initiatives in regions including Latin America, Africa, and Southeast Asia.

“Dean Villarruel’s response to the present pandemic embodies resilience in all its forms,” Gutmann said. “Her leadership has been inspired and inspiring.”

“We believe that Dean Villarruel is exceptionally well-positioned to lead the School of Nursing through a period characterized by great opportunity and change,” Pritchett said. “We wholeheartedly agree with the unanimous sentiment of the Review Committee and will enthusiastically recommend to the Trustees that Antonia M. Villarruel be reappointed as dean of the School of Nursing.”

The Review Committee was chaired by Dean Andrew M. Hoffman of Penn’s School of Veterinary Medicine. Villarruel was first appointed dean of Penn Nursing in 2014, and her second term will run through June 30, 2026.