A world-class city filled with art and culture and an incredible campus that offers cutting edge resources–that’s what students receive at Penn Nursing. And that’s just the start. Penn Nursing and the wider university offer something for everyone, as well as a lifelong community.

Penn Nursing is globally known for educating dynamic nurses—because our School values evidence-based science and health equity. That’s where our expertise lies, whether in research, practice, community health, or beyond. Everything we do upholds a through-line of innovation, encouraging our exceptional students, alumni, and faculty share their knowledge and skills to reshape health care.

Penn Nursing students are bold and unafraid, ready to embrace any challenge that comes their way. Whether you are exploring a career in nursing or interested in advancing your nursing career, a Penn Nursing education will help you meet your goals and become an innovative leader, prepared to change the face of health and wellness.

Penn Nursing is the #1-ranked nursing school in the world. Its highly-ranked programs help develop highly-skilled leaders in health care who are prepared to work alongside communities to tackle issues of health equity and social justice to improve health and wellness for everyone.

Penn Nursing’s rigorous academic curricula are taught by world renowned experts, ensuring that students at every level receive an exceptional Ivy League education. From augmented reality classrooms and clinical simulations to coursework that includes experiential global travel to clinical placements in top notch facilities, a Penn Nursing education prepares our graduates to lead.

New Leadership Appointment for Penn Nursing Professor

Catherine C. McDonald, PhD, RN, FAAN, has been appointed Chair of Penn Nursing’s Department of Family and Community Health effective July 1, 2024. Currently, she is the Vice-Chair of the Department and the Dr. Hildegarde Reynolds Endowed Term Chair of Primary Care Nursing.

March 14, 2024

“Dr. McDonald is an accomplished and well-respected researcher in injury science who has demonstrated strong leadership abilities both within and outside of Penn Nursing,” said Penn Nursing Dean Antonia M. Villarruel. “As Vice Chair of FCH, she has excelled at providing mentoring and support to faculty teaching in the undergraduate program and she supports and provides direction for innovative teaching and curricular approaches. Her service and leadership also extend beyond our School and has been impactful at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and as Secretary of the University Faculty Senate. She is ideally qualified to take on this key leadership role.”

About Dr. McDonald

McDonald is a pediatric nurse scientist with a focused program of research aimed at promoting health and reducing injury in youth. She leads a strong portfolio of research on adolescent injury prevention funded by the National Institutes of Health and Centers for Disease Control. She has published over 80 peer-reviewed journal articles on injury prevention related to children and adolescents, in the topics of driving behaviors, motor vehicle crashes, child passenger safety, concussion, and community violence exposure. McDonald is Co-Director of the PENN Injury Science Center (PISC)-a Centers for Disease Control (CDC) funded Injury Control Research Center. She has led research initiatives in the development of interventions for young drivers, as well as randomized controlled trial design, novel assessment of adolescent driver behavior, and recruitment and long-term retention of adolescent drivers. She is also the Nursing Discipline Director for the Leadership Education in Adolescent Health Program at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP).

As one of the few nurse scientists with a program of research in injury science, she has collaborated with researchers at CHOP in adolescent driving behaviors and concussion. As a nurse scientist, she has expertise in driving simulation to rigorously assess adolescent driving behaviors in a safe, controlled environment, while being able to draw on the public health and clinical implications. In her collaboration with the Minds Matter Concussion Program at CHOP, she contributes to the advances related to school health and identifying implications for returning to driving after concussion.

McDonald’s research seeks to help improve the health of adolescents, where injury is the leading cause of death. When children and adolescents have the opportunity to attain their highest level of health and wellness, their health outcomes as adults can be improved. In identifying factors that contribute to adolescent injury morbidity and mortality, she seeks to help support policies and structures that can provide equitable opportunities for positive adolescent health outcomes. In her teaching and research training with mentees, she works to instill the foundational tenets of how nurses can play a key role in reducing factors that disadvantage or harm vulnerable groups.

McDonald was inducted as a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing in 2017. She received the Emerging Scholar Award from Villanova University (2016); the Rising Star Research Award from Eastern Nursing Research Society (2015); and the Ann Wolbert Burgess Endowed Student Award for Excellence and Leadership in Nursing from Penn Nursing (2010). McDonald earned her PhD from the University of Pennsylvania (2010); her MSN from Monmouth University (2006); and her BSN from Villanova University (2000).

More Stories