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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.

Penn Nursing Dean Emerita to Receive 2024 National Humanism in Medicine Medal

Afaf Ibrahim Meleis, PhD, FAAN, LL, Professor of Nursing and Sociology and Penn Nursing Dean Emerita, will be one of three awardees of the 2024 National Humanism in Medicine Medal from The Arnold P. Gold Foundation, the leading nonprofit dedicated to humanism in health care for all.

April 26, 2024

“I am deeply touched that my contributions and humble impact are celebrated by the Gold Foundation,” said Meleis. “I accept the honor on behalf of my mentees and collaborators who continue to inspire me with their dedication to humanistic care and scholarship.”

“This is a well-deserved honor,” said Penn Nursing Dean Antonia M. Villarruel, PhD, RN, FAAN.

“Afaf Meleis’ leadership and commitment to women embodies humanism in health care—compassionate, collaborative, and scientific excellence. She has had a global impact in advocating for humanistic care. The echoes of her dedication to a more equitable society are foundational of our School, and we join the Gold Foundation in applauding her many contributions.”

Penn’s Interim President J. Larry Jameson, MD, PhD, who worked closely with Meleis while dean of the Perelman School of Medicine, said his colleague and friend is “richly deserving of this recognition.” Jameson continued: “Through her scholarship, Afaf Meleis has championed the essential role of nurses in providing humanistic care on a global scale, and through her teaching and mentorship, she has trained compassionate leaders who have made health care delivery more patient-centered and equitable.”

Meleis is an internationally renowned nurse scientist and medical sociologist who has made an extraordinary impact on nursing, global health, and women’s health through her groundbreaking research and mentorship.

Much of her life’s work has been dedicated to uncovering the experiences and the voices of vulnerable women who are burdened by societal inequities, multiplicity of roles, differential compensation and rewards, and the gender divide. Her leadership in the International Council on Women’s Health Issues played a central role in inspiring scholarship on women’s health and in bringing together world leaders to form partnerships to improve the lives of women.

Born in Egypt, she was named “one of the great immigrants in the United States of America,” by the Carnegie Corporation, and designated as a Living Legend by the American Academy of Nursing. She is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine, the recipient of many honorary doctorates and professorships from American and global universities. She has been invited as a consultant in more than 40 countries.

Meleis is the author of more than 200 articles, 7 books, and numerous monographs, proceedings, and policy papers. She has had an enormous international impact from her Transition Theory, visionary research on women’s health, to her mentorship of hundreds of students, faculty, clinicians, and administrators, within the United States and around the globe.

Meleis was the Margaret Bond Simon Dean of Nursing, and director of the school’s WHO collaborating center from 2002 through 2014. This followed her 34 years tenure as a professor at the University of California, San Francisco, and where she is a professor emeritus. Currently, she serves as a trustee of Aga Khan University in Pakistan and East Africa, and of the Buck Institute for Research on Aging, in California. She also serves on the National Advisory Committee for the Josiah Macy Foundation Faculty Scholars Program in New York City.

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