of the nation's top academic nursing leaders, Dr. Cary has devoted her career to building capacity in our nation's nursing and public health workforce through her contributions to education, research, and public policy. Prior to her appointment at Florida Gulf Coast University in 2019, Dr. Cary served as Dean of the School of Nursing and Health Studies at the University of Missouri Kansas, director of Loyola University New Orleans School of Nursing, and as associate dean at the University of Massachusetts Amherst School of Nursing. Her previous leadership roles included director of the PhD program at George Mason University School of Nursing, associate dean at Louisiana State University Health Science Center School of Nursing, and project director at The Catholic University of America School of Nursing.
On the national stage, Dr. Cary was appointed to the National Advisory Council for Nursing Education and Practice, which is convened by the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services to advise the Secretary and Congress on issues related to the nursing workforce. Her commitment to leading change in the nursing and public health arenas has extended to serving as president of the Association of Community Health Nurse Educators, president of the Primary Care Policy Fellows Alumni Association, president of the Jesuit Conference of Nursing Programs, and chair of the Quad Council for Public Health Nursing. At the state and local levels, Dr. Cary was a founding member of the Missouri Center for Nursing and currently serves on the Board of Directors for Truman Hospital, the VNA of Kansas City, and the Bluford Health Care Leadership Institute.
An alumnus of the prestigious Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Executive Nurse Fellows program, Dr. Cary also served as president of the RWJF Executive Nurse Fellows Alumni Group. Her distinguished career has been widely recognized by her peers, and she holds the distinction of being a Health Resources and Service Administration Primary Care Fellow, a Fellow of the National Academies of Practice (FNAP), and a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing (FAAN).
The author of more than 80 publications, Dr. Cary's scholarship has focused on health policy, credentialing, public health, leadership, curriculum, and interprofessional education. As a former Scholar in Residence with the American Nurses Credentialing Center, she researched the value of certification in nursing and its impact on healthcare delivery. Her landmark study and subsequent publications have stimulated others in the certification industry in nursing and in public health to further validate the importance of certification as a valued credential nationally and internationally.
Dr. Cary has been a leading advocate for AACN and its mission to ensure excellence in nursing education. At the association, she has served on the Board of Directors since 2012 and has been instrumental in advancing many of AACN's priority projects, including a national study on the Doctor of Nursing Practice completed by the RAND Corporation in 2014 and the AACN-commissioned study on Advancing Healthcare Transformation: A New Era for Academic Nursing
released in 2016. Her tireless service to AACN has included chairing the Membership Committee, the Leadership Development Advisory Group, and the Organizational Leadership Network, as well as serving on the Finance Committee, as a Grassroots Liaison, and as the Board's representative to the AACN-Gold Foundation joint advisory board.