Member News

AACN Members and related stakeholders are encouraged to submit articles of interest, research awards and opportunities, member school announcements, new partnerships or grant-funded initiatives, and resources, to the AACN for inclusion on the AACN's website and AACN News Watch weekly newsletter.

Submissions must be received Monday at 12:00 pm (ET) in order to appear in that week’s issue. Send your article via email to Amy McElroy at

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July 2024

  • Duke University School of Nursing received a $1.4 million T32 grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This grant, spread over five years, will fund the school’s innovative Nurse-LEADS program (Training in Nurse-LEd models of care ADdressing the Social determinants of health). The grant supports predoctoral/postdoctoral research training and enables institutions to recruit for training in specified shortage areas, with the goal to prepare trainees for careers that significantly impact the nation’s health-related research needs. Read more >>
  • Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP) received a $217,997 grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Nursing Loan Forgiveness Program, which supports students in master’s and doctoral nursing programs who commit to serving as a nurse educator at any accredited school of nursing or as a clinical educator at an accredited health facility for four years. A total of 17 IUP students in the master’s, DNP to PhD, and PhD programs have committed to the Nursing Loan Forgiveness Program, which provides up to $40,000 for an academic year. Read more >>
  • Johns Hopkins University received a $1 billion gift from Bloomberg Philanthropies to make Hopkins free for most medical students and expand financial aid for future nurses and public health pioneers, infusing these critical professions with top talent from all socioeconomic and geographic backgrounds and communities. In addition to investing in future generations of physicians, this endowment will support leaders in other critical health-related fields through increased graduate financial aid in the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and School of Nursing. Read more >>
  • Old Dominion University (ODU) School of Nursing received a $20 million gift from Dennis and Jan Ellmer to provide scholarships for students pursuing health sciences degrees. Students will be eligible for the scholarships if they are enrolled in ODU’s School of Health Professions, School of Public Health, College of Health Sciences, or School of Nursing. Read more >>
  • Texas Wesleyan University’s Graduate Programs of Nurse Anesthesia received a $500,000 grant from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. The grant specifically benefits Texas-native students, who make up about 35% of the program. This funding will facilitate a unique two-month clinical rotation focused on trauma care within local hospitals. Students will start the specialty clinicals in late spring 2025. Read more >>
  • The University of North Carolina (UNC) Greensboro School of Nursing received a $2.4 million grant to expand and enroll more nursing students. The funding, allocated from the UNC System Office, is part of the legislature’s efforts to increase nursing degree completions by at least 50 percent. Read more >>
  • The University of Southern Indiana’s (USI) College of Nursing and Health Professions received $5 million from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, to continue the Geriatrics Workforce Enhancement Program (GWEP) for an additional five years. USI and its partners are among an elite group, working with 41 new or returning GWEPs. Read more >>
  • Dr. Stacy Barnes, associate professor of practice and director of the Wisconsin Geriatric Education Center in Marquette University’s College of Nursing, received a $5 million HRSA grant to educate and train the health workforce, address care gaps, and improve health outcomes for older adults. Approximately $1.7 million of this award will be dedicated to Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. Read more >>
  • Dr. Jing Wang, dean of the Florida State University of College of Nursing, has been invited to serve on the National Advisory Council for Nursing Research (NACNR) at the National Institute of Health. Dr. Wang joins an interprofessional group of researchers, including representatives from several AACN member schools. Per the NACNR charter, the council advises the secretary and the director of the National Institute of Nursing Research. Read more >>
  • Dr. Brigit Carter, Chief Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Officer at the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), has been selected for the inaugural class of fellows of the Academy of Diversity Leaders in Nursing. The new fellowship, established by the National Black Nurses Association, recognizes nurse leaders for their significant and sustained contributions to advancing justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion in nursing and health care. Read more >>
  • The University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) and the University of Rochester School of Nursing are extending the groundbreaking UR Nursing Scholars program for an additional three years through Summer 2027. This initiative will provide tuition-free nursing education to an additional 300 students in the accelerated baccalaureate program, significantly bolstering efforts to address the nursing shortage in the Rochester region. Read more >>
  • The American Academy of Nursing has just announced a cohort of distinguished nurse leaders, including many representatives from AACN member schools, as its 2024 class of new Fellows. The inductees will be recognized for their substantial and sustained impact on health and health care at the Academy’s annual Health Policy Conference, taking place on October 31 – November 2, 2024, in Washington, DC. The new Fellows represent 37 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, and 14 countries, joining over 3,000 current Fellows. Read more >>
  • On June 18, AACN hosted a Health Policy Advisory Council (HPAC) Retreat. The council was joined by Jon Fansmith, Senior Vice President of Government Affairs from the American Council on Education and Dr. Olga Yakusheva, economist and professor from the University of Michigan. Key highlights included insightful discussions of what is taking place on Capitol Hill, assuring a thriving nursing workforce, engaging in Value-Informed Care, and working group sessions outlining projects for the remainder of the year. View HPAC Committee >>
  • Dr. Brooke A. Flinders has been selected as the next president of Frontier Nursing University (FNU). Dr. Flinders brings extensive experience as an advanced practice nurse, educator, and college administrator. She will leave her current position as Professor of Nursing and Associate Provost for Faculty Affairs at Miami University (Ohio) to assume the presidency at FNU on August 1, 2024. Read more >>

June 2024

  • A recently expanded partnership between Aurora University, University Center at McHenry County College, and Northwestern Medicine aims to increase educational opportunities for nurses across the community. Through the partnership, registered nurses and others who have graduated with an associate degree in nursing can complete their bachelor’s degree in nursing through Aurora University in just three semesters. Read more >>
  • Emory University announced a five-year partnership with Oglethorpe University to combat the national nursing shortage. The collaboration will create a pathway for students with bachelor's degrees in other disciplines to complete an "entry-to-practice pre-licensure degree program." Students graduating from Oglethorpe University with a bachelor's degree will be able to enroll in Emory's Master of Nursing program. Read more >>
  • The University of California Irvine nursing program receives a $5 million grant from CalOptima Health for the new NURSE-OC Program. The goal of the NURSE-OC program aligns with the school’s strategic plan by enabling training for a diverse population of nursing students and expanding the workforce available to deliver quality care for Orange County’s most vulnerable populations. Read more >>
  • The University of New Mexico College of Nursing received over $450,000 from Western Sky Community Care to fund scholarships for Doctor of Nursing Practice students enrolled in nurse practitioner and nurse-midwifery programs. The scholarship will be awarded to 10 students in the 2024-2025 academic year. Read more >>
  • The University of Texas at Tyler received $200,000 in funding to assist the city of Longview with a project under their Greater Longview Optimal Wellness initiative. This subaward is part of a four-year grant given to Longview by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The SAMHSA grant will support Narcan and Naloxone distribution and training throughout the Longview area. Read more >>
  • The West Virginia University School of Nursing announced a partnership with Arellano University-International Nursing Program, which is based in the Philippines. The program is a 3-plus-1 curriculum, with Arellano students remaining in the Philippines for the first three years of their Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree before relocating to Morgantown to complete their senior year at the WVU School of Nursing. Read more >>
  • Dr. Hudson Santos is the new dean of the University of Miami (UM) School of Nursing and Health Studies, effective June 1. Dr. Santos joined the UM faculty two years ago as a tenured professor and the inaugural Dolores J. Chambreau Endowed Chair in Nursing. He was formerly the Beerstecher-Blackwell Distinguished Term Scholar and a tenured associate professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Nursing. He was also the Director of Training and Mentorship Division for the Institute for Environmental Health Solutions at the Gillings School of Global Public Health. Read more >>
  • Dr. Emily Roper has been appointed dean of Drexel University’s College of Nursing and Health Professions, effective September 1, 2024. Dr. Roper will join Drexel from Sam Houston State University, where she is the current dean of the College of Health Sciences. As dean, Dr. Roper led the development of a college strategic plan, oversaw the design of a new Health Professions Building, and completed a feasibility study with $15 million in funding to support the expansion of the undergraduate nursing program. Read more >>
  • The University of Washington (UW) School of Nursing has announced a $10 million bequest from UW chemistry professor emeritus Larry R. Dalton and his wife, Nicole A. Boand. The gift, the largest in the history of the School of Nursing, will increase access to nursing education, with $8 million dedicated to cost-of-attendance scholarships. The remaining $2 million will be used to enrich and expand clinical education, including the recruitment of clinical nurse educators who can provide practical, on-the-job training for students. Read more >>
  • Cizik School of Nursing at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston has launched a first-of-its-kind continuing professional development series to prepare nurse practitioners and physician assistants to take the American College of Cardiology® Certified Cardiovascular Knowledge Examination. This online, self-paced series provides didactic instruction to support in-person clinical fellowships and training. Read more >>
  • Springer Nature has published The Rise of Chinese American Leaders in U.S. Higher Education: Stories and Roadmaps, which includes a contribution from Dr. Lin Zhan, dean of the UCLA School of Nursing. Her chapter, “Leading with Passion, Purpose, and Perseverance”, details Dr. Zhan’s unique journey in academia and is included as part of the book series: International Perspectives on Social Policy, Administration, and Practice.

May 2024

  • Dr. Linda Lewandowski has been appointed the new dean of Grand Valley State University’s Kirkhof College of Nursing, effective July 6. Dr. Lewandowski is a professor of nursing and former dean of the College of Nursing at the University of Toledo. She also served as the University of Toledo's Vice Provost for Health Affairs and Executive Director for University Health Services. Read more >>
  • Dr. Amy Hite will be the next dean at Pittsburgh State University’s Irene Ransom Bradley School of Nursing, effective June 9. Dr. Hite earned her BSN and MSN from Pitt State and her Doctorate from the University of Kansas. This summer she will complete her Doctor of Education with a focus in Higher Education Leadership from Lindenwood University. Read more >>
  • The University of North Carolina Wilmington College of Health and Human Services has announced that Dr. Patricia D. Suplee has accepted the role of Director of the School of Nursing and Irwin Belk Distinguished Professor of Nursing. She earned her MSN and PhD degrees in nursing from the University of Pennsylvania and a BSN from Indiana University. Most recently, Dr. Suplee has served as an associate professor at Rutgers University, School of Nursing. Read more >>
  • Dr. Norma Hall-Thoms will serve as the next dean of the University of Missouri–St. Louis College of Nursing, effective July 1. Dr. Hall-Thoms formerly served as dean of the University of Indianapolis School of Nursing. She holds a master’s degree in nursing administration from the University of Indianapolis and a DNP in organization and health systems leadership from the University of Southern Indiana. Read more >>
  • San Diego State University (SDSU) Imperial Valley’s nursing program received a gift of $500,000, courtesy of Carolyn and Cliff Colwell. This contribution will benefit students enrolled in the RN to BSN program. This five-year donation, which is unrestricted, will allow SDSU to strategically allocate funds to meet the program's evolving needs. Read more >>
  • The University of Rochester (UR) School of Nursing will host an inaugural Experiential Learning Summit, June 6-7 in Rochester, NY. The UR School of Nursing was honored with the AACN’s 2023 Innovations in Professional Nursing Education Award this past fall. Attendees at the summit will engage with national leaders in mobile learning, educational technology, and competency-based education and have opportunities to explore cutting-edge practices that are shaping the future of nursing education. Visit the website to learn more and to register.

April 2024

  • Faculty at the University of Illinois Chicago College of Nursing received a grant to create virtual reality simulations that will deliver diversity, equity, and inclusion training to nursing students and faculty. The $20,000 in funding was provided by the American Nurses Association’s National Commission to Address Racism in Nursing. The project is one of 10 selected from more than 130 submissions. Read more >>
  • The University of Maine School of Nursing has received a four-year, $1.96 million grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Advanced Nursing Education Workforce Program to provide financial assistance to and new educational opportunities for aspiring family nurse practitioners who can help improve access to primary care in Maine’s rural and underserved regions. Read more >>
  • Dr. Patricia Kinser has been appointed to lead the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) School of Nursing as interim dean, effective April 15. Dr. Kinser is an endowed professor and currently serves as assistant dean for research in scholarship and innovation in the school. She is an alum of VCU and joined the faculty in 2012. She will replace Dr. Jean Giddens, who will be the new dean at the University of Kansas School of Nursing. Dr. Giddens is Chair of AACN’s Board of Directors. Read more >>
  • Dr. Alicia Ribar has been selected to serve as dean of the University of Cincinnati College of Nursing, effective July 1. Currently, she is professor and executive associate dean for academics and accreditation at the University of South Carolina (USC). Dr. Ribar joined USC in 2016 serving as interim director of the Master of Science in Nursing and Doctor of Nursing Practice programs, assistant dean for graduate studies, and was named associate dean for academic affairs in 2020. Read more >>
  • Elissa Saunders has been appointed Chair of the Department of Nursing within the College of Nursing and Health Professions at Southwestern Oklahoma State University (SWOSU). She served as a registered nurse for 10 years before transitioning into nursing education. Before her appointment, she taught in the areas of women’s health and nursing research before transitioning into the role of nurse administrator. She earned her bachelor’s degree in nursing from SWOSU in 2010 and her master’s degree in nursing education in 2017. Read more >>

March 2024

  • Dr. Jean Giddens has been named dean of the University of Kansas (KU) Medical Center School of Nursing. Dr. Giddens is currently professor and dean of the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Nursing, where she has served for the past decade. She will become dean of KU School of Nursing on April 15. A prolific writer and scholar in nursing, Dr. Giddens is chair-elect of the AACN Board of Directors who begins her tenure as Board Chair on March 25. Read more >>
  • Dr. Joseph Tacy is the new Director of the JoAnne Gay Dishman School of Nursing at Lamar University. Dr. Tacy holds a PhD in nursing from The University of Texas at Tyler, an MSN from James Madison University, a bachelor's degree from West Virginia University, and an associate in nursing from Davis and Elkins College. Read more >>
  • Dr. Liz Sturgeon has been named the new director of the Western Kentucky University (WKU) School of Nursing and Allied Health in the WKU College of Health and Human Services. A nursing professor, she has served as the interim director of the nursing school since July 2023, and assumed the permanent position on March 1. She received ASN, BSN, and MSN degrees from WKU. Read more >>
  • Dr. Catherine Quay has been selected to join the faculty at the Elon University School of Health Sciences as an associate professor and will serve as chair of the Department of Nursing and director of the university’s nursing programs. She will begin in her new role on June 17. She is currently a course chair for holistic gerontological nursing at Drexel University’s College of Nursing and Health Professions. Read more >>
  • Dr. Kathleen McElroy has been named associate dean for the baccalaureate program at the University of Maryland School of Nursing. She served as the interim associate dean since June 2023. Prior to her appointment as interim dean, Dr. McElroy served as vice chair of the Department of Family and Community Health beginning in 2021. In 2020, she received the University of Maryland School of Nursing Excellence in Teaching Award for Undergraduate Education. Read more >>
  • Students entering University of Illinois Chicago College of Nursing pre-licensure programs this fall will take a new summer course to prepare them for the nursing program. The six-week online course, Pre-licensure Readiness Education Program for Aspiring Registered Nurses (PREPARE), will be delivered to BSN and MSN for non-RNs students. The program is funded with a $148,000 grant from the Illinois Board of Higher Education and will be offered free of charge to all students starting a pre-licensure program in 2024. Read more >>
  • Walla Walla University School of Nursing has received a $105,231 grant from the Washington Student Achievement Council to upgrade nursing simulation labs on the Portland campus. This is the third significant grant awarded to the School of Nursing in the past year, which total more than $490,000. Read more >>
  • Fairfield University’s Marion Peckham Egan School of Nursing and Health Studies has been awarded a four-year grant of $2.59 million from the Health Resources and Services Administration through its Advanced Nursing Education Workforce program. The grant will support the university’s Family Nurse Practitioner and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner programs. Read more >>

February 2024

  • Dr. Barbara Resnick, the Sonya Ziporkin Gershowitz Chair in Gerontology and associate dean for research at the University of Maryland School of Nursing, has been awarded a five-year, $2.13 million grant from the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute on Aging to address the treatment of pain in nursing home residents with dementia. The focus of this work is how to implement use in nursing homes of the recently revised Pain Management Clinical Practice Guideline from AMDA — The Society of Post Acute and Long-Term Care. Read more >>
  • Dr. Tsu-Yin Wu, professor and director of Center for Health Disparities Innovations and Studies at the Eastern Michigan University School of Nursing, has received funding from the National Institutes of Health for a study, “Adaptable Community-Engaged Intervention for Violence Prevention: Michigan Model.” The study team will employ both geographic information systems and photovoice approaches to engage communities in identifying multi-level risks and protective factors for firearm-related violence. Read more >>
  • The Missouri State University School of Nursing will expand its nursing program thanks to a $377,000 grant from the state’s Nursing Education Incentive Program. The grant will provide funds for two new faculty members to teach in the accelerated MSN program. Read more >>
  • Dr. Rosario Medina has been appointed the new dean of the University of New Mexico College of Nursing, effective June 3. She is currently the associate dean of Clinical and Community Affairs at the University of Colorado. She worked 25 years as a family nurse practitioner and researcher and is an expert in understanding underserved populations. Read more >>
  • Dr. Rhoberta Haley is the new dean at Pacific Lutheran University School of Nursing, effective February 1. She served as the dean of the School of Nursing and Health Professions at Chaminade University of Honolulu since 2019. Dr. Haley is a current member of the AACN Board of Directors. She holds a BSN from California State University, Sacramento, an MSN from the University of California, Los Angeles, and a PhD in nursing from the University of San Diego. Read more >>

January 2024

  • Dr. Amy L. Fry is the new dean of the College of Nursing at Purdue University Northwest (PNW), effective January 1, 2024. Dr. Fry served as interim dean since July 2023. After joining the college in 2022, Dr. Fry held positions as a clinical associate professor of Nursing and director of Online Programs. Prior to PNW, she served as a clinical nursing faculty member and associate dean of the School of Nursing and Health Sciences at Saint Xavier University. Read more >>
  • Dr. Danny Willis is the new dean of the College of Nursing at the University of Rhode Island, effective January 2, 2024. Dr. Willis served as dean and tenured professor at Saint Louis University (SLU) Trudy Busch Valentine School of Nursing since 2020. Prior to SLU, he was associate dean of academic affairs and professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Nursing; department chair and associate professor at the Boston College William F. Connell School of Nursing; and instructor of clinical nursing and coordinator of psychiatric nursing at the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in New Orleans. Read more >>
  • In September 2023, Dr. Patricia Sharpnack, dean and professor in the Breen School of Nursing and Health Professions at Ursuline College, advanced to serve as National League of Nursing (NLN) chair, having concluded her two-year term as chair-elect. She will serve in that role through 2025. Dr. Yolanda VanRiel, chair of the department of nursing at North Carolina Central University, was elected NLN chair-elect for 2023-25. Read more >>
  • The Vanderbilt University School of Nursing was awarded a Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Bureau of Health Workforce grant to create its new Nurse Education, Practice, Quality and Retention Simulation Education Training Program. The 3-year, $1.5 million grant will allow the school to expand simulation offerings for students, faculty, and other health professionals. Read more >>
  • Dr. Kelly Foltz-Ramos, assistant professor and director of simulation at the University at Buffalo School of Nursing (UB), received a 3-year, $1.5 million HRSA grant aimed at using virtual reality based experiential education to meet the needs of rural and underserved populations. Funding will support UB’s REACHvr (Rural and Underserved Education and Awareness for Community Health through Virtual Reality) program, which aims to offer evidence-based experiential education to pre-licensure undergraduate nursing students. Also, Dr. Kafuli Agbmenu, assistant professor at UB’s School of Nursing, received a National Institutes of Health grant to support her work on reproductive health care in African refugees.
  • Dr. Alicia Ribar, executive associate dean for Academic Affairs & Accreditation and professor at the University of South Carolina College of Nursing received a 4-year, $2.6 million HRSA grant aimed at furthering the advancement of Advanced Practice Registered Nurse training in the underserved rural regions of South Carolina. This grant supports the training of 100 Family Nurse Practitioner and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner fellows chosen to meet the healthcare needs of these rural communities. Read more >>