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 Bill O’Connor, AACN’s Editorial Director at

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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 >>