Baltimore, Md. – After more than a decade of leadership at the University of Maryland School of Nursing, Barbara R. Heller, EdD, RN, FAAN, Dean of the School of Nursing has announced her resignation, effective June 28, 2002.
Dr. Heller will take on new responsibilities as the School's first Rauschenbach Distinguished Professor, an endowed professorship dedicated to the improvement of nursing and nursing education through research and teaching.
Dr. Heller will also undertake university-wide administrative responsibilities as Executive Director of a newly established Center for the Advancement of Health Professions Education at the University of Maryland Baltimore.
In anticipation of critical shortages in all the health professions, the Center will focus on workforce development, promote interdisciplinary education for collaborative practice, provide leadership and management training for health care professionals, and help shape state and national policy as it relates to health professions education.
"I look back with great pride and satisfaction on all we have accomplished during my twelve-year tenure," said Dr. Heller. "Now I'm eagerly anticipating the opportunity to shape and guide the new Center, which will play a critical role in enabling all the health professions to meet the emerging challenges of the 21st century."
Under Dr. Heller's direction, the School of Nursing has flourished. For the last 10 years, U.S. News & World Report has consistently ranked the School among the top ten in the nation, and five graduate programs were awarded top ten status in the year 2000.
Student enrollment has increased significantly. The quality of the School's learning and research environment has been enhanced with the opening of a new $38 million, state-of-the-art building. New programs have been added at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, including one of the nation's first RN-to-BSN on-line options. Outreach initiatives have been greatly enhanced across the state to better serve residents of the Eastern Shore, Western Maryland, and Montgomery and Charles County via distance learning technology.
The School's research and scholarship portfolio has significantly expanded, attracting more than $7 million in sponsored research, training and other grant and contract awards. In addition, its clinical enterprise has grown to include five Wellmobiles, 14 school-based wellness centers, a geriatric care center, a family support center, the Open Gates Clinic, and a pediatric ambulatory care center. And with almost a year remaining in its first annual fundraising campaign, the School has already surpassed its $7 million goal.
Dr. Heller's academic and administrative experience spans undergraduate, master's and doctoral education. Throughout her career, she has maintained a commitment to research and scholarship. She is a pioneer in computer applications in nursing and health care, and is credited with having established the world's first graduate level program of study in Nursing/Health Informatics.
Dr. Heller is widely sought as an expert commentator on workforce shortages in the health professions and on health care policy at both the local and national levels. Legislators, government officials, and industry leaders often consult with her, and she is frequently interviewed by both print and electronic media.