Edwards Named University of Maryland School of Nursing’s Associate Dean for the Master of Science in Nursing Program

March 23, 2023

Baltimore, Md.Lori A. Edwards, DrPH, MPH, BSN ’80, RN, PCH-CNS, BC, assistant professor, has been appointed associate dean for the University of Maryland School of Nursing’s (UMSON) Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program. Edwards has filled the role in an interim capacity since 2022 and previously served as co-director of the MSN specialty in Community/Public Health Nursing.

As associate dean, Edwards will support the UMSON master’s-level entry-into-nursing Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL) option, the three MSN specialties — Community/Public Health Nursing (CPH), Health Services Leadership and Management (HSLM), and Nursing Informatics — as well as the UMSON graduate certificate programs. She is responsible for providing vision and leadership for the master’s program, including innovative program development and integration of technology. She is also responsible for administration and program coordination, accreditation, curriculum planning, student recruitment, advisement, and retention. In addition, she will continue the School’s development of partnerships with other academic institutions and health care organizations.

The UMSON MSN program ranks in the top 10 nationwide among public schools, according to U.S. News & World Report, including top-five rankings among public schools in two categories in the 2023 “Best Online Programs” for the HSLM specialty. The CNL option prepares students with bachelor’s degrees in other fields to enter the nursing workforce and serve as leaders in health care. The School’s three MSN specialties focus on developing nurse leaders and faculty who transform and ensure appropriate access to health care, creating solutions that advance health equity, innovatively addressing social determinants of health, and improving patient care through technology. Edwards’ vision for the MSN program involves continuing to strengthen the MSN learning environment through collaboration with the specialty directors of the four areas to develop new educational strategies for nurses in today’s increasingly complex health care industry. 

Edwards has extensive curriculum experience with the master’s program, having served as chair of the MSN Curriculum Committee for five years and as a member of the 2015 Taskforce on Curriculum Review for the CPH specialty. In addition to her UMSON faculty appointment, she holds appointments in the University of Maryland School of Medicine’s Department of Epidemiology Master of Public Health program and the Department of Occupational Medicine, as well as in the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) Graduate School. She is also an elected member of the UMB Faculty Senate, a member of the UMB Art Council and a member on the President's Council for Women.

Edwards has been widely recognized – within UMSON and nationally – for her teaching and service. In 2014, she received the Association of Community Health Nurse Educators Faculty of the Year Award for Contributions to Community Health Nursing Education. Within UMSON, she has received the 2022 Graduate Faculty Teacher of the Year Award, the 2021 Distinguished Service Award, and the 2019 Graduate Faculty Teaching Award, as well as the University of Maryland School of Medicine’s 2019 MPH Program Faculty Teaching Award. 

Since joining UMSON in 2014 as associate director of global occupational health in the Office of Global Health, Edwards has held several positions, serving successively as associate director of the UMB Center for Community-Based Engagement and Learning; and senior director of the UMB Center for Global Education Initiatives. She is the program advisor for the UMSON Peace Corps Coverdell Fellowship, which was just renewed for five years, and the faculty leader for the Interprofessional Program for Academic Engagement, a UMB-wide initiative housed at UMSON.

“Dr. Edwards is ideally suited to assume leadership of the Master of Science in Nursing program,” said Jane Kirschling, PhD, RN, FAAN, the Bill and Joanne Conway Dean of the University of Maryland School of Nursing. “She brings a breadth of experience in graduate nursing education, community engagement, and community and public health nursing to her new role. With her deep commitment to improving the health and well-being of the communities that we serve, I know she will make significant contributions and ensure that a new generation of nurses is well prepared to meet the needs of the present and the challenges of the future.”

Before joining UMSON, Edwards spent over three decades at the Johns Hopkins Hospital and the Johns Hopkins University. Her earlier clinical experience includes roles in oncology and pediatric intensive care; home health care and hospice nursing for the Visiting Nurse Association; and as a migrant health nurse for the Colorado Department of Health.

Edwards earned her Doctor of Public Health from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, her Master of Public Health from the Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health, and her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from UMSON. She is certified by the American Nurses Credentialing Center as a Clinical Nurse Specialist, Public/Community Health. Her leadership roles include serving as immediate past president of the Association of Community Health Nursing Educators, serving on the Council of Public Health Nursing Organizations; chairing a sub-committee and serving as the liaison for the Public Health Foundation Council of Linkages; serving as vice chair for Bon Secours Community Works in Baltimore; and serving on the editorial board of the Journal of Public Health Nursing.

In her new role, Edwards succeeds Bimbola F. Akintade, PhD ’11, MS ’05, MBA, MHA, BSN ’03, CCRN, ACNP-BC, NEA-BC, who was appointed dean of the East Carolina University College of Nursing last summer.

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The University of Maryland School of Nursing, founded in 1889, is one of the oldest and largest nursing schools in the nation and is ranked among the top nursing schools nationwide. Enrolling nearly 2,100 students in its baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral programs, the School develops leaders who shape the profession of nursing and impact the health care environment.