Christine Kennedy Named Dean of Rush University College of Nursing

August 13, 2020
Christine Kennedy

Rush University has named Christine M. Kennedy, PhD, RN, FAAN, associate dean for academic programs at the University of Virginia School of Nursing, the fifth John L. and Helen Kellogg Dean of the Rush University College of Nursing.

Dr. Sherine Gabriel, president of Rush University, Robert C. and Naomi T. Borwell Presidential Professor and chief academic officer of Rush University System for Health, announced the selection following a national search. Kennedy will assume her new role on Nov. 1.

A distinguished academic nursing scholar and leader, Kennedy will serve in a role at Rush that started as the first endowed nursing deanship in the country. She brings to it a wide breadth of teaching, research and mentoring experience, according to Gabriel.

“Christine has exceptional expertise and experience that will propel both the education and research missions of the College of Nursing and of Rush University. I have full confidence that she will take an already stellar nursing program into the next level,” Gabriel said. “With more than $13 million in funding from the National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Nursing Research, Health Resources and Services Administration and State of California Maternal-Child Health Agency — which has resulted in more than 100 publications — her research has influenced health policy in communities across the globe.”

As associate dean, Kennedy currently serves as the chief academic officer for the UVA School of Nursing. She also is the Madeline Higginbotham Sly Professor of Nursing and a professor of pediatrics in the UVA School of Medicine. Additionally, she is a professor emerita at the University of California, San Francisco School of Nursing, where she held the Jack and Elaine Koehn Endowed Chair in Pediatric Nursing.

“It was evident to me and the entire search committee that Dr. Kennedy’s values and ideals align well with Rush University’s mission and vision,” said Gabriel. “She is an innovative leader who will support our faculty, staff and students and lead the College of Nursing in a transformative era. Our mission to improve the health of the individuals and diverse communities we serve drew Dr. Kennedy to Rush, and she is eager to continue advancing that mission in the College of Nursing.”

“Together with Rush’s renowned faculty, dynamic students, distinguished alumni and dedicated staff, I look forward to providing a preeminent space for clinical education and research, constructive collaborations and innovative thinking that will help address society’s most difficult health challenges through nursing science and compassionate care,” Kennedy said.

After earning undergraduate degrees from the University of Wisconsin and Catholic University, Kennedy received a master's degree as a pediatric nurse practitioner from Boston College and a PhD in developmental child psychology from Brown University. A fellow of the American Academy of Nursing, Kennedy is also a member of the Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing’s International Nurse Researcher Hall of Fame.

Kennedy will succeed Barbara Swanson, PhD, RN, FAAN, ACRN, who has served as the acting dean since January following the retirement of Marquis Foreman, PhD, RN, as dean at the end of last year.

“Barbara Swanson has helped guide us through an unprecedented time of change and uncertainty for our university,” Gabriel said. “I extend my sincere thanks to Dr. Swanson for her outstanding leadership, adaptability and expertise during this time, and to the College of Nursing leadership team for their work during this transition.”

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