Since stepping into my role as Dean, I have witnessed the strong commitment to excellence that is this school’s legacy, and at the same time, the drive to be a pacesetter for education, research, and practice. It is this commitment to excellence that motivates, guides, and unites us every day to impact education and health.
Columbia is a national leader in nursing research and in advancing patient care, especially among underserved populations. Our National Institutes of Health rankings for research funding demonstrates our school’s leadership among our peers. Our growth has allowed us to increase our NIH ranking among our nursing peers from 11th to 6th place over the past two years.
We have developed core competencies in a number of research areas including data science, palliative care, health outcomes for the LGBT community, infectious disease, HIV prevention, and health policy. Many of our current projects explore how genetics, environment, health behaviors, and interpersonal relationships interact to affect illness, especially in underserved communities. These projects also aim to meet Columbia’s longtime research goals: improving patient care, eliminating health disparities, and ensuring that all populations, including the most marginalized, have access to high-quality care.
Through the establishment of joint appointments and innovations such our LINK program, we continue to change the way we look at and deliver patient care. We currently have faculty in joint appointments at Hackensack Meridian Health, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, NewYork-Presbyterian, and Hospital for Special Surgery.
We are leaders in the education of masters prepared RNs, advanced practice clinicians, and PhDs. We prepare the next generation of clinicians, scientists, leaders, and policy makers for the critical role they will play in delivering care at all levels and among all populations. The Masters Direct Entry (MDE) has successfully transitioned as the degree at Columbia Nursing to enter the profession of nursing. With a strong background in care coordination, evidence-based practice, and culturally competent care, our graduates are serving in positions across the continuum of care. In addition, we now offer an MS in Advanced Clinical Management and Leadership for baccalaureate nurses who want to obtain a graduate degree, improve their knowledge and skills in evidence-based practice and care coordination, and assume a leadership role within health care institutions.
Our educational programs and curriculum constantly evolve to meet the changing healthcare needs of the 21st century. Investing in the technology and resources to support our curriculum means we are giving our future nurses the tools and the confidence they need to serve patients.
We held our first “Innovations in Simulation” summit this past fall (made possible through the Helene Fuld Health Trust). Here, global thought leaders gathered to share best practices. We will hold our second annual simulation summit this fall.
We launched a comprehensive palliative care program for students that integrates the basic principles of palliative care into the curriculum, reflecting the recent development of competencies and recommendations from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. Our program speaks to the evolving role of nurses in the care of individuals with chronic and long term illness.
Globally, as we prepare to celebrate—with the World Health Organization—for 2020 “The Year of the Nurse and Midwife,” we continue to create extraordinary opportunities for students to learn in international settings. This year our students will have global experiences in countries such as Ethiopia, Ghana, Jamaica, Jordan, Malawi, India, Italy, Spain, the Dominican Republic, and for the first time, at our newest sites in China, Nepal, and Israel.
One of the strengths of our faculty practice, the Nurse Practitioner Group, is our specialty in LGBT care offered in Washington Heights. We have new innovations coming to the practice that enhance our ability to care for patients, including a collaboration with ColumbiaDoctors Oncology to address patient survivorship and primary care needs, offering cancer survivors the specialized care and follow-up they require, once they have completed therapy. We are also leveraging the school’s expertise in palliative care to offer a nurse practitioner-led, outpatient palliative care initiative that will address the medical, psychosocial, and spiritual needs of persons with serious illness and their families across care settings.
Our MDE is proving to be an important pipeline to the doctoral program, with increasing applications for our DNP program, confirming that the doctorate is indeed the future of nursing education. 2019 also marks the first graduating class to complete the MS in Advanced Clinical Management Leadership. This year we awarded the largest amount ever in scholarships to new, incoming individual students to put towards their Columbia Nursing education. We also saw our students forming—for the first time in decades—a student-led governing body, the School of Nursing Student Council.
I conclude by reiterating what a privilege it is to be your dean. I am looking forward to all there is ahead, and to building the future of our school and of the nursing profession together.