After serving more than 28 years as dean of the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing (VUSN), and as the second longest sitting dean of any U.S. nursing school, Colleen Conway-Welch, PhD, CNM, the Nancy and Hilliard Travis Professor of Nursing, and a national leader in nursing education, will retire from this role at the end of the academic year.
A graduate of the Georgetown University School of Nursing, Catholic University School of Nursing and New York University, Conway-Welch has been a nurse and certified nurse-midwife for almost 50 years.
As VUSN's dean, Conway-Welch has amassed one of the most storied careers in nursing. On the national stage, her numerous and varied contributions are evident throughout the profession of nursing, both in nursing education and the clinical setting, through educational innovations that have impacted the way nursing care is provided and have helped transform healthcare.
Conway-Welch will continue to serve as a member of the faculty, working with her successor and Jeff Balser, MD, PhD, vice chancellor for Health Affairs and Dean of the School of Medicine, in support of the School of Nursing.
Apart from successfully leading VUSN for nearly three decades, Conway-Welch's career has seen a number of extramural highlights. In 1997, she was elected into the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies. President Ronald Reagan named her to "The Presidential Commission on the Human Immunodeficiency Virus Epidemic, 1988," a bipartisan commission on the HIV epidemic. In 2006, she was appointed by President George W. Bush for a five-year term as a Member of the Board of Regents for the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. She is a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing.