This article is from the archives of the UB Reporter.

Finalists named in nursing dean search

Published: June 27, 2011

The two finalists have been identified in the search for a new dean for the School of Nursing.

The new dean will succeed Jean K. Brown, who is stepping down from the deanship in August after nearly six years at the helm of the school.

The candidates are Melanie C. Dreher, John L. and Helen Kellogg Dean and professor in the College of Nursing, Rush University, Chicago, and Marsha Lewis, associate professor and associate dean for education in the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, Emory University.

Dreher was on campus Monday. Lewis will visit UB on July 11; the time and location of her open forum are yet to be determined. Check the search website and the UB Reporter for further information. The curriculum vita for Dreher is available under the “Candidates” link. Lewis’ CV will be posted there at least three days before her visit.

During their campus visits, the candidates will meet with representative faculty, staff, students, members of the university’s senior leadership team and selected community partners and individuals.

A nationally recognized leader in nursing education, Dreher also has had a distinguished career as a researcher of the health and welfare of underserved communities, and the influence of culture in patient-provider communication.

She is known in particular for authoring “Women and Cannabis: Medicine, Science and Sociology” (Haworth, 2002), which has been called a landmark study offering a different insight on the use of marijuana by pregnant women in Jamaica.

Dreher joined the Rush faculty in 2006 after serving as the inaugural Kelting Dean and professor in the College of Nursing at the University of Iowa, dean and professor at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst School of Nursing, and dean and William R. Ryan Distinguished Professor of Transcultural Nursing Research at the University of Miami School of Nursing.

As dean of the Iowa nursing school, she established a master’s degree in nursing and health care practice that became the national model for professional nursing education.

She earned a BS in nursing, magna cum laude from Long Island University; a MA in anthropology from Teachers College, Columbia University; and a MPhil and PhD in anthropology from Columbia.

An Emory faculty member since 2006, Lewis also has served since 2008 as interim co-chair of the Department of Adult and Elder Health in the Emory nursing school.

Before joining the Emory faculty, she was associate professor and director of graduate studies at the University of Minnesota School of Nursing.

Lewis’ research focuses on interventions for persons caring for family members with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia disorders. Working with colleagues from a wide range of disciplines—and with funding from the National Institutes of Health—she developed and tested the Savvy Caregiver program, a six-week training program for caregivers. The program has been implemented by organizations across the country, including the Alzheimer’s Association, and has been endorsed as an evidence-based supportive service program by the U.S. Administration on Aging.

Lewis also has led the development of an Internet-based program for dementia caregivers, as well as a pilot program for persons with mild cognitive impairment and their caregivers.

She earned a BSN from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, an MS in nursing (specialty in psychiatric-mental health/nursing education) from the University of Minnesota and a PhD in education (specialty in curriculum and instructional systems), also from U of M.