OHSU

OHSU School of Nursing Dean Kathleen Potempa Named Dean of The University Of Michigan School Of Nursing

06/26/06  Portland, Ore.

Oregon Health & Science University School of Nursing Dean Kathleen Potempa, D.N.Sc., R.N., F.A.A.N., has accepted the position of dean of the University of Michigan School of Nursing BEGINNING OCT. 1, announced OHSU Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Lesley Hallick, Ph.D.  Potempa will continue at OHSU through the summer. The University of Michigan School of Nursing is one of the top three nursing schools in the country.

"I leave OHSU with mixed emotions and a fond sense of many wonderful colleagues here.  The School of Nursing at OHSU is poised for continued growth and excellence and I will eagerly watch its progress," Potempa said.

"I suppose this is the best kind of bittersweet," said Hallick. "Dean Potempa has been a phenomenal leader in this state and will be terribly missed. She represents the quintessential example of leadership. She is the consummate team player, but is equally able to focus on the specific tasks for which she is responsible. She created a vision for the school and its critical role in the university and the university health system, developed the consensus and energy to accomplish their goals, and implemented a strategy to deliver. She did all this in the face of repeated budget cuts, the recruitment of the next generation of researchers, and with the added challenge of managing a statewide program on multiple campuses.

"Her support and development of the Oregon Consortium of Nursing Education, which just completed an agreement with eight community college nursing programs to create a model for the seamless education of tomorrow's nursing work force, is being watched by the nation's nursing leaders as the plan to emulate. We are grateful for the legacy she leaves and wish her as much success in the next phase of her life."

Hallick said an interim dean will be appointed in approximately two weeks, after she meets with leadership groups in the school, campus -- and statewide to seek input.  Following the appointment of an interim dean, a transition plan will be developed and a timetable for a national search will be announced.

Potempa  has been the dean since 1996 and was appointed an OHSU vice president in 2002.

Under Potempa's leadership, the School of Nursing built a mature research program, moving from $2.3 million in national funding in 1996 to $7.8 million last fiscal year. The school is ranked sixth in the country by U.S. News & World Report. She also brought OHSU's rural research program to a level of maturity through the formation of the Center for Rural Research, which is based on the OHSU School of Nursing, Ashland campus.

The size of the school's faculty has grown from 68 when Potempa arrived at OHSU in 1996 to 179 faculty and instructors currently. During that time, a number of educational programs began including the online R.N. to B.S. program that began in 2000 to provide a baccalaureate degree to practicing nurses throughout the state. The School of Nursing also launched a regional Ph.D. program that incorporates distance learning to the benefit of students in Washington, Montana and Utah. The school's graduate programs also have expanded through the regional campuses as well as to programs in Bend and Lane County.

The school also expanded its clinical presence under Potempa's leadership with practice revenue growth six-fold during the last 10 years to $6 million this last fiscal year.  The school has been innovative in its relationship with the clinical side of the hospital and works as a team player with the entire institution. OHSU built a new facility for the Union Family Health Center and opened the Elgin Family Health Center and the Rural Network for Schools in Union County - all significant resources for rural Oregonians.  The school's corporate wellness program began in 1997 and has grown to a nearly $700,000 program this year. The school also has taken the lead in the innovative Homeless Infirmary Project in which its faculty and students provide care to qualified homeless residents in collaboration with The Salvation Army.

Among the school's innovative programs, is the March wellness center, which will open this winter in OHSU's Center for Health & Healing in the OHSU Commons located in the South Waterfront. March will be a unique center that provides a bridge between traditional medical services and the value of health-oriented exercise and wellness activities. While wellness centers affiliated with academic health centers are more common in the Eastern United States, OHSU's is unique in the West, especially under the leadership of the School of Nursing.

Potempa provided critical leadership to nursing education statewide through her role on the Oregon Nursing Leadership Council (ONLC), which brought together all stakeholders in nursing education and practice statewide. The ONLC lead to the creation of the Oregon Consortium for Nursing Education, a partnership of OHSU and several community colleges in Oregon to offer a single nursing curriculum leading to the baccalaureate degree in nursing.

During Potempa's tenure, OHSU School of Nursing has established itself as a leader in the use of simulation in nursing education. Not only did the school open a new Simulation and Clinical Learning Center in Portland in 2003, it also opened simulation centers at each of its regional campuses and has become a national resource for educators at other institutions who have begun to use simulation education.

Also under Potempa's direction, the school has established the Center for Healthy Aging, the Center for Symptom Management in Life-Threatening Illnesses, the Hartford Center for Geriatric Nursing Excellence, the Center for Health Disparities Research and the Center for Family Care in Oregon.

During the past decade, the School of Nursing was able to establish six distinguished professorships, which is among the highest of nursing schools nationwide. The school's endowment has increased four-fold to $11.3 million in May 2006.  At the same time, the school has experienced severe cuts in its state funding from $10.2 million for the 1997-99 biennium to $5.7 million in the current biennium, accounting for less than 20 percent of its current overall budget. While the school is ranked as the sixth-top school overall in the country, its midwifery program is ranked first, community health is ranked second and its gerontology program is ranked third.

The School of Nursing has also established itself internationally for its leadership in global health education with partnerships with schools in Mexico, Guatemala, Ecuador, Thailand, Japan, China and Taiwan.

 Potempa is a nursing leader who has served on numerous local, regional and national organizational committees, advisory councils and boards. She has served on American Association Colleges of Nursing Task Forces and Committees consistently since 1997 including being the chairwoman of the Task Force on Distance Education and Nursing member of the Doctoral Conference Planning Member, Task Force on Hallmarks of Professional Practice, member of the Nominating Committee, and Board of Directors Member-at-Large and Secretary of the Association. She has served as a member of the American Academy of Nursing Finance Committee, the Board of Directors of the Oregon Heart Association, and the Oregon Congressional Task Force on Health Personnel. The U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services appointed Potempa to the National Advisory Council on Nurse Education and Practice in 2001 for a five-year term. Potempa received the 2002 Mentor Award by the Oregon Medical Research Foundation. Potempa was cited as one of 50 great leaders of Oregon by the Oregon Business Journal in 2004 and was named as one of the city's top 25 leaders by Portland Monthly magazine in 2005.
 

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