Dr. Alexa Stuifbergen, director of the Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Research in Underserved Populations in The University of Texas at Austin's School of Nursing, has been appointed interim dean of the School of Nursing.
Provost Steven W. Leslie said the appointment, which became effective Sept. 1, would provide leadership for the School of Nursing while a national search is conducted to permanently fill the position. Dr. Dolores Sands, dean of the School of Nursing for the past 20 years, retired Aug. 31.
Leslie described Stuifbergen as "a distinguished educator and administrator" who also had served for 10 years as associate dean for research and director of the school's Cain Center for Nursing Research.
"Dr. Stuifbergen is a highly recognized researcher and the recipient of numerous research awards over the course of her academic career," said Leslie. "As we begin the process of assembling a consultative committee to conduct a national search for our permanent dean of our distinguished School of Nursing, we are fortunate, indeed, that Dr. Stuifbergen has agreed to serve as interim dean."
Funded by the National Institutes of Health over the past 15 years for more than $9.6 million, Stuifbergen has studied health promotion in adults with chronic disabling conditions such as multiple sclerosis, post-polio syndrome and fibromyalgia.
"During her 20 years of leadership, Dean Sands built a strong infrastructure for the School of Nursing that fosters excellence in all our endeavors," said Stuifbergen. "We have an outstanding faculty, dedicated staff and exceptional students and I am confident that the School of Nursing
will continue to build on earlier accomplishments and excel in the research, teaching and service missions of the university."
Stuifbergen, the James R. Dougherty Jr. Centennial Professor in Nursing, received her bachelor of science in nursing degree from Crieghton University School of Nursing in Omaha, Neb., her master of science in nursing from The University of Texas at El Paso College of Nursing and her doctor's degree from The University of Texas at Austin School of Nursing.
Stuifbergen is the 2009 recipient of the "Nursing Research Award" presented by the International Organization of Multiple Sclerosis Nurses and in 2007 was inducted into the National Multiple Sclerosis Society's Health Care Provider Hall of Fame. Her numerous awards also include the 2003 Distinguished Alumna Award and the Faculty Research Award (2004 and 2006) presented by the School of Nursing. She also is a member of the American Academy of Nursing.