Dr. Alexa Stuifbergen, professor of nursing at The University of Texas at Austin and an internationally recognized researcher in the areas of multiple sclerosis, post-polio syndrome and fibromyalgia, has been appointed dean of the School of Nursing.
She replaces Dr. Dolores Sands who retired in 2009. Stuifbergen’s appointment is effective Dec. 15.
“Dr. Stuifbergen is a highly recognized researcher and the recipient of numerous research awards over the course of her academic career,” said Provost Steven W. Leslie in announcing the appointment. “Furthermore, as interim dean, she has proven to be a skilled and effective administrator. We are fortunate that Alexa has agreed to be the next dean of our School of Nursing.”
Stuifbergen is the third dean in the school’s history. Although it had its beginnings at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, the School of Nursing was officially established in Austin in 1969. Billye Brown was the first dean of the school.
Before her appointment as dean, Stuifbergen was interim dean (2009-2010) and associate dean for research. She also is former director of the Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Research in Underserved Populations and the school’s Cain Center for Nursing Research.
Stuifbergen has received more than $9.6 million from the National Institutes of Health for her studies in health promotion in adults with chronic disabling conditions.
“The faculty, staff and students of the School of Nursing share a common vision of excellence in educating leaders for nursing and continuing our vital research to improve the health and well-being of those in Texas and throughout the country,” said Stuifbergen, who will continue to hold the Laura Lee Blanton Chair and the James R. Dougherty Jr. Centennial Professorship. “Our foundation has been built on the shoulders of strong leaders, and I am privileged to have the opportunity to partner with faculty, staff, students and alumni as together we write the next chapter for our nursing school.”
Stuifbergen is the 2009 recipient of the “Nursing Research Award” presented by the International Organization of Multiple Sclerosis Nurses. In 2007 she 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 is a member of the American Academy of Nursing.
Stuifbergen will lead a nursing school that offers undergraduate and graduate nursing degrees, including a doctoral program that prepares students to become nursing faculty and researchers.