Dear Members of the Yale Community,
I am delighted to announce the appointment of Professor Azita Emami as dean of the Yale School of Nursing, effective August 1, 2023. An internationally recognized nursing leader and investigator, she brings to Yale a dedication to fostering wellness and more than two decades of experience shaping research and teaching, advancing the role of nurses in clinical practice, and improving health care equity and access.
Professor Emami is currently the executive dean of the School of Nursing at the University of Washington (UW), where she oversees teaching, research, and clinical practice across three accredited campuses that graduate more than 1,000 nurses annually with bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degrees. A trustee of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, she advocates for increasing educational, clinical practice, and policymaking opportunities for nurses worldwide.
Her career is distinguished by a commitment to expanding the role of nursing within the global health care ecosystem and transforming the ways nurses are deployed, trained, and involved in decision-making about clinical care guidelines and practices. More specifically, she has brought focus to the critical contributions of nurses in identifying and addressing social determinants that create barriers to health and wellness. She has underscored the central role nurses can play in providing primary care so that underserved areas—urban and rural—have equitable access to health care. To build on these efforts, she led the U.S. “Nursing Now” initiative, a three-year global campaign (2018-2020) associated with the International Council of Nurses and the World Health Organization. She spearheaded the U.S. “Year of the Nurse and the Midwife” campaign in 2021, part of a United Nations initiative.
Under Professor Emami’s leadership, the UW School of Nursing has consistently received recognition as one of the top public university schools of nursing in the country. She has led a number of transformative initiatives to support faculty research, teaching, and practice and to increase educational opportunities for students. Notable efforts include the redesign of the UW School of Nursing curriculum to place an emphasis on population health and health equity. Additionally, she led the creation of the country’s first Center for Antiracism in Nursing; contributed to the establishment of the UW Center for Global Health Nursing; and collaborated with local public health authorities to implement “Best Starts for Kids” to improve the health outcomes of children in Seattle.
Professor Emami’s influence has extended well beyond the School of Nursing. As chair of the UW Board of Health Sciences Deans, she has facilitated interdisciplinary education and research initiatives and played an instrumental role in the creation of the Health Sciences Education Building, which bridges multiple fields of teaching and practice. In the broader, regional area, she fostered a relationship between the UW School of Nursing and Premera, the Washington State Blue Cross organization, to create the Rural Nursing Health Initiative. This program is developing a pipeline of primary care providers in critically underserved rural areas in Washington State and has been expanded to strengthen the role of nurse practitioners specializing in mental health care.
Professor Emami earned her R.N. and Ph.D. in medical sciences degrees from the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden. She conducted research, taught, and cared for patients at the Karolinska Institutet and hospitals and research centers in Sweden. She was the head of the Division of Nursing at the Karolinska Institutet and the director of a joint doctoral program with multiple institutions in Iran. She then moved to the United States to take on the role of dean of the College of Nursing at Seattle University, where she served until 2013 when she joined UW.
Maintaining an active global research program while leading and serving in her other roles, Professor Emami has authored more than eighty papers in peer-reviewed journals nationally and internationally. Her research spans a wide range of topics, including cross-cultural care, elder and dementia care, the development of cultural competence, and treatments for various diseases and conditions. For her contributions to nursing research and teaching and advancing the role of nurses, she has been recognized by many organizations. She received the Washington State Nurses Association’s Honorary Recognition Award, the University of Washington Woman of Courage Award, and numerous other honors. She is an elected member of the Washington State Academy of Sciences.
With an interest in hiking and kayaking, Professor Emami is excited to learn more about the trails and waterways in and around New Haven. She also enjoys reading across a broad range of genres and is thrilled to be joining a community that has so much to offer in terms of lectures and events related to literature. She and her husband, Massod, have two adult daughters and six grandchildren who are happy to occupy her “spare” time when they visit from Sweden.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank members of the Yale School of Nursing (YSN) for their unwavering commitment to improving the health and well-being of all people. I am deeply grateful to Interim Dean Holly Powell Kennedy for her exceptional leadership of the school during the transition. I also thank members of the search advisory committee, chaired by Dr. Stephanie Spangler, for their thoughtful deliberations, and I am grateful to colleagues and students who shared with the committee and me recommendations and insights during the search process.
Professor Emami looks forward to joining the Yale community and working with YSN faculty, students, and staff to create and implement a vision for the second century of the school and define the future of nursing. In the meantime, please join me in giving a big Yale welcome to Professor Emami and her family!
Chris Argyris Professor of Psychology