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gillis3.jpg Catherine Lynch Gilliss, PhD, RN, FAAN, is Dean and Helene Fuld Health Trust Professor of Nursing at the Duke University School of Nursing and Vice Chancellor for Nursing Affairs at Duke University. Appointed dean in 2004, Dr. Gilliss is the first alumna in the history of the School hold the position of dean.

Dr. Gilliss has ushered in an era of extraordinary growth and achievement at the School of Nursing. Under her leadership, Duke has become one of the top schools of nursing in the nation. In 2011, U.S. News & World Report ranked the School seventh among graduate nursing programs; the School ranks tenth among nursing schools receiving competitive research awards from the National Institutes of Health.

While at Duke, Dr. Gilliss has presided over several transformative initiatives, including the approval and implementation of two new doctoral degree programs: the PhD in Nursing degree program (2006); and the Doctor of Nursing Practice program (2008). Now overseeing the second strategic plan during her tenure, she has secured strong financial resources, including a recent $15 million donation enabling the School of Nursing to rename the building the Christine Siegler Pearson Building and a second gift of $5 million in support of the School’s programs. She spearheaded the creation of the Office of Global and Community Health Initiatives, which focuses on the elimination of health disparities locally and abroad through support of academic programming, research, and professional service. The Institute for Educational Excellence was launched in 2008 to support the School’s faculty in the development of teaching capacity and innovation.  In 2011, the Center of Nursing Collaboration, Entrepreneurship & Technology (CONCEPT) was launched to assist faculty with the development of groundbreaking solutions for today’s health care problems.

In 2006, the School opened a 59,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art LEED Silver designated facility, the fourth building at Duke to earn such designation. A 45,000-square-foot wing is now under construction to accommodate further growth of the School’s research and academic programs. Currently, nearly 850 students are enrolled from across the globe, many of whom are enrolled in the School’s distance-based programs. Dr. Gilliss’ commitment to diversity can be seen through the growth in the numbers of faculty and students who are men and/or are from groups traditionally under-represented in nursing.

Dr. Gilliss serves as co-director of the federally-funded Graduate Nurse Education Demonstration designed to increase the numbers of advanced practice nurses able to provide care to the growing Medicare population. Duke University Hospital, in partnership with the School of Nursing is one of only five sites in the country to be selected to participate in this demonstration funded by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Prepared as a psychiatric mental health clinical nurse specialist and as an adult nurse practitioner, Dr. Gilliss’ contributions to the science of family nursing are notable. Her research addresses the family and chronic illness by examining the experience of family members in the context of illness as well as the impact of innovative models of nursing intervention on situations that affect the family as a unit. Overall, her scholarly works are considered pioneering and the body of her work was the basis for her receipt of the 2007 Distinguished Contributions to Family Nursing research Award. More recently, she has focused on translational science and innovative models of health care delivery. She serves as the Director of the Duke Translational Nursing Institute.

Dr. Gilliss earned her MSN from the Catholic University of America and her PhD from the University of California, San Francisco, where she also completed postdoctoral studies. She joined that faculty as an assistant professor and before leaving UCSF in 1998 earned the rank of professor and chair of the Department of Family Health Care. From 1998 until 2004, she was professor and dean at the Yale University School of Nursing.

Known for her organizational leadership skills, Dr. Gilliss has served as President of the National Organization for Nurse Practitioner Faculties and the American Academy of Nursing. She is a member of the North Carolina Institute of Medicine.