Martha Hill, a Johns Hopkins University faculty member for 22 years and a national leader in research aimed at understanding and eliminating racial and ethnic disparities in health care, has been appointed dean of the university's School of Nursing.
Hill, the director of the school's Center for Nursing Research and interim dean since July 1, 2001, was selected after a national search. She will begin her service as dean on July 1.
"Martha Hill is a national leader and is universally recognized in the field of nursing," said William R. Brody, president of the university.
"As a citizen of the university, Martha is unparalleled," Brody said. "She is committed to collaborations across the institutions and with the community." Hill played a leadership role in the joint university-community discussions that led to the formation of the Johns Hopkins Urban Health Institute. She holds faculty appointments in the university's Bloomberg School of Public Health and School of Medicine in addition to the School of Nursing.
Hill called her appointment as dean a "very great honor" and said she looks forward to raising the school's profile both nationally and internationally.
"The school is beautifully poised to continue its maturation as a nationally ranked institution preparing nursing leaders," Hill said. "Our challenge is to maintain the academic and research excellence while we expand the school's visibility and scope."
Hill said she anticipates that the school will become increasingly involved with its work in underserved communities, including those near its home in East Baltimore.
The major challenge facing nursing schools today, she said, is producing graduates prepared to practice in what has become "a very complicated health care environment." In order for the school to fulfill its potential, she says, it has to meet this challenge.
"We need to find new ways that nursing can positively participate in improving multidisciplinary team approaches to improving patient care and outcomes," she said.
Hill's career has paralleled the transition of nursing education at Johns Hopkins from its origin as a hospital-based program to its current base in an independent university division. She earned her R.N. diploma from the Johns Hopkins Hospital School of Nursing in 1964, and a bachelor's degree in nursing in 1966 from what was then the School of Continuing Studies. She returned to the School of Continuing Studies (now Professional Studies in Business and Education) as a faculty member in 1980; when the School of Nursing was created, she joined its faculty. She earned a master's in nursing from the University of Pennsylvania in 1977 and a doctorate in 1986 from what is now the Bloomberg School of Public Health.
Hill is internationally known for her work developing and testing strategies to improve hypertension care and control among urban, underserved African-Americans, particularly young men. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing and a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, where she was co-vice chair of a committee that recently developed recommendations in a report titled "Unequal Treatment: Confronting Ethnic and Racial Disparities in Health Care." In 1997-98, she was the first nonphysician to serve as president of the American Heart Association.
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