Martha Hill, a Johns Hopkins faculty member for 21 years and director of the Center for Nursing Research, has been appointed interim dean of the School of Nursing, President William R. Brody announced.
She will take office July 1 and will serve until Dean Sue K. Donaldson's successor is appointed. Donaldson is stepping down after seven years to return to teaching and research.
In a message to faculty members announcing the appointment, Brody noted that Hill earned her R.N. diploma, bachelor's degree and doctorate at Johns Hopkins and has been a member of the university faculty since 1980. She was one of the first four faculty members hired by Dean Carol Gray when the School of Nursing was established as an independent division of the university in 1985. Previously, nursing education at Hopkins had occurred within another university school or in a hospital-based school.
"Martha's devotion to the School of Nursing, and her record as a faculty member and as a citizen of the university, make her an ideal choice to lead the school during this interim period," Brody wrote. "She will build on what Sue Donaldson, Carol Gray and their colleagues have achieved."
Hill said she "couldn't possibly refuse" a request from Brody and Provost Steven Knapp that she step in "at a time when a smooth transition is going to be very important."
Hill also said she is excited to be leading nursing education and research at the only academic health center in the country with schools of nursing, medicine and public health all in the top five of U.S. News & World Report's graduate school rankings.
"The school is in a wonderful position to continue to gain in stature and influence," she said. "Sue has accomplished an enormous amount and brought the school forward rapidly. She deserves a lot of real credit, thanks and appreciation for all that she did."
Hill said her own role will be primarily to "maintain the exceptionally high standard of excellence in the recruitment and progression of students and faculty research, teaching and practice." Working with Associate Dean Stella Shiber, she also will lead the school through its reaccreditation review next year and, as part of that process, through self-study and strategic planning. That will make it possible for candidates for the deanship to visit the school and "engage in dialog about the priorities seen by the faculty for future directions" for the school, Hill said.
She also will be involved in preparations for the school's role in the next university fund-raising campaign. She said she hopes to help lay the groundwork for new joint research and other initiatives among the health professions schools in East Baltimore.
Hill earned a diploma from the Johns Hopkins Hospital School of Nursing in 1964 and graduated with a bachelor's degree in 1966 from what is now the School of Professional Studies in Business and Education. She earned a master's in nursing from the University of Pennsylvania in 1977 and a doctorate in behavioral sciences in 1986 from what is now the Bloomberg School of Public Health.
Hill's research focus is on 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 is co-vice chair of a committee developing recommendations on "Understanding and Eliminating Ethnic and Racial Disparities in Health Care." In 1997-98, she was the first nonphysician to serve as president of the American Heart Association.
At Johns Hopkins, she has served as a member and chair of the Committee for the 21st Century and as co-chair of the Urban Health Council, a joint Hopkins-community committee whose work led to the establishment of the Johns Hopkins Urban Health Institute. She holds joint faculty appointments in both the School of Medicine and the Bloomberg School of Public Health.