Azita Emami named dean of Yale School of Nursing

UW School of Nursing’s Executive Dean Azita Emami, an internationally recognized nursing who has called attention to the key role nurses play in improving care in underserved communities, will become the next dean of the Yale School of Nursing, announced today by the school.

Executive Dean Azita Emami

Dean Emami’s rich legacy at UW School of Nursing will be sorely missed. Since 2013, the dean has contributed her more than two decades of expertise and experience shaping research and teaching, advancing the role of nurses in clinical practice, and improving health care equity and access.

Under Emami’s leadership, the UW School of Nursing has consistently been recognized as one of the top public university schools of nursing in the country, leading a number of transformative initiatives to support faculty research, teaching, and practice, and to increase educational opportunities for students.

In her work, Dean Emami 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, Salovey said. From 2018 to 2020, she led the U.S. “Nursing Now” initiative, a global campaign associated with the International Council of Nurses and the World Health Organization. In 2021, she spearheaded the U.S. “Year of the Nurse and the Midwife” campaign as part of a broader United Nations initiative.

Dean Emami has overseen teaching, research, and clinical practice across UW School of Nursing’s 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.

Notably, Dean Emami was critical to the redesign of the UW School of Nursing curriculum to place an emphasis on population health and health equity, as well as the establishment of the country’s first Center for Antiracism in Nursing, 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.

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

At the regional level, 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.

Dean Emami earned her R.N. and Ph.D. in medical sciences from the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden. She conducted research, taught, and cared for patients there and at hospitals and research centers in Sweden. She was also head of the Division of Nursing at Karolinska Institutet and director of a joint doctoral program with multiple institutions in Iran. She moved to the United States to take on the role of dean of the College of Nursing at Seattle University, serving there until 2013, when she joined UW.

Over the course of her career, she has authored more than 80 papers in peer-reviewed journals on 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, teaching, and advancing the role of nurses, she has received the Washington State Nurses Association’s Honorary recognition award, the University of Washington Woman of Courage Award, and numerous other honors. She is also an elected member of the Washington State Academy of Sciences.

“I am honored to be joining the Yale community,” Emami said. “I very much look forward to working with the faculty, students, alumni, and staff in the School of Nursing. But unlike some past opportunities, however, this one is distinctly marked by the grief of leaving the community that I hold so dear at UW School of Nursing. What we have achieved together in my time here will always hold a special place in my heart.”

Dean Emami is a known visionary whose absence will be felt deeply by the UW School of Nursing community and the university as a whole. But great things lie in store for the dean and all congratulate her on the bright opportunity ahead!

Dean Emami begins her new role on August 1, 2023.