Executive Dean Emami Elected to Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Board of Trustees


Princeton, N.J.—The Board of Trustees of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) has elected UW School of Nursing Executive Dean Azita Emami, PhD, MSN, BSN to the Board, effective July 27, 2022.

“RWJF is honored to welcome two nationally recognized champions of health equity and nursing to our Board of Trustees,” said Richard Besser, MD, president and CEO of the Foundation. “Azita Emami is spurring the field of nursing to examine what it takes to address racism in our healthcare systems and deliver care to and engage with all communities.”

Board Chair Kathryn S. Fuller, JD, stated: “RWJF Board members look forward to the perspectives our new Trustees will bring to our discussions and the Foundation’s important work. Each brings a deep grounding in healthcare and nursing. Their understanding of the healthcare, community, and digital spaces we need to consider to improve health will inform and enrich our work to foster a Culture of Health for everyone in America.”

Azita Emami, PhD, MSN, BSN, RN, FAAN, is a leader in the field of nursing and currently serves as The Robert G. and Jean A. Reid Executive Dean of Nursing at the University of Washington (UW) School of Nursing. In this role, she emphasizes the increasingly global nature of nursing and the importance of educating nurses to deliver care in a wide variety of culturally and economically diverse settings. Under her leadership, the UW School of Nursing announced in February 2021 that it was launching the Center for Antiracism in Nursing. The first of its kind in the nation, the Center will tackle racism in healthcare from classroom to research to the doctor’s office.

“I’m deeply honored to join the board of RWJF at this historic time when the philanthropic sector is recognizing its critical role in advancing the work of racial equity and healing across this nation,” said Emami. “I’m excited to support its efforts to change the way we as a nation view healthcare and to place an emphasis on how historical social and racial dynamics drive determinants of health and well-being today.”

Emami’s academic leadership experience spans two countries and 25 years, including positions as the Dean of the College of Nursing at Seattle University; Head of the Division of Nursing in the Department of Neurobiology Care Sciences and Society, Karolinska Institutet; and Academic Leader in the Division of Elder Care in the Department of Nursing at the Karolinska Institutet. Her research has resulted in more than 70 publications in peer-reviewed journals nationally and internationally on cross-cultural care, elder care, the development of cultural competence, and specific diseases and conditions.

Emami earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing from the renowned Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, where she grew up after emigrating from Iran. She went on to gain a master’s degree in international healthcare from Karolinska and the Red Cross College of Nursing; a nursing education degree with a teaching certification, and a doctorate in medical sciences from Karolinska. She is a proud recipient of the UW Women’s Center’s Women of Courage award.


The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) is committed to improving health and health equity in the United States. In partnership with others, we are working to develop a Culture of Health rooted in equity that provides every individual with a fair and just opportunity to thrive, no matter who they are, where they live, or how much money they have. For more information, visit www.rwjf.org. Follow the Foundation on Twitter at www.rwjf.org/twitter or on Facebook at www.rwjf.org/facebook.