Thank You to Dr. Margaret (Peg) Heitkemper

After more than 25 years, Dr. Margaret (Peg) Heitkemper is stepping away from her duties as chair of the School of Nursing’s Department of Biobehavioral Nursing and Health Informatics. She will continue her presence as an active faculty member, researcher, mentor, and selfless contributor to every aspect of the School of Nursing’s aspirations and accomplishments.

“A department chair must be a leader, and that is what Peg Heitkemper has been to all of us for more than two decades. She has led by being a productive, inquisitive, and high-impact researcher. She has led by being a superb teacher, a generous mentor to students and faculty alike, and an inspirational force both inside the School of Nursing and globally. She has led by example, by the scope of her vision, and by her continuous contributions to nursing science,” said Executive Dean Azita Emami.

Some of Peg’s accomplishments as chair include:

  • Heading what is now the Center for Innovation in Sleep Self-Management,
  • Nomination and promotion of faculty in her department for a number of awards
  • Collaborating with faculty council over workload
  • Submission of the HRSA acute care adult gerontology program,
  • Optimizing faculty retention
  • Confronting decline in federal research funding

Peg has also numerous contributions to nursing science focused on reshaping our understanding of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). She saw, well before most researchers did, that many symptoms that brought women to clinics each year were related to IBS and she has dedicated much of her career to exploring and understanding methods and means other than medication for ameliorating those symptoms and improving the lives of people suffering from IBS.

In addition to her copious research productivity, her role as advisor and mentor to innumerable master’s and PhD students, and her presence in the classroom to engage with, empower, and inspire the next generation of nursing students.

She has received considerable recognition for her women’s health research and other contributions to nursing science. She is a member of the National Academy of Medicine, the Washington State Academy of Sciences, and a recipient of the UW Distinguished Teaching Award. Her awards include the FNINR Pathfinder Award, the American Academy of Nursing Council for the Advancement of Nursing Science’s Outstanding Nurse Scientist Award, the Jansen Award for Clinical Research in Gastroenterology, ASPEN Nutrition Support Nurse of the Year, and the WIN Distinguished Research Leader awards. She has been designated as a distinguished alumnus from both her undergraduate and graduate alma maters.

We are proud to recognize Peg for her unwavering dedication and leadership to the School of Nursing. We are thankful for the impact she has on the nursing profession and her commitment in educating future nurse leaders. We are grateful for the inspiration she has given and will continue to give nurses for her research which has benefitted many.