VCU School of Nursing names associate dean of academic programs

The Virginia Commonwealth University School of Nursing today announced that Debra J. Barksdale, Ph.D., a nationally known educator, researcher, practitioner and advocate for improving health care, has been appointed professor and associate dean of academic programs. Barksdale is currently professor and director of the Doctor of Nursing Practice Program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, School of Nursing.

“We are pleased to welcome Debra to the School of Nursing as she is truly an innovative thought leader in nursing education,” said Jean Giddens, Ph.D., professor and dean. “Her stellar record of working to transform health care will be a huge asset to shaping our current and future academic programs.”

Barksdale is certified as a family nurse practitioner (NP), an adult NP, and a nurse educator. She is a Fellow of the both American Academy of Nurse Practitioners and the American Academy of Nursing. In addition, she is also a former Department of Health and Human Services Primary Health Care Policy Fellow.

“I am honored for the opportunity to join the VCU School of Nursing team,” Barksdale said. “Words cannot adequately express my excitement about joining this world-renowned, first-class University and School of Nursing. Clearly VCU is on the move and I want to be a part of it.”

“I was born and raised in Nathalie, Virginia in Halifax County so this feels like coming home,” she added.

Barksdale is the immediate past president of the prestigious National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties (NONPF) and is a Robert Wood Johnson Executive Nurse Fellows alumna. In December 2014, she was appointed to the Veteran’s Choice Act Blue Ribbon Panel, a special panel created to independently assess and improve services within the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) medical centers.

In 2010, Barksdale was one of 19 members appointed to the 21-member Board of Governors for the new Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) by the U.S. Government Accountability Office under the Obama Administration. She is the only nurse appointed to the PCORI Board. In 2012 she was reappointed for six more years. She chairs the Engagement, Dissemination and Implementation Committee, one of the organization’s three strategy committees.

Barksdale’s research focuses on stress and cardiovascular disease in Black Americans. Her former National Institutes of Health-funded study, titled “Hypertension in Black Americans: Environment, Behavior, and Biology,” explores the underlying hemodynamic determinants of hypertension, particularly sleep blood pressure and sleep total peripheral resistance, and the cortisol awakening response.

Barksdale earned a B.S.N. from the University of Virginia, an M.S.N from Howard University, a post-master’s certificate in teaching from the University of Pennsylvania, and a Ph.D. in nursing from the University of Michigan.

She will succeed Ann Hamric, Ph.D., who retired on Sept. 1 after joining VCU in 2011. Barksdale will start work in her new position on Jan. 4, 2016.

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Dr. Debra J. Barksdale

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