Distinguished Alum Named AAN Living Legend

Kathleen A. Dracup is a distinguished nurse clinician, educator, leader, and researcher. Her professional career includes almost fifty years of experience in cardiovascular nursing and university professorships. Dr. Dracup was a faculty member at the University of California, Los Angeles for twenty-three years and in 2000 became Dean of the School of Nursing at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), a position she held until 2010. She is now Dean Emeritus and Professor Emeritus of the UCSF School of Nursing. A member of the Institute of Medicine, she continues to be a leader in the field of cardiovascular nursing. Dr. Dracup is recognized internationally for her investigation in the care of patients with heart disease and the effects of this disease on spouses and other family members. Her early research in intensive care contributed to the liberalization of visiting policies for family members nationally. She was the first researcher to describe the quality of life of patients with heart failure being considered for cardiac transplant and the first to conduct a randomized clinical trial testing best methods of teaching cardiopulmonary resuscitation to family members of cardiac patients. She has conducted a number of randomized clinical trials testing interventions to enhance self-management of patients with chronic heart disease, to reduce the emotional distress experienced by patients and their family members, and to decrease morbidity and mortality from sudden cardiac death. Her research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, Department of Defense, Atlantic Philanthropies, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the Veterans Association and the American Heart Association, among others. She has published more than 400 articles, chapters, and books.

Dr. Dracup’s contributions have included her work as a journal editor. She served as the editor of Heart & Lung: Journal of Critical Care for over a decade and of the American Journal of Critical Care for sixteen years. As an editor of two interdisciplinary journals, she influenced many novice researchers and guided them to successful publication.

Dr. Dracup is a devoted teacher and mentor and is well known for her mentorship of nurse researchers and clinicians. Her former students now are leading the way in the discipline and in cardiovascular and critical care. In 2003, she became the first nurse to receive the Eugene Braunwald Award for Academic Mentorship by the American Heart Association. She has been the recipient of many other awards including a Fulbright Senior Scholar award to Australia, an Honorary Doctor of Science degree from the University of Technology Sydney, Australia, the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Heart Failure Society of America, and the Marguerite Rodgers Kinney Award for a Distinguished Career by the American Association of Critical Care Nurses.

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