2019: A Year in Review

Joseph Morris, Dean Linda Sarna and Chancellor Block at the 2019 gala
Dr. Joseph Morris, Dean Sarna and Chancellor Block at the 2019 Gala


2019 was an amazing year for UCLA, which celebrated its Centennial. We beamed with pride as our first Dean, Lulu Wolf Hassenplug, was showcased at the UCLA100 Lighting the Way.

 It was also an amazing year for us as we celebrated our 70th Birthday. Distinguished alumni and staff were honored at a gala attended by Chancellor Block and emceed by Executive Director of the California Board of Registered Nurses, and alum, Joseph Morris. Walls of History, Science and Art on each floor of our building commemorate key events, pay tribute to some of the groundbreaking research by faculty, and celebrate the leadership path of many alumni, faculty and staff. Gregg Chadwick’s inspirational paintings reflect our rich history. We spruced up our stairwells and renovated our auditorium.

Faculty and Research

Our distinguished faculty received many grants, awards, and media coverage which have been spotlighted in magazines, e-newsletters and the Monday Memo.  A few highlights:

  • Dr. Nancy Pike provided the keynote lecture at the Annual Society of Pediatric Cardiovascular Nursing Meeting and the featured lecture in Cardiovascular Nursing at the T. Garrett Rauch Memorial Lecture
  • Dr. Mary Rezk-Hanna received the Research Article of the Year Award from the Council on Cardiovascular and Stroke Nursing
  • Dr. Paul Macey discussed sleep apnea at the May meeting of the National Advisory Council for Nursing Research

The research enterprise flourished with over $5 million from NIH grants and other sources.

We welcomed six new faculty members: Dr. Holli DeVon, Associate Dean for Research, Dr. Lauren Clark, Shapiro Family Endowed Chair in Developmental Disability,  Dr. Jian Li, Professor, and Drs. Eden Brauer, Kristin Choi, and Kia Skrine Jeffers, Assistant Professors.  Each has an exciting program of research that will bring new strengths to our research enterprise.  We also welcomed many new lecturers who are so important to our program.

Lecturer Barbara Demman received this year’s UCLA Marty Sklar My Last Lecture Award -- the first woman, and nurse, to receive the award.

Dr. Lynn Doering, Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs, became the newest holder of the Audrienne Moseley Endowed Chair.

We said a fond farewell to Dr. Jo-Ann Eastwood, Associate Professor, Dr. Anna Gawlinski, Adjunct Professor and Rhonda Flenoy-Younger, Director, Recruitment, Outreach and Admissions on their retirement.  


Applications for prelicensure programs continue to soar: 3,600 for our BS and over 400 for our Masters Entry Clinical Nurse, keeping our new Director of Recruitment, Outreach and Admissions, Mark Covin, very busy.

Our students amaze and inspire! They support one another as peer counselors and through student organizations, including Alpha Tau Delta, the Latino (A) Nursing Student Alumni Association (LANSA), Wellness in Nursing, Men in Nursing and the newly chartered Asian and Pacific Islander Nursing Student-Alumni Association (APINSAA).  Gamma Tau-at-large Chapter received its second Chapter Key Award from Sigma Theta Tau.

The hard work by faculty and students paid off as this year’s NCLEX pass rates are at their all-time high!

We are exploring strategies to transition our advanced practice program to a DNP. Other curricular innovations being implemented include opportunities for our prelicensure students to learn about the principles of nutrition by learning to prepare food in the newly opened UCLA test kitchen.

Communities – Local and Global

We maintained global collaborations with Hong Kong Sanatorium and Hospital. Student trips to Cuba and Kitasato University, Japan, fostered interests in global health.

Our interprofessional involvement in the Summer Health Professionals Education Program (SHPEP) entered its 4th year as we welcomed pre-health students to UCLA, introducing them to the nursing, dental and medical health professions. Two new nursing scholars joined the interprofessional National Clinician Scholars Program at UCLA.

After three decades, care for patients at our Health Clinic at the Union Rescue Mission transitioned to the LA County Department of Health.  Our legacy of caring for the underserved through the Song Brown program continues to provide clinical opportunities for FNP students throughout Los Angeles. Students and faculty provided community support at many health events such as Care Harbor.


Phenomenal invited speakers inspired us:

  • Dean’s Distinguished Lecture: Beverly Malone, CEO of the National League for Nursing.
  • Research Days: Margaret Grey, Dean Emerita from Yale
  • Commencement 2019:  Living Legend and Alum, Kathy Dracup, Dean Emerita, UCSF
  • DEI Lecture: Dr. Mary Lou De Leon Siantz, founding director, Center for the Advancement of Multicultural Perspectives on Science, UC Davis and an Alum.
  • White Coat Ceremony: Marcia Lysaght, nurse executive at the Greater Los Angeles VA, and an Alum.

The DEI hosted many events including two movies: a special screening of the inspirational documentary produced by Denetra Hampton, “The Black Angels: a Nurse’s Story,” the untold story of African American nurses who risked their lives to care for patients with tuberculosis and “Miss Evers Boys” followed by a discussion with Tony Collins who shared his family's experience being subjects in the Tuskegee Syphilis Study.

In the Fall, Karen Grimley, Chief Nursing Executive for UCLA Health and I hosted a reception to introduce our nurses to the Nurses on Boards Coalition (we are both Founding Strategic Partners). This organization seeks to build healthier communities by increasing the presence of nurses on corporate, health-related, community and other types of boards.

Development and Alumni Relations

Our extraordinary nursing alumni and friends made a lasting impact through their philanthropy, many donations in honor of our 70th birthday.  Since the start of the centennial campaign, we have received one academic chair, five new endowed scholarships, two new endowed graduate fellowships, three new endowed program support funds, and six annually funded named scholarships

Looking Ahead at 2020

2020 is an exciting time for the nursing profession as the World Health Organization has designated it “Year of the Nurse and Midwife” honoring the 200th birth anniversary of Florence Nightingale. We are partnering with the biomedical library on a “Nightingalia” exhibit in the Spring.

Mark your calendar:

  • January 16:  the first Margo McCaffery Lectureship in Pain and Palliative Care featuring Dr. Judith Paice, Director of the Cancer Pain Program at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. 
  • March 2: The Dean’s Distinguished Lecture featuring Dr. John Lowe, Endowed McKenzie Professor in Health Disparities Research and Director of the Center for Indigenous Nursing Research for Health Equity, Florida State University
  • May 2:  Distinguished Alumni Annual Awards
  • June 16: Alicia Georges, Living Legend and Volunteer President of AARP, will be our graduation speaker.

In February, we will have an accreditation visit for our new Doctor of Nursing Practice Program. In October, we will have another CCNE visit to accredit our other programs. 

Our many successes this past year are due to all of you.   May the New Year bring you happiness and joy.

All the best,

Linda Sarna, PhD, RN, FAAN

Dean and Professor

Lulu Wolf Hassenplug Chair