KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Karen L. Miller, Ph.D., RN, dean of the University of Kansas schools of Nursing and Health Professions, has announced she plans to step down from her leadership roles at the University of Kansas Medical Center at the end of the academic year.
Miller has served 18 years as dean of the School of Nursing, 16 years as dean of the School of Health Professions, and nine years as senior vice chancellor for academic and student affairs. She will continue to serve in these roles until June 30, 2015. She intends to remain a faculty member as a tenured professor in the School of Nursing after she steps down as dean.
Miller announced the decision on Monday.
“I have been privileged to lead exceptional faculty and staff whose innovations in education, research and practice are known nationally and internationally. I am very proud of our thriving KU Medical Center and the part I play in making that happen every day,” she said.
Many of the graduate programs in the schools of Nursing and Health Professions have risen to national prominence during Miller’s tenure. In the latest rankings by U.S. News & World Report, seven programs in the two schools were ranked in the top 25 among public universities. Last year, the School of Nursing was recognized as a Center of Excellence in Education by the National League for Nursing.
“Karen Miller has worked diligently to increase the number of nurses and health care professionals to meet the workforce needs of Kansas and beyond,” said Douglas Girod, M.D., executive vice chancellor of KU Medical Center. “She recognized the importance of educating more teachers by using faculty enhancement strategies, cutting-edge information technology and interprofessional teaching approaches. Most important, she has been a great student advocate who has been dedicated to ensuring that KU is preparing skilled and compassionate health care professionals."
Research by health professions and nurse scientists has kept these schools highly ranked for National Institutes of Health and other external funding during Miller’s tenure. She initiated the KU School of Nursing as the academic home of the National Database of Nursing Quality
Indicators with the American Nurses Association, reporting benchmarks of clinical outcomes for over 2,000 hospitals nationwide.
Miller led the development of KU HealthPartners, Inc., the integrated faculty practice for advanced practice nurses and health professionals who provide care in nutrition, audiology, rehabilitation and wellness, and in-home living services. Since 2006, KU HealthPartners faculty and students have cared for patients at Silver City Health Center as part of the Wyandotte County safety net. In addition, longstanding partnerships with University of Kansas Hospital and Children’s Mercy Hospital and Health Systems have led to successful affiliate faculty models for teaching, research and transition-to-practice programs.
Prior to her arrival at KU in 1996, Miller was vice president and chief nursing officer at Children's Hospital Colorado and associate professor at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. She completed her baccalaureate degree in nursing at Case Western Reserve University and earned her master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Colorado.
Girod announced he will work with leadership in the schools of Nursing and Health Professions to coordinate the recruitment process for a new dean of each school.