UMass Dartmouth announced today a $1.25 million gift from Rear Admiral Julia Plotnick (Ret.) to establish the Julia and Harold Plotnick Endowed Professorship, which will support the creation of a tenured position with a specialty in Global Health within the University's College of Nursing. This newly established position will provide resources to fund a distinguished faculty member's work, reward academic achievement, and enable the professor to pursue new areas of research and innovative teaching methods to advance global health.
"This generous gift is an investment in our nursing students, faculty, and programs as they reach new levels of academic excellence, particularly in confronting the global health challenges," said UMass Dartmouth Chancellor Divina Grossman. "We are deeply appreciative to Ms. Plotnick, who has been a tremendous supporter of the growth and success of our nursing program. Through her own exemplary career, she has demonstrated the passion, scholarship, and diverse experience needed in delivering care to the needy around the world."
The College of Nursing will benefit from leadership from a global program of research, advancement of interdisciplinary scholarship and collaboration, growing understanding of global health topics, and translation of such knowledge into practice. Endowed professorships often prove to attract and retain world class faculty. The establishment of an endowed professorship for global health will provide the opportunity to infuse the nursing curriculum with a global perspective and prepare nurses for global health practice as clinicians, educators, researchers, and policy makers.
"UMass Dartmouth's College of Nursing enjoys a proud history of community involvement with graduates, who are now in leadership positions locally, nationally, and globally," said Ms. Plotnick. "My hope is that generations of nursing scholars will continue to embrace that far-reaching vision and compassionate world view. The establishment of this endowed professorship will promote a global perspective among faculty both within the College of Nursing and across the University."
A native of Fall River, Julia Hurley Plotnick graduated from the St. Anne's Hospital School of Nursing and built an extensive career in public health including service as the U.S. Assistant Surgeon General and Chief Nurse Officer of the U.S. Public Health Service. She was the lead speaker at the Graduate Commencement and received an honorary doctorate at the undergraduate ceremony during UMass Dartmouth's 2010 Commencement Exercises. In addition, Ms. Plotnick is the co-author with UMass Dartmouth Nursing faculty member Dr. Jeanne Leffers of "Volunteering at Home and Abroad: The Essential Guide for Nurses".
During her time at the U.S. Public Health Service, as a community health and maternal/child specialist, she has held various national positions and accepted special international assignments with the World Health Organization (WHO), including assisting the WHO Iraq office to develop a plan of action to re-establish health services in Iraq and assisting the Ministry of Health in Romania in developing plans to improve health services for mothers and children.
She also has served as an international consultant on nursing and health care in numerous countries, including Ethiopia, Rwanda, Zaire and Croatia, and she represented the United States on the Global Advisory Group on Nursing to the Director-General of the WHO. She has received numerous awards and citations including the Audrey Hepburn Sigma Theta Tau International Humanitarian Award, the Surgeon General's Medallion, and the Distinguished Service Medal from the U.S. Public Health Service. She is also an American Academy of Nursing Fellow.
UMass Dartmouth's College of Nursing enrolls more than 650 students in its DNP program, BS, RN-to-BS Online, RN Refresher, MS, and PhD programs of study. Since 1969, the college's programs have prepared professional nurses for leadership and innovation in health care in Southeastern Massachusetts and beyond. The College of Nursing was ranked 79th nationwide by U.S. News & World Report in its 2015 edition of the "Best Graduate Schools" issue. The University's College of Nursing was among nearly 1,000 programs surveyed by U.S. News. This past Fall, UMass Dartmouth opened the Elisabeth A. Pennington Simulation Laboratory (SimLab), which offers students an experiential learning environment with innovative equipment necessary for them to practice basic and advanced nursing skills.