University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing Dean Norma Lang Steps Down; Assumes Endowed Professorship and International Role

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Media Contact:Ken Wildes | | 215-898-8721May 1, 2000

PHILADELPHIA ---University of Pennsylvania President Judith Rodin today (May 1) announced that she had accepted with regret the decision of School of Nursing Dean Norma Lang to step down as dean, effective this summer. Professor Lang, the Margaret Bond Simon Dean of Nursing, is a world-renowned nursing leader, educator and researcher. She has served as Dean since 1992 and will assume an endowed nursing professorship in the faculty.

"The University is deeply grateful to Dean Lang for the record of accomplishment the School has achieved under her leadership," said President Rodin. The School of Nursing is currently the top-funded private nursing school in federal research dollars from the National Institutes of Health and consistently ranked in the top two schools nationally by the U.S. News & World Report survey of graduate schools. Rodin continued, "We are delighted she will be rejoining the faculty as a pre-eminent teacher and researcher in the nursing community."

"I have thoroughly enjoyed my tenure as a dean here. I eagerly look forward to enhancing my research agenda and leadership role internationally," said Dean Lang, an honorary fellow of the Royal College of Nursing and developer of the Lang Model used to measure nursing's impact on patient outcomes." Personally, I am inspired by the thought that, as a professor, I will have even more opportunities to mentor the next generation of nursing scholars."

"The University also appreciates Dean Lang's contributions in establishing a range of interdisciplinary degree programs," said Provost Robert Barchi. "These include Health Care Management in partnership with the Wharton School, Health Care Technology with the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, a submatriculation program with the Law School and a nutrition minor."

Dean Lang developed a tripartite mission for Penn nursing, integrating research, education and clinical practice. In this way, the discovery of new knowledge can inform both education and practice which can then test it and stimulate additional research.

During Dean Lang's eight-year tenure, the School of Nursing:

Formed a system of centers for nursing research to focus and leverage nursing information as well as inter- and intra-disciplinary research in a program now emulated by other Schools of Nursing;

Established new research centers focusing in the areas of gerontological science; women, children and families; urban health; and serious illness while reinvigorating existing centers in nursing history, health services research and nursing research;

Acquired a major federal research grant for a new center in nursing outcomes, establishing Penn Nursing as pre-eminent in the field;

Launched the Penn-Macy Institute for Academic Practice providing other Schools of Nursing with a framework for establishing academic-based clinical practices modeled on Penn Nursing's ground-breaking experience.

"A world-class school does not exist without the best possible faculty and students," said Dean Lang. "The incredible chemistry that occurs when the brightest faculty and students interact and are supported by a talented, dedicated staff is the hallmark of Penn."

Endowments rose from $5 million in 1992 to $25 million today enabling the School of Nursing to recruit the top nursing scholars. Five additional endowed professorships were also added to the School of Nursing faculty.

"Both education and research require substantial technical support today," said Dean Lang, noting that when she arrived at the school there were few computers. Plans are underway for a state-of-the-art Mathias J. Brunner Technology Center for the support of faculty and students. In addition, the school has successfully offered an innovative, real-time distance learning Masters Program in Nurse Midwifery.

Dean Lang has received many regional, national and international honors, notably fellowships in the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Nursing and the Royal College of Nursing in London, England. She has received many national and international awards, is published widely and is frequently invited to speak around the world.

The focus of Dr. Lang's research has been a search for definitions, standards, criteria and measurements that describe the quality of health care. She is a principal contributor to the International Classification for Nursing Practice. Her model for quality assurance has been translated internationally. The classification system is patterned after the World Health Organization's International Classification of Diseases. This international nomenclature is helping nurses describe, study, teach and measure the practice of nursing.

During her tenure, Dean Lang has also served on several Boards of Trustees including the Franklin Institute, the National Advisory Council of the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research and the American Medical Peer Review Association. She has also chaired national and international committees including the International Council of Nurses International Classification for Nursing Practice Program, the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Health Care Organizations Nursing Standards Committee, the American Nurses Association Steering Committee for Data Bases for Clinical Nursing Practice, the American Nurses Association Clinical Indicators Projects and the ECRI Advisory Group on Clinical Practice Guidelines.

The search process for Dean Lang's successor will begin shortly.