Kenneth R. White, associate dean for strategic partnerships and innovation, was announced as president-elect of the American Academy of Nursing (AAN) at that group’s annual induction ceremony and policy conference in Washington, D.C. Oct. 26.
White—a palliative care nurse practitioner at UVA Health, where he has maintained a weekly practice since 2013—will serve as the Academy’s president-elect through fall 2021, assuming the two-year presidency from 2021 to 2023 when he succeeds current president Eileen Sullivan-Marx, dean of the Rory Meyers College of Nursing at NYU.
“It’s an honor to serve at the helm of the Academy,” said White, “and to continue the work of nursing giants who came before me. As the pre-eminent organization of nurse scholars, leaders, and educators, I look forward to achieving new heights of impact and outcome to improve health and healthcare across the globe through innovation, advancement of nursing science, and impact of health policy to achieve the best care possible for individuals and communities.”
The AAN is nursing’s most prestigious group, comprised of more than 2,400 Fellows from around the world who are nurse leaders in education, management, practice, policy, and research. The Academy’s board aims to transform health and healthcare by influencing and impacting health policy, improving nursing practice and leadership, and disseminating knowledge to benefit the nursing profession and, ultimately, impact the health and health care of patients and communities, from local to global.
White is an endowed professor at both UVA School of Nursing and UVA Medical Center and holds joint academic appointments in the School of Medicine, Darden School of Business, and McIntire School of Commerce. Inducted as an Academy Fellow in 2012, White served as an elected member of the AAN Fellow Selection committee from 2014 to 2017, and was elected to its 10-member Board of Directors in 2017.He has served as the chair of the annual AAN policy conference for the past two years, which garnered record attendance. As an Academy board member, White helped formulate and execute the AAN’s strategic plan as well as guide its new diversity and inclusivity statement, which was revised in 2016.
In addition to being a nurse, White also has a long and successful career as a healthcare administrator, and was inducted as a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives in 1990, and elected to its Board of Governors in 2004 – the first nurse ever to serve as part of the group’s governing body. He co-founded the Central Virginia Healthcare Executive’s group in 2002, was founding chair of ACHE’s LGBT Forum, and also served as associate editor for the Journal of Healthcare Management. In early 2019, White received ACHE’s highest honor—the Gold Medal Award—for his influence and service across the arc of his career.
Even as he’s been tapped to serve on national nursing boards and committees, White has continued to teach, write, mentor students, and faithfully care for patients at UVA. He directs the School of Nursing’s Continuing Education arm, and regularly speaks on inclusive palliative and end-of-life care as well as nursing leadership. He’s taught both leadership and palliative care courses to undergraduate and graduate nursing students at UVA since 2013, after a two-decade teaching and health administration graduate program leadership career at Virginia Commonwealth University’s College of Health Professions.
“Leading the AAN is a unique and esteemed opportunity in nursing,” said Pam Cipriano, dean of UVA School of Nursing. “Dr. White has, for years, influenced the advancement of health care delivery and leadership nationally. As a highly accomplished clinician and educator, he will continue to be a strong voice advancing health policy through the Academy's work.”
White most recently is the author of Boost Your Nursing Leadership Career (Health Administration Press: 2017), Take Charge of Your Healthcare Management Career (Health Administration Press: 2015), and The Well-Managed Healthcare Organization, 9th edition (Health Administration Press: 2019), which is an award-winning text and remains widely used and has been translated into four languages.