Pam Cipriano, UVA's sixth nursing dean
UW honored Cipriano, who earned an MSN there in 1981, with its highest honor: the Alumna Summa Laude Dignata award for 2022.

Dean Pam Cipriano, the Sadie Heath Cabaniss Professor and UVA School of Nursing's sixth dean, was celebrated by her alma mater with the Alumna Summa Laude Dignata, its highest award for alumni, for her service and leadership on June 9, 2022.

After being honored at the UW ceremony, Dean Cipriano went on to offer the keynote address at UW's School of Nursing graduation.

"She’s one of those amazing people that you meet once in a while in your life that are truly great."

Tim Brigham, CEO, Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education

white blue arrows read moreread THE HEART OF HEALTHCARE (UW Magazine, June 2022)

UW celebrated Cipriano, president of the International Council of Nurses and two-term past president of the American Nurses Association, for her "fierce advocacy for her colleagues, [her] voice of reason in unreasonable times," and [as] a "spark of hope for countless nurses in many countries."

Said Cipriano's nominators, "In your remarkable 40-year career, you have built a lasting legacy of service as a powerful advocate for nursing on the national and international stage, seeking to advance opportunities, education, working conditions, and career paths for nurses throughout the world.

"You have established the importance of having nursing input on all aspects of healthcare policy," they added, "and your efforts have inspired countless nurses in many countries."

Nominator Azita Emami, executive dean of the UW School of Nursing, described Cipriano as "an exemplar of how to deploy a UW education to become a leader."

In addition to her leadership roles, Cipriano has extensive experience as an academic medical center executive, and served for nine years as the chief clinical officer/chief nursing officer at UVA Health where she was responsible for all inpatient and outpatient clinical services. It was under her leadership that UVA Health earned its initial American Nurses Credentialing Center “Magnet” designation in 2006.

Cipriano's advocacy for the nursing profession is well-recognized. She is known nationally and internationally as a strong advocate for quality, growing nursing’s influence on healthcare policy, and leading efforts to advance the role and visibility of nurses. She served as a public-sector adviser in the U.S. Delegation to the 69th World Health Assembly in 2016. 

Cipriano’s more than 40-year career in nursing is also marked by a focus on improving the safety and efficiency of care by ensuring a healthy, safe, and supportive work environment and encouraging healthy behaviors to promote well-being. She has been a leader in the National Academy of Medicine’s Action Collaborative on Clinician Well-Being and Resilience and was instrumental in advancing strategies to reduce regulatory burden and revamp electronic documentation to relieve clinicians of unnecessary work. Her recent work with the Collaborative focuses on mitigating the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the mental health of all clinicians by addressing the psychological safety and support for caregivers as well as reducing the stigma of seeking mental health care as primary prevention for burnout syndrome and depression. She also serves as an advisor to TIME’S UP Healthcare, which aims to eliminate sexual harassment and gender inequality in healthcare. 

She has been repeatedly recognized for her exceptional leadership and contributions to the profession, including being a Distinguished Nurse Scholar-in-Residence at the Institute of Medicine and being inducted as a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing and earning its Healthcare Leader Award. She was named among the “Top 100 Most Influential People in (U.S.) Healthcare” by Modern Healthcare magazine for four consecutive years (2015 to 2018), and one of its “Top 25 Women in Healthcare” in 2015. Cipriano served as the inaugural editor of American Nurse Today, the official journal of the American Nurses Association, for eight years. 

Dean Cipriano earned nursing diploma from the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing in 1976, a BSN from American University in 1978, and an MSN in 1981 from the University of Washington. In 1992, she earned a PhD in executive nursing administration from the University of Utah’s College of Nursing. She holds certification in Advanced Executive Nursing Administration.