Associate dean for strategic partnerships and innovation Kenneth R. White was elected to the American Academy of Nursing's (AAN) board of directors after serving for three successive years on the Academy’s Fellow Selection Committee.
The AAN—the nation's pre-eminent society of nurse leaders—has roughly 2,500 members from around the world from across academia, clinical practice, administration and higher education. As one of ten board members, White begins his two-year term starting this October.
“I’m atypical among my fellow board members,” explains White, a palliative care nurse practitioner, the UVA Medical Center Professor of Nursing, and an Academy Fellow since 2012. “I didn’t come up through nursing. But as the Academy looks to diversify, its board, too, is diversifying with individuals from different arenas of thought, practice, and governance. We have a lot of big-picture thinkers on the new board that will be helpful as we chart the Academy’s path to the future.”
With more than forty years’ experience in healthcare organizations in clinical, administrative, governance, and consulting capacities, White’s background is immense and varied. A former executive in healthcare operations, marketing and operations before his pivot into nursing and academia, White served as associate director and director of the health administration master’s programs (MHA) at Virginia Commonwealth University. While the MHA program director, he was named the inaugural Charles P. Cardwell Jr. Professor of Health Administration in 2006. In 2012, he moved into global partnership programs and was named VCU’s inaugural Sentara Healthcare Professor before arriving at the University of Virginia in mid-2013.
At UVA, White has developed a series of novel initiatives, including the Leadership Partners in Healthcare Management program, a Nursing-Darden collaboration, and oversees the School's Continuing Education programs. He serves as president of Beta Kappa, the School’s Sigma Theta Tau International honor society chapter, and teaches courses in healthcare administration, palliative care, organizational theory and leadership. He is a member of the UVA Health System Quality Committee, chairs the American College of Healthcare Executives’ LGBT Forum, and is the author of several recent books:
- The Well-Managed Healthcare Organization (8th ed)
- Take Charge of Your Healthcare Management Career: 50 Lessons that Drive Success
- and with UVA School of Nursing dean Dorrie K. Fontaine, Boost Your Nursing Leadership Career: 50 Lessons that Drive Success
White asserts that his non-traditional background will help him, with his fellow board members, broaden the Academy’s work and reach, particularly in the area of mentoring, professional development of nursing faculty and service from existing Fellows.
“There’s a breadth of talent and leadership among Academy Fellows that’s there to be harnessed,” says White, noting that FAANs must maintain their membership through service. “It’s my professional obligation to give back, and leave something behind.
“I don't want to just pay my dues,” adds White. “I want to really do something. This will be a wonderful chance to serve."