Mary E. Gibson is a “Double Hoo,” having earned her BSN (with distinction) in 1975 and her MSN (Primary Nursing in Society – Community Health) in 1986. Mary went on to earn her PhD at the University of Pennsylvania in 2007 with a focus on nursing and healthcare history. She has lived in Charlottesville since 1972.

Mary’s primary clinical specialty is obstetrics, and she demonstrates a strong community focus to her practice. Her employment experience includes public health nursing, outpatient and inpatient (labor and delivery) obstetrics. She served as a program coordinator for maternal transfers to UVA (1990s) as well as UVA nurse coordinator and data collector for regionalization of high-risk pregnancies (late 1970s). In 1997, Mary joined the faculty of the School of Nursing and has taught in the areas of public health and obstetrics (both classroom and clinical), leadership, and she co-teaches the healthcare history elective for fourth-year medical students. She was a recipient of the Excellence in Teaching Award through the UVA Nursing Alumni Association.

Mary is the current president of the American Association for the History of Nursing (Sept. 2016-Sept. 2018). She also serves as an assistant director of the Bjoring Center for Nursing Historical Inquiry at UVA and is the immediate past chair of the School of Nursing Faculty Organization. Mary has served as chapter and Virginia section chair of the Association of Women’s Health Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses. She has served as president of the Beta Kappa Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau, and is active in a local nonprofit serving mothers and children, Jefferson Area CHiP,  recently serving as its board chair (2014-2016).

Research Focus

History of nursing and healthcare with a focus on early 20th century child health and children with orthopedic disabilities. Her dissertation is titled: From Charity to an Able Body: The Care and Treatment of Disabled Children in Virginia 1910-1935.

Clinical Focus

Obstetrics and community health.

Teaching Focus

Nursing care of women and the childbearing family and community health, leadership and healthcare history.


Journal Articles

Gibson, M. E. (2018). Discovering tuberculosis: A global history, 1900 to the present, by Christian McMillan [Book review]. Nursing History Review, 26, 230-232.

Gibson, M. E. (2017). Seeds of grief: Children’s Orthopedic Hospital 1907-1915. Windows in Time, 25(1), 6-10.

Gibson, M. E. (2017). An early history of anesthesia in labor. Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic & Neonatal Nursing, 46, 619-627. doi:10.1016/j.jogn.2016.10.013

Gibson, M. E. (2017). Historical perspectives on the use of technology in maternal and newborn care [Guest Editorial]. Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic & Neonatal Nursing, 46, 617-618. doi:10.1016/j.jogn.2016.11.020

Martin, S. E., Drake, E., Yoder, L., & Gibson, M. (2015). Active duty women’s perceptions of breastfeeding support in the military setting. Military Medicine, 180(11), 1154-1160. doi:10.7205/MILMED-D-14-00498

Pitcock, N., Drake, E., Kulbok, P. A., Pineda, K., Gibson, M., & Yoder, L. (2015). Evaluation of an initiative to increase exclusive breastfeeding among rural Hispanic women. Clinical Lactation, 6(3), 98-108. doi:10.1891/2158-0782.6.3.98

Gibson, M. E. (2012). [Review of the Web site North Carolina Nursing History, 2012]. Nursing History Review, 21, 115-118. doi: 10.1891/1062-8061.21.109.

Gibson, M. E. (2012). Virginia’s response to the white plague. Windows in Time, 20(1), 10-17.

Connolly, C., & Gibson, M. (2011). The 'white plague' and color: Children, race, and tuberculosis in Virginia 1900-1935. Journal of Pediatric Nursing, 26, 230-238.

Drake, E. & Gibson, M. (2010). Update on expanded newborn screening: Issues for consideration. Nursing for Women's Health, 14(3), 199-211.

Gibson, M. E. (2009). Virginia nursing history. Nursing History Review, 17, 193-195.

Gibson, M. E. (2006). The smallest victims of the "White Plague". Pediatric Nursing, 32(1), 71-72.

Gibson, M. E. (2005). Getting back to basics: The curious history of breastfeeding in the United States. American Journal of Nursing, 105(10), 72C-D.

Gibson, M. E., Bailey, C. F., & Ferguson, J. E. (2001). Transporting the incubator: Effects upon a region of the adoption of guidelines for high-risk maternal transport. Journal of Perinatology, 21(5), 300-306.

Book Sections

Gibson, M. E, Thatcher, E., & Schuster, G. F. (2018). Community assessment and evaluation. In M. Stanhope & J. Lancaster (Eds.), Foundations for Population Health in Community/Public Health Nursing (5th ed.) (pp. 203-220). St. Louis, MO: Elsevier.

Gibson, M.E. (2016). A challenging strategy in rural health care in the U.S. In S. Lewenson, A. McAllister, & K. Smith (Eds.), (pp. 0). Nursing History for Contemporary Role Development, New York: Springer Publishing Company

Kirchgessner, J., Keeling, A.W., & Gibson, M.E. (2015). Nurses in schools, coal towns, and migrant camps: Bringing health care to rural America, 1900-1950. In G. M. Fealy, C. E. Hallet, & S. M. Deitz, Histories of nursing practice (pp. 0). Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press.

Gibson, M., & Thatcher, E. (2015). Community as client: Assessment and analysis. In M. Stanhope & J. Lancaster (Eds.), Public health nursing (9th ed.) (pp. 396-421). St. Louis, MO: Elsevier Mosby

Gibson, Mary E. (2014). School nursing in Virginia: Hookworm, tooth decay and tonsillectomies. In J. Kirchgessner & A. Keeling (Eds.), Nursing rural America: Perspectives from the early 20th century (pp. 39-52). New York, NY: Springer Publishing Company

Gibson, M. E. (2009). Virginia Laurie(1st). In S. Burch (Ed.), Encyclopedia of American Disability History (pp. ). New York: Facts on File Publishing

Gibson, M. E. (2009). Physiological and psychological changes in pregnancy. In Association of Women's Health, Obstetrics,and Neonatal Nurses (Eds.), Perinatal Orientation and Education Program (pp. ). Washington DC: AWHONN

Archival Documents and Collections

Gibson, M. E. (2015). The Nancy Milio collection. Eleanor Crowder. Bjoring Center for Nursing Historical Inquiry.