UW News

January 29, 1998

Nancy Woods named dean of the UW School of Nursing

Dr. Nancy Fugate Woods, associate dean for research at the University of Washington School of Nursing, has been named dean of the school, UW President Richard L. McCormick announced today. The appointment, which follows a seven-month national search, is subject to confirmation by the UW Board of Regents at its next regular meeting on Feb. 20.

Woods, 51, is also the founding director of the School of Nursing’s internationally known Center for Women’s Health Research and a former chair of the Department of Family and Child Nursing. She has been a faculty member since 1978.

Woods succeeds Dr. Sue T. Hegyvary, who has served as dean since 1986 and who last April announced her intention to resign her administrative position this year. Hegyvary will continue as professor in the Department of Biobehavioral Nursing and Health Systems.

“Sue Hegyvary’s accomplishments as dean have reflected great credit on our nursing school and the University as a whole,” said UW President Richard L. McCormick. “She and Nancy Woods have been close colleagues for many years. I am confident that with Nancy’s wonderful blend of experience and leadership, our nursing school will continue at the absolute forefront of nursing research, teaching and clinical programs.”

“I could not be more pleased with the outcome of this national search,” said Hegyvary. “This school has a passion for excellence, which is reflected in this choice. When Nancy was unanimously recommended as associate dean for nursing research a year ago, the search committee commented that they had found the best candidate for the position right here at the University of Washington. The same holds true as she becomes dean.”

“I am humbled by the confidence shown in me by the University and by my colleagues,” said Woods. “This is a challenging time in which to lead change in both higher education and health care. We have an outstanding tradition of excellence and with a talented faculty, outstanding students and a dedicated staff, I am committed to continuing this tradition.”

Woods, who will receive an annual salary of $160,008, earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Wisconsin State University at Eau Claire in 1968, a master of nursing degree from the UW in 1969, and a Ph.D. in epidemiology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1978.

She has provided leadership since the 1970s in developing women’s health as a field of study in nursing science. Her early research focused on the relationship of women’s social environments and their health, emphasizing the health consequences of women’s multiple roles and social supports. With colleagues at Duke University and the UW, she conducted the first study of perimenstrual symptoms in American women.

With UW colleagues, Woods established the Center on Women’s Health Research in 1989 to study women’s health across the lifespan. Her current research focuses on mid-life women, their health and health-seeking behavior patterns. She has been especially interested in women who may experience challenges to their health because of their age, ethnicity, multiple roles and socioeconomic status.

Woods was appointed associate dean for research in January 1997. Among her many activities and honors, she is a member of the National Academy of Science’s Institute of Medicine and a fellow and former president of the American Academy of Nursing. She was a member of the National Advisory Council on Nursing Research for the National Center for Nursing Research at the National Institutes of Health, and a member of the Women’s Health Task Force of the NIH. Last fall she received the first Vivian O. Lee Women’s Health Award, to be given annually by U.S. Public Health Service Region X to honor individuals who have shown leadership, creativity and vision in improving the health of women and their families.

Woods is married to Dr. James Woods, a toxicologist and senior research leader at Battelle Seattle Research Center. He is also a UW research professor of environmental health and internationally recognized for research in mercury toxicity. The Woods’ daughter, Erin, 17, is a student at Seattle Academy of Arts and Sciences.

The UW first offered nursing courses in 1918, and the School of Nursing was established in 1945. Today it is internationally recognized for its commitment to development of knowledge about nursing practice through research and to excellence in clinical practice. It offers four degree programs, including a doctorate in nursing science that prepares nurses for research activities in academia and practice.

The UW School of Nursing receives the largest amount in nursing research awards from the National Institutes of Health. In 1995-96, it received more than $7 million in research awards, including more than $6 million in NIH funding. It has the largest number of fellows in the American Academy of Nursing, a prestigious honor society for nursing leaders. It has consistently been voted the top nursing school in national rankings.

The school has three departments: Biobehavioral Nursing and Health Systems, Family and Child Nursing, and Psychosocial and Community Health Nursing. There are 449 students, including 322 graduate students, and 85 full-time faculty.