Cynthia McCurren, Ph.D., RN, dean of the School of Nursing at the University of Michigan-Flint, has been appointed chair of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) Board of Directors. McCurren's two-year term began on March 28, 2022, after being named chair-elect in 2020.
"This appointment, as well as the many ways our nursing faculty engage in national dialogue, ensure that we are fully informed on the challenges and opportunities in health care, higher education, and nursing education that will influence a cutting-edge learning experience for students," McCurren says. "I also hope that I can serve as a role model to our students, as they aspire to be leaders in the profession."
AACN represents more than 850 public and private nursing schools worldwide. McCurren will lead the organization's efforts in establishing quality standards for nursing education, influencing the nursing profession to improve health care, and promoting public support for nursing education, research, and practice. Prior to her appointment as chair, McCurren served as co-chair of the AACN Essentials Task Force, a group that reimagined how registered nurses can best be prepared for professional roles. The recommendations of the task force were endorsed by nursing deans across the country, prompting innovation in nearly every area of nursing education.
"We must listen and understand the needs of those that we serve. Nurse educators must engage broadly and co-create models of care that reflect a shared vision for the profession of nursing and culture of health for all," McCurren says.
This kind of innovation and community focus is woven into the fabric of UM-Flint's School of Nursing. Just a few months ago, SON was awarded its first provisional patent. Associate Professor of Nursing Marilyn Filter created a new medical device that makes vaginal and rectal exams less invasive–increasing healthcare access for those with mobility issues or survivors of sexual assault.
McCurren is a strong advocate for nursing educators to be active in the community, stating that effective instruction is dependent on educators being fully informed on the challenges faced across the continuum of patient care. In addition to her work as dean and AACN board chair, McCurren serves on the Michigan Association of Nursing Leaders executive board, is the past president of the Michigan Association of Colleges of Nursing, and was an appointed member of the Michigan Task Force for Nursing Education. She is a member of the Board of Directors for the University of Michigan Health-West and serves as the Chair of the Quality and Safety Committee.
"During my tenure as Board Chair, I will strive to create an environment that welcomes diverse perspectives, encourages dialogue, and promotes multiple ways of thinking," McCurren explains. "Such engagement can lead to creative solutions and collaborations, and ultimately have a positive influence on shaping policies and advancing meaningful change. Above all, I will foster academic/practice partnerships to promote a shared vision for the profession."
Logan McGrady is the Marketing & Digital Communication Manager for the Office of Marketing & Digital Strategies.