Ann Kurth, who has served as dean of the Yale School of Nursing (YSN) for seven years, will step down at the end of the fall semester to assume a new position as president of the New York Academy of Medicine (NYAM), Yale President Peter Salovey announced today.
Kurth, an epidemiologist and clinically trained nurse midwife, will be the first nonphysician to lead the academy in its 175-year history.
She is now serving her second term as YSN dean.
“In 2015, Dean Kurth brought to Yale extensive leadership experience promoting health care around the world through research, education, and practice,” Salovey wrote in a message to the Yale community. “Since then, she has leveraged her expertise to expand YSN’s global reach, enhance the school’s curriculum, and increase access to a nursing education.”
During her tenure, Kurth, who is also the Linda Koch Lorimer Professor of Nursing, worked with YSN faculty members to develop new educational offerings in recognition of the need for more advanced practice nurses, nurse scientists, and nurse leaders. The school launched a clinical Doctor of Nursing practice degree and added the pediatric acute care nurse practitioner specialty. Students in the master’s program can also now select a concentration in Gender and Sexuality Health Justice to learn about health disparities of LGBTQIA+ patients through a racial and economic justice lens.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which highlighted the urgent need for access to mental health resources, the school next summer will launch a fully online master’s program for registered nurses, with psychiatric mental health offered as the first specialty.
“This will ultimately bring much-needed psychiatric care to communities across the country, making YSN a prime example of how innovative educational programs can expand a school’s impact well beyond its campus,” Salovey wrote.
In 2017, Kurth, along with the deans of the Schools of Medicine and Public Health, co-founded the Yale Institute for Global Health, creating a focal point at Yale for research and education in this area. Through the initiative, YSN faculty are now conducting research in Ghana, Kenya, Malaysia, Mexico, Nepal, and Uganda. Currently, 17 YSN faculty members are affiliated with the institute, as is the school’s Office of Global Affairs and Planetary Health.
Passionate about nursing’s role in addressing climate change and human health crises, Kurth has also co-chaired the university’s Sustainability Advisory Council since 2017, and she was a member of the climate change task force that helped the university chart a pathway for its carbon-free emission goals.
Kurth has also focused on securing significant resources for student fellowships and innovative faculty research to address pressing national and global challenges. She led the school in the formation of endowed funds that have created new professorships and established educational degrees and programs. And she oversaw the physical expansion of the school’s building on West Campus, helping bring 10,000 square feet of state-of-the-art simulation facilities to the school.
In 2016, Kurth established the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and worked with faculty and staff to increase the representativeness and excellence of the student body. Today, YSN students are the most diverse in the school’s history, Salovey wrote. The YSN community has also enhanced faculty representation and engagement at the school. For example, the school’s governing board now includes both clinical and tenure track faculty members.
Following the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, Kurth also served on the university’s Public Health Committee, helping guide university policies in response to the crisis. She also mobilized YSN faculty, staff, students, and alumni to form a pool who could help as surges hit local hospitals, and worked with state and national partners to ensure the flexibility of educational guidelines.
Kurth, who earned a Ph.D. from the University of Washington, Master of Public Health degree from Columbia University, and bachelor’s degree from Princeton, received a Master of Science in Nursing degree from Yale.
“It has been a deep honor to have had the opportunity to come back and serve as dean of the School of Nursing over the last seven years,” she said. “The YSN community’s incredibly committed and creative faculty, students, staff, and alumni have made possible all that the school has accomplished. I have been grateful for the opportunity to engage with so many wonderful collaborators and supporters, and I am proud of the steps the school has taken to advance our mission of better health for all people — and the planet. Together, we have led the school into a better place for tomorrow.
“Yale nurses demonstrate every day and everywhere a crucial impact on health, and the last two years especially have shown how much the world needs advanced practice nursing. The school will have a new leader as it enters its next century, and I look forward with joyful anticipation to all the many great things to come from YSN.”
In his message, Salovey said Kurth leaves YSN in a strong position as it approaches its centennial next fall, noting that the school reached its highest national ranking during her tenure.
Salovey will soon create a search advisory committee to help identify candidates for the next dean of YSN. The committee will seek input from YSN’s faculty, students, staff, and alumni, and will engage a search firm to assist in this process.