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FitzGerald receives prestigious recognition

The dean of nursing selected to be inducted as a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing

August 19, 2021

Mount Saint Mary’s University is pleased to announce that Leah FitzGerald, PhD, FNP, FAAN, has been selected to be a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing (Academy). FitzGerald is dean of nursing and the Fletcher Jones Endowed Chair in Community Partnerships at Mount Saint Mary’s University. Induction into the academy is a significant milestone in a nurse leader’s career in which their accomplishments are honored by their colleagues within and outside the profession. Fellows are selected based on their contributions and impact to advance the public’s health.

FitzGerald is dean of nursing and the Fletcher Jones Endowed Chair in Community Partnerships at Mount Saint Mary’s University.
FitzGerald is dean of nursing and the Fletcher Jones Endowed Chair in Community Partnerships at Mount Saint Mary’s University.

The academy recognizes nursing's most accomplished leaders in policy, research, practice, administration and academia. Academy fellows, from nearly 40 countries, hold a wide variety of roles influencing health care. Induction into the fellowship represents more than recognition of one's accomplishments within the nursing profession. Fellows contribute their collective expertise to the academy, engaging with health leaders nationally and globally to improve health and achieve health equity by impacting policy through nursing leadership, innovation and science.  

“I am deeply honored to receive this prestigious recognition and to become part of the academy’s nursing leaders. I look forward to advancing the work of the organization, working with colleagues to make a difference in the health and life of those we serve,” said FitzGerald.

FitzGerald has been a registered nurse for 40 years and maintains national certification as a family nurse practitioner. She teaches courses on health care in the community and has developed summer learning opportunities in high need nursing areas that are not typically incorporated into traditional nursing curricula. FitzGerald has published 29 peer-reviewed articles in national journals. Her program of research includes the area of stress responsiveness to human disease including consequences of oral health stress, and health promotion interventions in underserved and vulnerable populations. She developed a cloud-based nurse run software teaching platform to increase preventive screening.  FitzGerald serves on national and local boards with a focus on health care, nursing theory and education and oral health, and has presented at multiple national and international conferences.  FitzGerald holds a PhD in nursing from the University of California, Los Angeles, and completed post-doctoral education at The Norman Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology at UCLA.

“I am thrilled for this important fellowship that recognizes Dr. Fitzgerald’s four decades of service as a leader in her field.  I am excited to see how her expertise and contributions will advance health care and make an impact in the community,” said Ann McElaney-Johnson, PhD, president of Mount Saint Mary’s University.

Through a competitive, rigorous application process, the academy’s fellow selection committee, which is comprised of current fellows, reviewed hundreds of applications to select the 2021 fellows. FitzGerald was one of 225 individuals selected to be inducted into the 2021 Class of Fellows. The 2021 fellows represent 38 states, the District of Columbia and 18 countries.

The 2021 inductees will be recognized for their significant contributions to health and health care at the academy’s annual health policy conference, taking place on October 7-9, 2021. This year’s conference and induction ceremony will be offered in a hybrid format, allowing attendees to participate either in-person (at the Marriott Marquis in Washington, DC) or virtually allowing for maximum attendance through an inclusive format where colleagues, friends, and family members who may not be able to attend the event in person are able to participate. This year’s induction ceremony, which will feature personalized video vignettes and live streaming of each inductee, will be a special way to recognize the new fellows as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to challenge traditional methods of celebration.

Learn more about the academy and visit the hybrid policy conference website for more details.

About the American Academy of Nursing
The American Academy of Nursing serves the public by advancing health policy and practice through the generation, synthesis, and dissemination of nursing knowledge. Academy fellows are inducted into the organization for their extraordinary contributions to improve health locally and globally. With more than 2,800 fellows, the Academy represents nursing’s most accomplished leaders in policy, research, administration, practice and academia.