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SON Dean Elected President of the American Academy of Nursing

October 19, 2021
Ken White
Dr. Kenneth R. White became dean of the MGH Institute's School of Nursing in July 2021.

Kenneth R. White, PhD, AGACNP, ACHPN, FACHE, FAAN, dean of the School of Nursing at MGH Institute of Health Professions, has been elected president of the American Academy of Nursing.

Dr. White, who began his two-year term in October, is the first man elected president of the organization.

“I intend to focus on ensuring all patients have a voice in their care through the critical work of the Academy by bringing visibility to the invisible and leveraging the collective knowledge and power of our Fellows to create a more equitable health system,” said Dr. White, referring to the organization’s more than 2,800 members who include university presidents, chancellors and deans; elected officials; state and federal political appointees; hospital chief executives; and researchers. “I am honored, and humbled, to have been elected by my colleagues and peers to lead in this challenging time in history. I look forward to strengthening the Academy’s commitment to advancing health equity through nursing leadership, innovation, and science.”

As the AAN’s president, he will guide the its work towards a healthier, more equitable future. In advancing the Academy’s 2021-2024 Strategic Plan and mission, he will emphasize the organization’s efforts to promote inclusivity and eliminate racism within the profession and across all fields of health care. He will look forward to the future but will also have the opportunity to reflect on the past; having chaired the 50th Anniversary Taskforce, he will launch the Academy’s Anniversary Planning Committee as the organization prepares for its celebration in 2023. 

Dr. White was inducted into the Academy in 2012 in recognition of his significant contributions and expertise in the fields of palliative care and healthcare leadership. A skilled provider, renowned educator, and prolific author, he is an esteemed healthcare executive who has held domestic and global leadership positions at large health systems and universities in various locations such as Oklahoma, Texas, Virginia, and Guam prior to arriving at the MGH Institute in 2021. His published works include articles and chapters on hospice and palliative care, nursing innovation and entrepreneurship, health systems optimization, hospital management, and advancing access to care for vulnerable populations. He is author of the award-winning textbook, The Well-Managed Healthcare Organization, now in the 9th edition.

“I look forward to ensuring strong governance and adherence to our values of equity, diversity, inclusivity, inquiry, integrity, and courage,” said Dr. White. “I am eager to work with Academy Fellows, stakeholders, and the public as we continue the Academy’s vision of pursuing healthy lives for all people.”

Originally elected to the Academy’s Board of Directors in 2017, he was elected to the President-Elect position in 2019. In that role, he was a member of the Executive and Finance Committees, and served as Board liaison to the Acute & Critical Care and Palliative & End-of-Life Care Expert Panels; Fellow Selection Committee, and Fellow Selection Review Steering Committee. His previous service to the Academy includes membership on the Fellow Selection Committee and other ad hoc committees.