Butterfield named new dean of College of Nursing

PULLMAN – Patricia G. Butterfield has been named as the new dean of the Washington State University Intercollegiate College of Nursing. She will begin her duties on July 1.

“I am pleased that we have attracted a very talented and experienced nurse educator and administrator to lead the College of Nursing,” said Robert Bates, WSU provost and executive vice president. “At this transformational time in the college’s development, both in addressing nursing workforce shortages and preparing doctoral level instructional and research faculty for the future, Dr. Butterfield’s experience in health sciences program development will be invaluable.”

Butterfield, 51, is professor and chair of the Department of Psychosocial and Community Health Nursing at the University of Washington. She will succeed Anne Hirsch, senior associate dean for academic affairs in the college of nursing, who has served as interim dean following the retirement of Dean Dorothy Detlor in September 2006.

“I’m eager to become a part of WSU and its health science leadership team,” Butterfield said. “I believe that our state is being well served by the multi-campus system developed by the WSU Intercollegiate College of Nursing. By educating highly qualified bachelor’s and graduate level nurses at several sites, WSU ICN plays a central role in addressing Washington’s nursing workforce needs. As a citizen of this state as well as a nurse, I am very pleased to see WSU making strategic and significant investments in the public’s health.”

Butterfield steps into her role as dean as construction progresses on the new Nursing Building under way at the Riverpoint campus. The building, which broke ground in 2006, is slated for completion in fall 2008 and will allow the college to move from its current location near Spokane Falls Community College.

Brian Pitcher, chancellor of WSU Spokane and vice provost for health sciences for the WSU system, said, “We welcome Dr. Butterfield to the strong team of leaders we have in the health professions and health sciences at WSU Spokane and throughout the university. The move of nursing to the campus adds to our growing portfolio of programs that address key shortages in healthcare professionals.

“She joins us at an exciting time when we are leveraging the strengths of our pharmacy, nursing, and health administration programs by seeking to expand nursing education at the baccalaureate, master’s, and PhD levels, and to add medical and dental education at Riverpoint.”

Butterfield’s previous positions include serving as director of the Occupational & Environmental Health Nursing Program at the University of Washington and director of the Office of Research and Scholarship at the Montana State University College of Nursing.

She is nationally recognized for her work addressing environmental health, rural health systems and occupational health services in small companies and rural communities. She directs a four-year clinical trial testing the therapeutic effect of public health nursing visits on the environmental health status of rural low-income children. Her current projects are funded by the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and findings from her research have been covered by CNN and USA Today in the lay press.

She is the author “Thinking Upstream,” and “Upstream Reflections on Environmental Health,” widely cited papers from Advances in Nursing Science. Her work has also been published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine and Neurology. She is one of 105 alumnae of the Robert Wood Johnson Executive Nurse Fellow Program, a three-year intensive program designed to enhance the leadership capabilities of a select group of U.S. nursing executives.

Butterfield served as an invited member on the U.S. EPA’s Children’s Health Protection Advisory Committee and on a NAFTA-related Trinational Expert Panel to develop indicators of children’s environmental health for the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. Last May, Butterfield was invited to give the commencement address for the Yale School of Nursing.

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