Dean Holzemer

The Dean’s Desk | Thoughts from Rutgers Nursing Leadership

Returning from Summer Conferences in South Africa to the Challenges of a New Academic Year

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

William L. Holzemer, RN, PhD, FAAN
Rutgers University School of Nursing

Welcome to a new academic year at Rutgers!  As I begin my 8th year as Dean, I am very excited about the accomplishments of our faculty and staff in moving the Rutgers School of Nursing to new heights! We face numerous challenges, but we also have achieved numerous successes!

Under the collaborative leadership of the School faculty – including Drs. Cindy Sickora, Mary DiGiulio, and Sue Salmond, along with staff member Janet Bowne – we achieved status as a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC): Rutgers Community Health Center. This increases primary care availability via a $750,000, two-year New Access Point grant from the federal Health Resources & Service Administration (HRSA). Led by Dr. Edna Cadmus (who recently completed a graduate residency in long-term care) and her staff, the School secured a $4.7 million Helene Fuld Trust grant to expand the residency program to other out-of-hospital sites and establish a career counseling center for BSN graduates. 

Rutgers nursing continues to soar in national rankings; US News & World Report ranked our DNP program No. 17 and our Master of Science program No. 19.  The hard work of our faculty and staff clearly is moving us in the right direction!

This summer I attended two conferences in South Africa – the International AIDS Society’s global AIDS conference in Durban and, just before that, a preconference on nursing’s contributions on the HIV/AIDS front co-hosted by Rutgers, the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care and the International Council of Nurses

More on the nursing profession’s pre-conference in my next posting.  My journey’s main event, The IAS AIDS meeting, had two overall themes: (1) Treatment (medication) is prevention by creating communities with undetectable viral loads, inhibiting the transmission of the HIV virus, and (2) A new catch phrase “90-90-90” – meaning, in HIV care, that 90% of the population has been tested, that of those who test HIV positive 90% are in treatment and receiving ARV medications, and that of those on treatment with ARV medications, 90% have an undetectable viral load. 

I believe that such population-based outcome targets also could be appropriate for many other conditions.  For example, 90% of the population knows their blood pressure; of those who test positive for high blood pressure, 90% are on treatment regimen; and 90% of those on a treatment regimen have a normal blood pressure.  Rutgers faculty members Dr. Emilia Iwu and Dr. Sue Willard both presented papers/abstracts at the IAS meeting.

The battle to control – and one day, we hope, eradicate – HIV/AIDs has been a key focus of my professional work for more than 30 years.  I left the Durban conference proud of the tremendous strides made in research, treatment, and care - linking Malaria, TB, and primary care within HIV/AIDS care.  We can be very proud of the expanded role of nurses in the delivery of HIV care through task sharing, making HIV treatment (medications) and care available to many individuals and families.


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