William L. Holzemer

William L. Holzemer, RN, PhD, FAAN

Dean and Distinguished Professor

Dr. William L. Holzemer, recognized in the United States and internationally as an expert in academic nursing and a thought leader on key health issues such as HIV/AIDS care, serves as Dean and Distinguished Professor at the School of Nursing, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.

In 2003, Dr. Holzemer was elected to the prestigious Institute of Medicine now named The National Academy of Medicine (NAM), becoming one of the very few nurses to hold that distinction.  Members of the NAM, a division of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, counsel government and private sector leaders to help them make informed health decisions.  

One of Dr. Holzemer’s key achievements since arriving at Rutgers in 2009 was overseeing one of the nation’s largest academic mergers, as the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey was disbanded and most of its schools and units became part of Rutgers. 

In 2015, soon after the merger, U.S. News and World Report ranked the Rutgers School of Nursing No. 25 among graduate schools of nursing nationwide –squarely in the top 10 percent of American nursing schools.  Only four years earlier, the Rutgers program was 79th in those rankings. 

Dr. Holzemer – a long-time advocate of breaking down academic silos, has noted that the merger helped generate the overall strength to achieve that new ranking, as a new division of nursing science was created.  This united doctoral programs in nursing and urban systems under a framework that includes the school’s seven centers of excellence in research and evidence-based practice. Work within those centers focuses on reducing health disparities, enhancing patient safety and quality outcomes, and promoting health and well-being across the lifespan.

Also in the wake of the merger, the Rutgers School of Nursing – now among the nation’s largest with more than 1,900 students seeking either graduate or undergraduate degrees –remains one of America’s most diverse nursing programs. Fully 49 percent of undergraduate students and 47 percent of graduate students belong to minority groups.  And, as the stereotype of nursing as an almost totally female profession is breaking down, 15 percent of Rutgers undergraduate nursing students – and 13 percent of in graduate programs – are male.

Along with his groundbreaking work as an educator and administrator, Dr. Holzemer is a renowned expert on HIV/AIDS care.  He has provided global leadership to the World Health Organization, the International Council of Nurses, and many universities around the world.   He serves as a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) from 2009-2011.  He currently serves on the National Advisory Council, National Institute of Nursing Research, National Institutes of Health, having served on several NIH study sections over the years.

Dr. Holzemer has served as consultant and external reviewer for governmental agencies such as the Finnish Academy of Nursing, the Japan Academy of Nursing, African Nursing Honor Society, RAE 2001 Higher Education Funding Council (United Kingdom), the Medical Research Council for South Africa and others.  He also serves as Professor Emeritus at the School of Nursing of the University of California, San Francisco, and St Luke’s University, Tokyo, Japan.

A Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing since 1986, Dr. Holzemer also served on the Board of Director of Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, NJ, from 2009-2014.

Dr. Holzemer’s academic training includes a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Washington, a bachelor’s degree in nursing from San Francisco State University, a master’s degree in education and counseling from Miami University, and a PhD in higher education administration from Syracuse University.

School of Nursing
Ackerson Hall, Room 302C
180 University Ave.
Newark, NJ 07012

P: (973) 353-5293
F: (973) 353-1035



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