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Louisville nursing school dean brings broad academic, patient care, research skills
SAN ANTONIO – Sonya Renae Hardin, PhD, MBA/MHA, CCRN, NP-C, FAAN, currently a tenured professor and dean of the School of Nursing at the University of Louisville, has been appointed dean of the UT Health San Antonio School of Nursing, replacing Dean Eileen Breslin who is retiring after 14 successful years in the role.
Dr. Hardin, who begins her new position on June 6, brings broad experience in nursing school administration and patient care, as well as research, fundraising and collaboration with academia and industry to advance health in her communities. Her work in acute- and critical-care nursing as well as research in aging and chronic diseases are nationally recognized.
She is a proponent of diversity, equity and inclusion and a strong advocate for nursing within the institutions and communities she has served.
“Dr. Hardin has had a distinguished career touching all aspects of academic nursing, including working in administrative and leadership positions on the inpatient, outpatient and academic sides of health care,” said William L. Henrich, MD, MACP, president of The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UT Health San Antonio). “She is a principled leader who builds collaboration and consensus while establishing priorities to help institutions achieve their strategic vision.”
“I am excited to join a team focused on student success, innovative research and the delivery of excellent health care to the region,” Dr. Hardin said. “San Antonio is a city that cares about people.”
Dr. Hardin cited the university’s leaders “who are nationally acclaimed for their work in medicine,” as well as “a vibrant School of Nursing dedicated to excellence.”
And referencing UT Health San Antonio’s Multispecialty & Research Hospital under construction, she said, “There is no doubt that with the new hospital on the horizon, patient care is central in the strategic plan.”
Dr. Hardin is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte (BSN and MSN), the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center (PhD in nursing), Pfeiffer University in Misenheimer, North Carolina (MBA/MHA), and East Carolina University (NP certificate). She has experience as a critical care and advanced practice nurse on the inpatient and outpatient sides of health care.
Prior to her 2018 appointment as dean of the nursing school at Louisville, Dr. Hardin served as professor and associate dean of graduate nursing programs at East Carolina University, and professor and coordinator of the nurse practitioner program at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
She has held hospital positions including chief nursing officer, membership on the University of Louisville Hospital Board and co-manager of a neurology practice. In academic health care, she served as program coordinator of a nurse practitioner program, a dual-degree program in health administration.
Her proven expertise in acute- and critical-care nursing has been recognized with an appointment to the task force of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing to revise standards for educating critical-care nurses. And her authoritative research on aging and the management of chronic diseases has been supported by the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).
Dr. Henrich noted that Dr. Hardin is recognized for building strong collaborations between academia and industry parties and by working across academic units, as well as multiple campuses, to ensure university success. She has partnered with bioengineers, mechanical engineers and electrical engineers to pursue patents of biomedical technology devices and to receive funding through the National Science Foundation.
“My approach can be described as relational leadership,” Dr. Hardin said. “I believe a great leader develops positive relationships within the organization to bring about success. And as leaders we must hold an enterprise mindset to be open to improvement for organizations to thrive.”
In her new position, she plans to work to boost enrollment of nursing students, examine advanced practice nursing business opportunities and enhance research to improve nursing care.
“Our UT Health San Antonio School of Nursing stands at the threshold of many exciting opportunities,” Dr. Henrich said. “With Dr. Hardin’s diverse background and considerable strengths, I look forward to the partnership between Dr. Hardin and our talented School of Nursing faculty, staff and students.
“I extend my heartfelt gratitude to Dean Eileen Breslin for building an extraordinary and enduring legacy of accomplishments for the School of Nursing,” he said.
The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UT Health San Antonio) is a primary driver for San Antonio’s $42.4 billion health care and biosciences sector, the city’s largest economic generator. Driving substantial economic impact with its five professional schools, a diverse workforce of approximately 7,200, an annual operating budget of more than $1 billion and a clinical practice that provides more than 2 million patient visits each year, UT Health San Antonio plans to add more than 1,500 higher-wage jobs over the next five years to serve San Antonio, Bexar County and the South Texas region. UT Health San Antonio is the largest research university in South Texas with an annual research portfolio of approximately $350 million. To learn about the many ways “We make lives better®,” visit http://www.uthscsa.edu.
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