THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES RETREAT IN JUNE AT THE CLOISTER
IN SEA Island, Dean Marla E. Salmon was called upon
to give a presentation to the governing body of the University.
Salmon spoke with conviction of a turning point for Emorys
in the heart of Atlantas public health corridorbetween
School of Public Health and the Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention on Clifton RoadEmorys
Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing could become one of the
top five nursing schools in the nation by 2004, Salmon said,
and take the lead in setting a national agenda for the profession.
PowerPoint presentation clicked over the details: a 128 percent
increase in external funding to $1.55 million; international
nursing programs such as the Lillian
Carter Center; a jump from thirty-seventh to twentieth in
National Institute of Health rankings last year; stabilized
student enrollment due in part to more scholarships and financial
aid; cutting-edge research by faculty and graduate students
on topics from pain management to sleep deprivation.
the past few years have been a time of unprecedented commitment
to Emorys nursing program, with the arrival of Salmon
in 1999, the introduction of a Ph.D. degree, and construction
of the $22-million Nell Hodgson Woodruff building.
a lot of energy here and a general knowledge that were
headed somewhere good, says Salmon, who served as the
chief nurse of the U.S. in the mid-1990s and has international
stature as a researcher and consultant. Nursing sits so
squarely between the arts and sciences that it calls on a university
to grapple with the cost of social good. Our alums are seldom
rich. Were not often in the limelight. We sit squarely
in the conscience zone of universities.
nowhere Salmon would rather be. She grew up in Sebastopol, a
small town of fertile ground and fruit orchards in northern
California, as one of four children. Her father, a doctor, and
mother, a nurse, cared for migrant workers regardless of their
ability to pay. My parents were so idealistic, Salmon
says. Both had humble roots, and they taught us that being
poor or wealthy was not a reflection of characterthat
the hardest working people are sometimes the poorest.
surprisingly, she welcomed her role as a policy shaper during
her six years in Washington, D.C., where she was director of
the Department of Health and Human Services Division of
Nursing from 1991 to 1997. I have a very old-fashioned
view of public service, Salmon says. The notion
of a civil servant being the highest calling, to work on behalf
of the common good.
came to Emory from the University of Pennsylvania, where she
was a professor and associate dean for graduate studies at the
school of nursing. She holds a doctorate in health policy and
administration from the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and
Public Health and degrees in nursing and political science.
Salmon has served on the faculty of several other universities,
including Johns Hopkins, Minnesota, and North Carolina.
cant imagine a piece of the equation that wasnt
here at Emory. So many variables spoke to methe public
health and international perspective, the sense of social responsibility,
Salmon says. Civility and diplomacy are still very much
a part of Emorys culture. In the face of conflict, people
really work to stay at the table and come back to the table.
I treasure this.
School of Nursing has come a long way since its inception in
1905, when the schools entire teaching inventory, according
to Henry M. Bullocks A History of Emory University, consisted
of a microscope, a blackboard, and a skeleton. Lectures were
given twice weekly by staff physicians, and the number of graduates
ranged from two to ten in the early years.
the schools nearly three hundred students have access
to the latest of high-tech tools in the new 100,000-square-foot
Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, completed in January.
In the Center for Caring Skills, computerized mannequins produce
a variety of heart sounds, breathing patterns, bowel sounds,
and blood pressure measurements, and there are specialized models
for the simulation of labor and delivery.
for faculty have also broadened. Nursing professors are actively
encouraged to do intensive research, seek grants, and pursue
post-doctoral fellowships. Colleagues down the hall may include
international nursing educators, such as a recent fellow from
South Africa. A new Charles Howard Candler Chair of Nursing
has been established, as well as a joint endowed chair with
Wesley Woods in gerontology.
Salmon is one of the true leaders of nursing worldwide, and
her understanding and leadership have enhanced the entire Woodruff
Health Sciences Center, says Michael M.E. Johns, executive
vice president for health affairs. She arrived two years
ago with a set of goals and is making them reality. Over a short
period the school has been immensely successful, with new programs,
a balanced budget, an expanded role in research and collaboration
with sister schools at Emory, and a palpable sense of academic
troubling inequities still exist: The nursing schools
endowment, at $25.6 million, is much less than the School of
Medicines $942.2 million or the Candler School of Theologys
$195.7 million, and salaries for nursing staff and professors
(39 full-time, 120 adjunct) are among the lowest at the University.
are committed to addressing these concerns, Salmon says.
We are now addressing long-neglected challenges in partnership
with the University and health sciences.
a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Cologne, where she
studied Germanys national health insurance and public
health system, Salmon learned the value of international relationships.
She has chaired the Global Advisory Group on Nursing and Midwifery
for the World Health Organization, was a delegate to the World
Health Assembly, and recently led a workshop for nurses from
the former Soviet Union and Europe at the International Nursing
Leadership Institute in Copenhagen.
been right up there with heads of state and has contacts throughout
the world, says Kathryn M. Kite, a colleague and director
of the Lillian Carter Center for International Nursing, who
accompanied Salmon to the Copenhagen conference in June. She
can always think of ways to empower people; shes a true
W. Curran, dean of the Rollins School of Public Health, admires
Salmons devotion to projects that combine nursing, medicine,
and public health. Marla has strengthened these interdisciplinary
ties, Curran says, while advancing the quality and
reputation of the nursing school.
than ever, in this era of market-driven health care, Salmon
believes nurses must serve as patient advocates for the ill,
as voices for the forty million Americans with no insurance
or access, and as collaborators with scientists, doctors, public
health workers, and international colleagues to improve care.
and medicine have never been easy careers, says Salmon,
whose daughter, Jessica, is studying to become a nurse. But
nursing affords the privilege of directly touching someone elses
life. There is inherent satisfaction and joy in that.
desire is for Emory nursing students to develop not only technical
skills and academic expertise, but the attributes of caring,
courage, reflective thinking, and social responsibility. Id
like to see the kind of student who wants to shape and improve
the future, she says. Someone who is always a little
troubled by what isnt being done.