The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) School of Nursing has appointed Linda Sarna to serve as their new dean. Sarna is an internationally recognized scholar in promoting the role of nursing in tobacco control and oncology research focused on patients with lung cancer.

After serving as interim dean since March 2015, and acting dean from July 2014 to March 2015, she will become the school’s 7th dean effective November 15. Sarna received both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at UCLA, making her the first alumna to serve in this position. She also holds a doctorate from UC San Francisco.

With a long and distinguished career in research, leadership, and advocacy, Sarna previously worked to create one of the first oncology nursing specialties in the country. She has mentored generations of students from all education levels and novice researchers in oncology nursing across the United States and abroad. In addition, Sarna served as the principle investigator for Tobacco Free Nurses (TFN), the first nationwide program to help nurses quit smoking, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Sarna has also led translational research projects to increase nursing interventions to treat tobacco independence in hospitalized patients in the US, China, and Eastern Europe.

An experienced nursing academic, Sarna has authored more than 200 peer-reviewed articles, books, chapters, and other publications. She was co-author of a groundbreaking World Health Organization report in 2013 on the critical role of nurses in lessening risks associated with non-communicable diseases through prevention, treatment, and symptom management. Sarna has collaborated with the International Societies of Nurses in Cancer Care and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. She was also elected a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing, recognized as a distinguished research professor by the Oncology Nursing Society, and inducted into Sigma Theta Tau’s International Nurse Research Hall of Fame.

Sarna considers this to be a transformative time in nursing and she believes UCLA is poised to be a global leader in education, academics, and service. She hopes to grow inter-professional education and activities with medical, dental, and engineering programs on the UCLA campus. With the help of her faculty, staff, and students, UCLA’s School of Nursing will prepare nurse scholars and the leaders of tomorrow.

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