Kathleen Potempa

Kathleen Potempa

Kathleen Potempa, PhD, RN, FAAN

Dean and Professor
Suite 1320 400NIB

University of Michigan School of Nursing
400 North Ingalls Building
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-5482

Telephone: (734) 764-7185
Fax: (734) 764-7186

Scholarly Expertise / Activity


  • Nursing pedagogy
  • Leadership
  • Community-based approaches to improving health behavior
  • Exercise capacity of post-stroke hemiplegic patients
  • Cardiovascular fitness in physically impaired populations

Dr. Kathleen Potempa is an internationally recognized leader in nursing, education, and science—as well as the integration of education, practice, and research in clinical settings. Former positions include progressive leadership in health systems and in higher education. She is currently the dean and professor at the University of Michigan School of Nursing and has held this position since 2006.

Her research program has focused on fatigue, exercise, and cardiovascular fitness in physically impaired populations, for which she has received funding support from the U.S. National Institutes of Health, the Fogarty International Center at the NIH, the U.S. Health Resource and Services Administration, the U.S. Administration on Aging, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and several pharmaceutical companies for phase IV efficacy studies. She has over 110 scientific publications, and more than 100 national and international scientific and professional presentations. Dr. Potempa has served on national and international expert panels and committees on research, including NIH review panels; she recently completed service as a member of the National Advisory Council for Nursing Research at the NIH, an appointment made by the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services.
Dr. Potempa became a member of the Board of Directors of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) in 2001 and was elected to serve as president from March 2010 through 2012. She was a member of the Nursing Advisory Council of the Joint Commission in 2010-2011. She currently serves as a Wall Street Journal health expert. She was elected membership in the Institute of Medicine of the National Academics in 2014.

Current Research Grants and Programs:

  • Nurse preparedness for managing chronic illness in Thailand, funded by the Ministry of Public Health in Thailand, PI


Dr. Potempa’s dedication to students is clearly seen in her commitment to nursing pedagogy, career development, and mentorship.  While serving as the Vice-President and Dean of the School of Nursing at Oregon Health and Science University, Dr. Potempa was honored with the Oregon Medical Research Foundation Mentor Award in 2002.  She is also an innovator in team-based learning and training as well as in the use of simulation techniques in nursing education.  Dr. Potempa is available to meet with students at all levels to offer advice and guidance related to their educational and career goals.  She is also interested in working with doctoral students on her research and mentoring them as they develop their scholarly practice and writing.

Affiliations / Service

  • Member and Fellow, American Academy of Nursing, 1994-present (Program Planning Committee 2006-2007, Finance Committee 2001-2004)
  • Invited Member, Institute of Medicine Health Professions Education Summit, 2002
  • Member, National Advisory Council for Nurse Education and Practice, 2002-2006 (Chair of the Executive Committee 2004-2006)
  • Member, National Advisory Council for Nursing Research (the principal advisory board for the federal National Institute of Nursing Research), 2009-2013
  • President, American Association of Colleges of Nursing, 2010-2012 (additional service roles since 1995)
  • Member, National Advisory Council, The Joint Commission, 2010-2012

Notable Awards / Honors

  • Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters, State University of New York, 2010
  • Named one of the 25 People Who Defined 2005 by Portland Monthly magazine, 2005
  • Named one of the 2004 Fifty Great Leaders of Oregon by Oregon Business magazine, 2005
  • Distinguished Alumni Award, Rush University, 2003
  • Oregon Medical Research Foundation Mentor Award, 2002
  • Fellow, American Academy of Nursing, since 1994


  • PhD, Rush University, Chicago, IL, 1986
  • MS, Rush University, Chicago, IL, 1978
  • BA, University of Detroit, Detroit, MI 1974

Publication Highlights

  • Wilson, D. S., Redman, W.R., & Potempa, K. (in press). A vision and compass for healthcare leadership: Lessons from the migrant nurse resolution for recurrent nursing shortages, Journal of Healthcare Leadership
  • Potempa, K., Butterworth, S., Flaherty-Robb, M. & Gaynor, W. (in press-2010). The Healthy Aging Model: Toward a practical model of health behavior change for older adults, Collegian.
  • Rukholm, E.E., Stamler, L.L., Talbot, L.,R., Bednash, G., Raines, F., Potempa, K.M., . . . Parfitt, B. (2009). Scaling up the global nursing health workforce: Contributions of an international organization. Collegian, 16 (1), 41-45.
  • Potempa, K.M., Redman, R.W., & Landstrom, G. (2009). Human resources in nursing education: A worldwide crisis. Collegian, 11(1), 19-23.
  • Potempa, K.M., Phancharoenworakul, K., Glass, N., Chasombat, S., & Cody, B. (2009). Leveraging the role of public health nursing in managing HIV/AIDS in Thailand: A journey of international collaboration. Collegian, 16(2), 49-53.
  • Potempa, K.M., Redman, R.W., & Anderson, C.A. (2008). Capacity for the advancement of nursing science: Issues and challenges. Journal of Professional Nursing, 24(6), 329-336.
  • Perry, C.K., Rosenfeld, A.G., Bennet, J.A., & Potempa, K.M. (2007). Heart-to-heart: Promoting walking in rural women through motivational interviewing and group support. Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing, 22(4), 304-312.
  • Ross, A.M., Hurn, P., Perrin, N., Wood, L., Carlini, W., & Potempa, K.M. (2007). Evidence of the peripheral inflammatory response in patients with transient ischemic attack. Journal of Stroke and Cerebrovascular Diseases, 16(5), 203-207.
  • Bennett, J.A., Perrin, N.A., Hanson, G., Bennett, D., Gaynor, W., Flaherty-Robb, M., . . . Potempa, K.M. (2005). The healthy aging demonstration project: Nurse coaching for behavior change in older adults. Research in Nursing & Health, 28(3), 187-197.
  • Potempa, K.M., & Tilden, V. (2004). Building high impact science: The dean as innovator. The Journal of Nursing Education, 43(11), 502-505.
  • Tilden, V., & Potempa, K.M. (2003). The impact of nursing science: A litmus test. Nursing Research, 52(5), 275.
  • Jones, K.D., Burkchardt, C.S., Clark, S.R., Bennett, R.M., & Potempa, K.M. (2002). A randomized, controlled trial of muscle strengthening versus flexibility training in fibromyalgia. Journal of Rheumatology, 29, 1041-1048.
  • Potempa, K.M. (2001). Where winds the road of distance education in nursing? Journal of Nursing Education, 40(7), 291-292.
  • Potempa, K.M., Stanley, J., Davis, B., Miller, K., Hassett, M.R., & Pepicello, S. (2001). Survey of distance technology use in AACN member schools. Journal of Professional Nursing, 17(1), 7-13.
  • Braun, L., & Potempa, K.M. (2000). The conduct of clinical trials: Lessons learned. New Taipei Journal of Medicine, 2(1), 10-16.