College of Nursing and Health Professions Dean Laura N. Gitlin to Step Down, Return to Research

​This message was shared with faculty and staff by the President and Provost on June 27, 2022. 

Dear Colleagues,

After five years of successfully leading the College of Nursing and Health Professions, Laura N. Gitlin, PhD, will be stepping down as dean, effective January 31, 2023. Dean Gitlin, who is internationally recognized for her research in gerontology, has been a champion for the health and well-being of older adults, families and communities. With the pandemic dramatically underscoring the need for accessible, equitable and comprehensive health care, she has chosen to resume focusing full time on her research and advancing the science of care.

Throughout her career, Dean Gitlin has advocated for and advanced the quality of life of those who are most at risk due to social and structural determinants. She was attracted to Drexel because of its core mission of civic engagement and bridging knowledge with action and to the College of Nursing and Health Professions for its commitment to social justice, health equity, interprofessional education, research and innovative practices.

During her tenure at Drexel, Dean Gitlin was pivotal in moving the College’s critical priorities forward, including the forthcoming Drexel University Health Sciences Building, which will bring the College of Nursing and Health Professions to the heart of our main campus and our West Philadelphia community, supporting academic, research and interdisciplinary engagements when it opens in September 2022.

Under her collaborative leadership and team approaches, the College launched new research and academic programs while also meeting the challenges brought on by the pandemic. She led the College of Nursing and Health Professions in contributing to care and service, while supporting students to become global leaders. She also instituted professional development and leadership training for faculty and professional staff, a post-doctoral program and pilot grant funds for innovation in research and teaching.

In addition to the $10.6 million of committed research funds brought in over five years to support her research on aging, more recently, Dean Gitlin teamed with Dean Ana Diez Roux of the Dana and David Dornsife School of Public Health to win a five-year, $14.4 million “Faculty Institutional Recruitment for Sustainable Transformation” grant from the National Institutes of Health to hire, retain and support diverse, early career researchers with a focus on health disparities research on aging, chronic disease and/or environmental determinants. Drexel is one of six institutions nationwide receiving funding as part of the inaugural FIRST cohort, and the sole recipient in Pennsylvania.

We will be working with the College to develop plans for a search for Dean Gitlin’s successor. 

Please join us in thanking Dean Gitlin for her leadership and commitment to excellence in teaching, research, clinical practice and service, and wishing her all the best as she returns to the faculty.


John Fry

Paul E. Jensen
Executive Vice President, Nina Henderson Provost