Kathleen Potempa

Dr. Kathleen Potempa, Dean and Professor

Kathleen Potempa, PhD, RN, FAAN

Dean and Professor
Suite 1320

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. Potempa has thirty-two years of experience as a scientist, educator, and administrator. Her research program has focused primarily on fatigue, exercise, and cardiovascular fitness in physically impaired populations with her more recent work focusing on community-based approaches to improving health behavior. In addition to this area of study, since 1998 - in conjunction with the country's Ministry of Public Health - Dr. Potempa has had projects in Thailand investigation systems for deploying public health and developing nursing services for people with infectious disease as well as emerging chronic illnesses such as cardiovascular disease.  In her administrative roles, Dr. Potempa has been a strong advocate for developing nursing education to better respond to the nursing shortage, strengthening nursing’s role in policy making, increasing funding for nursing research, and improving collaboration  with other healthcare disciplines and within the profession itself.

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.