Professor Patricia Davidson

2013 Outstanding Alumni Award

Dean, School of Nursing, Johns Hopkins University

Bachelor of Arts, 1985
Master of Education, 1993 

The University of Wollongong states that: “We aim to develop graduates who are intellectually fearless, socially connected leaders in their chosen fields and vocations. They will be exceptional people”. This is a challenging, some might say merely aspirational, goal and yet in Patricia Davidson we see how it can be brilliantly realised.

Patricia was a qualified nurse when she enrolled here in the 1980s. This University played a role in introducing her to a world of ideas and social policy through an Arts degree and opened up ways to communicate them through a Masters in Education. From that point, she went on to ever higher fields but her commitment to education, innovation and the importance of diversity has been a continuing motif.

After 23 years as a clinician and nurse manager, Patricia gained her Doctorate and moved into an academic career. Yet she never lost sight of the realities of the ward and the clinical experience. Her work has focussed on improving health outcomes for those affected by chronic illness, particularly cardiovascular disease. A globally acclaimed researcher, she has attracted over $7 million in competitive research funding. An inspirational educator and mentor, she has worked tirelessly to nurture the next generations of clinicians and researchers not only to meet the highest standards but always to be aware that their vocation is to care.

Among her many appointments and honours, Patricia has held Professorial Chairs in the field of Cardiovascular and Chronic Care at Curtin University and the University of Technology Sydney and served as Professor of Cardiovascular Nursing Research at St. Vincent's Hospital. Patricia is a Fellow of the Australian College of Nursing and the American Heart Association and was admitted this year as a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing, a ringing testament to the value of her contribution to nursing internationally.

Patricia has shown an abiding commitment to addressing the needs of women, the disadvantaged, and culturally diverse communities. The novel cardiac rehabilitation program for women, which she spearheaded in 2003, continues to attract funding today and has broadened to include Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. Patricia has worked collaboratively with the Aboriginal Medical Service in Western Sydney since 2005 on a range of initiatives to improve access to culturally appropriate care. On the global level, she is Counsel General of the International Council on Women’s Health Issues and has helped build health research resources in Thailand, China, Indonesia, Lebanon, Iran and Turkey.

In September this year, Professor Davidson took up duty as the new Dean of the School of Nursing at Johns Hopkins University in the United States, one of the world's most prestigious universities. In announcing the appointment, the President of Johns Hopkins said: "Trish is visionary, engaging, energetic and articulate. She is a builder and a doer. She is an award-winning scientist and educator with important ideas for the future of health care and nursing."

Professor Patricia Davidson embodies the values of this University in her promotion of initiatives that take society forward, her intellectual openness, collegiality and respect for diversity. Her achievements and her dedication to improving lives, show what a UOW graduate can become by using their skills “to challenge and cross boundaries”. The University is proud and grateful to have played a part in her journey. Today, her fellow alumni acknowledge her as an exceptional person, an international leader in her field and an inspiring UOW graduate.