Linda Sarna, dean of the School of Nursing, has informed me that she intends to retire effective June 30, 2021.
Linda was appointed acting dean in 2014, interim dean in 2015, and dean of the School of Nursing in 2016. She is the first alumna to lead the school as dean and also holds the Lulu Wolf Hassenplug Chair in Nursing. An international leader in oncology nursing and tobacco control, she will have served the university for more than 37 years at the time of her retirement.
Her many honors include receiving the Oncology Nursing Society Lifetime Achievement Award; induction into the Researcher Hall of Fame, Sigma Theta Tau; and recognition from the American Academy of Nursing and the World Health Organization for her work with the Tobacco Free Nurses program. She has held visiting professorships in the Nethersole School of Nursing’s Faculty of Medicine at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and Anhui Medical University’s School of Nursing in China. She has conducted research to help people quit smoking in multiple Central and Eastern European countries, as well as in Portugal, Japan, Hong Kong, and China.
Since becoming dean, Linda has implemented major changes in the administrative structure of the school to improve student success and support. She created a financial model for sustainability for the school, and increased financial support and scholarships for students by more than $1 million. During her tenure, the school brought in more than $33 million in research funds and continues as one of the nation’s top-rated schools of nursing.
She appointed the first associate dean for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI); created a Council on DEI; fostered student affinity groups; and hosted a distinguished speaker series. She collaborated with the David Geffen School of Medicine and the School of Dentistry to support an interprofessional summer program for underrepresented students interested in the health professions, and forged an important alliance with the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System to develop a nurse residency program. Last year, Linda secured a $2 million gift for an endowed chair in the area of developmental disabilities — the school’s first chair endowed by a single donor and its second largest gift from an individual donor.
In the areas of teaching and research, Linda has initiated numerous strategic initiatives, including expanding faculty research; launching a new degree, the Doctor of Nursing Practice, the first self-supporting degree program for the school; expanding clinical placement sites; and developing multiple advanced international partnerships and affiliations, including a premier hospital in Hong Kong. She led renovations of the school, including expansion of a skills lab and opportunities for simulation.
As the inaugural chair of the board of the National Clinician Scholars Program, she helped develop and launch this innovative interprofessional postdoctoral program for nurses and physicians. The program now operates at UCLA and five other universities: Duke University, University of Michigan, University of Pennsylvania, UC San Francisco and Yale University.
Under her leadership, the School of Nursing, one of the first professional schools on the UCLA campus, celebrated its 70th anniversary in 2019, in part by transforming its physical environment with wall displays detailing the school’s history, including the obstacles it has overcome, and its many achievements in research and teaching.
In 2013, as chair of the UCLA Academic Senate, Linda led the effort to implement a tobacco-free campus policy at UCLA, thereby helping to improve the health of our students, faculty, staff, and visitors. During her deanship, as an early supporter of the Healthy Campus Initiative, she taught a Fiat Lux course for undergraduates on tobacco control, helping promote the tobacco-free campus policy.
Chancellor Block and I would like to thank Linda for her outstanding service as dean and as a longtime faculty member. The campus has benefitted greatly from her many efforts to support and improve our campus and its learning, teaching, and research environments, as well as the lives of our students, faculty, and staff. We wish her all the best for a well-deserved retirement.
I will keep you informed as we initiate the search for a successor to Linda.
Emily A. Carter
Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost