University of Virginia School of Nursing
Associate Dean Kools -- seen here with `18 BSN grad Nicole Jefferson -- is being honored by her alma mater UCSF School of Nursing for "outstanding contributions to nursing science and research."

Susan Kools, associate dean for diversity and inclusion in the School of Nursing, is the 2018 recipient of her alma mater’s Helen Nahm Research Award, bestowed annually at the University of California, San Francisco. Kools will be feted in San Francisco at the end of May.

The Helen Nahm Research Lecture Award is bestowed annually to recognize a UCSF School of Nursing faculty member or alumnus who has made an outstanding contribution to nursing science and research.It honors Helen Nahm, PhD, RN, FAAN, professor emeritus and former dean of UCSF School of Nursing from 1958 to 1969.

Prior to arriving at UVA, Kools’ research took her around the world to study the challenges of children in foster care as well as adolescent health and development. An internationally recognized expert on qualitative methods, Kools is known widely for her pioneering work in dimensional analysis, a methodology for generating grounded theory, and she currently teaches qualitative research methods in the PhD program.

At UCSF, she was an original member of the school’s Diversity in Action Committee, which drove its efforts to diversify and engage in dialogue about race, ethnicity and diversity of viewpoints. At UVA, the spirit of that work continues, insuring that UVA’s nurses are as diverse and culturally competent as the patients and families they serve.

Kools established the Inclusion, Diversity, & Excellence Achievement (IDEA) initiative when she arrived at UVA Nursing in 2014, and, with senior coordinator Emerson Aviles, organizes activities and lectures, oversees professional development for faculty and staff, offers support to students and student groups, and rallies individuals around Grounds to cultivate an environment that openly and honestly celebrates difference and allows room for a rich variation of perspectives, beliefs, experiences and people.

UVA Nursing's now-signature annual #HoosInclusive photo campaign was started by Kools in 2016 to offer a public forum for nursing students to state their hopes and aspirations, and is just one physical embodiment of Kools' devotion to "courageously confronting all -isms and injustice."

A Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing since 2007, Kools serves on its Expert Panel on Children, Adolescents and Families. She received the Outstanding Service for Children and the Community Award from the San Francisco court system in 2000, the UCSF Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Award in 2012 for her 18 years of leadership and service to diversity, and, in 2014, USCF’s Outstanding Faculty Mentorship Award. Kools also served as an advisor to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing to develop cultural competencies for graduate nursing education.