Two new deans joined Shenandoah’s faculty this month to replace two retiring leaders: Bernard J. Dunn School of Pharmacy Dean Alan McKay, Ph.D., and Eleanor Wade Custer School of Nursing Dean Kathryn Ganske, Ph.D.
Robert DiCenzo, Pharm.D., BCPS, FCCP, professor of pharmacy practice and interim dean of the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at the Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences in Albany, New York, began work at the Bernard J. Dunn School of Pharmacy on June 27.
Kathleen LaSala, Ph.D., RN, PNP, CNE, associate dean of academic affairs and professor of nursing at the University of South Carolina College of Nursing in Columbia, South Carolina began her new position as dean of the Eleanor Wade Custer School of Nursing June 30.
Both Dr. DiCenzo and Dr. LaSala expressed excitement about what the future holds for their respective schools.
“I am very fortunate to be part of the Bernard J. Dunn School of Pharmacy, and I am looking forward to working with such a talented group of faculty, students and staff as we build on the wonderful program the founding dean, Dr. Alan McKay, and all the faculty and staff have developed,” said DiCenzo.
“Considering the wonderful foundation we have to build on at Shenandoah University, an achievable vision is to gain national recognition as leaders in team-based, genomics driven, patient-centered pharmacy and graduate education,” said DiCenzo.
“We’ll achieve this through continued collaborations with other schools within the university and by partnering with regional healthcare centers; creating new innovations in student-centered teaching and learning; and building on the success we have had weaving interprofessional and genomics education into the curriculum,” he added.
“I am thrilled to have the opportunity to join Shenandoah University’s faculty and administration team,” said LaSala. “As a native of the Shenandoah Valley, I see this as a ‘coming home’ experience, and my heart feels so comfortable knowing I will be serving those in a region that means so much to me.
“Shenandoah University is well-positioned to influence nursing and respiratory care education for the region and beyond,” LaSala added. “The school of nursing’s commitment to reach out and partner with key health care organizations, veterans groups and community partners has been a key factor in its success. Multiple campus sites allow students from various geographic regions to benefit from Shenandoah’s educational programs in their home area, while meeting regional needs for nurses and respiratory care providers. This is an exciting time to be joining the campus community.”
LaSala, a native of Harrisonburg, Virginia, held prior academic positions at the University of Northern Colorado, Radford University, and the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. She looks forward to working with a team to enhance and grow nursing and respiratory care education programs that meet the needs of both students and their future patients.
“I am committed to keeping the Eleanor Wade Custer School of Nursing a student-centered educational experience, while reaching out to our community to address health care issues,” said LaSala. “As a global society, we are facing rapid changes and challenges in health care, including economic, access and quality issues. Educators and students must be highly adaptable and knowledgeable, while playing a key leadership role in addressing the challenges. We must continue to expand interprofessional education and practice, use technology wisely and efficiently, and remain a caring profession that consistently focuses on those we serve.”
LaSala notes that the Institute of Medicine’s report, “The Future of Nursing: Leading Change and Advancing Health,” in 2010 was a monumental call to nursing to transform health, and she believes that Shenandoah University’s school of nursing will be a leader in the future of nursing.
“I am excited about the next chapter of the school’s history and working with students, faculty, administrators and the community to meet the challenges,” LaSala said.
In addition to her academic service roles, LaSala has served as chair of the South Carolina Action Coalition for the Robert Wood Johnson/AARP Future of Nursing Campaign. She has held numerous leadership roles in Sigma Theta Tau International Nursing Honor Society, including board member of the research and scholarship committee and president and vice president of regional chapters. She was a board member for the Colorado Center for Nursing Excellence, and she has served on the Colorado Council of Nurse Educators as president-elect and Colorado Association of Nurse Educators as chairperson.
LaSala earned her bachelor’s in nursing from Radford University in Radford, Virginia, completed her master’s in nursing and received her Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Certificate at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia, and received her Ph.D. in nursing with an emphasis on nursing administration and public policy from George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. She has practiced in obstetrics, acute/primary/rehabilitation pediatric care, and in public policy arenas, and has served as a registered nurse and pediatric nurse practitioner.
Prior to assuming his interim dean role at the Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, DiCenzo served as chair of the Department of Pharmacy Practice and senior associate dean of academic affairs and operations. He previously held a faculty appointment at the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University at Buffalo in Buffalo, New York, and an administrative and leadership role as the director of experiential education at the Wegmans School of Pharmacy at St. John Fisher College in Rochester, New York.
DiCenzo is president-elect of the APhA Academy of Pharmaceutical Research and Sciences. He was inducted as a Fellow in the American College of Clinical Pharmacy in 2008 and was named the New York State Chapter of the American College of Clinical Pharmacy’s Researcher of the Year in 2009.
He won the American College of Clinical Pharmacy Hematology/Oncology Investigator Development Research Award in 2005, the NYSCHP-Amgen Oncology Leadership Research Award in 2004 and the Top Abstract Award at the ASCPT 103rd Annual Meeting in 2002.
DiCenzo earned a Bachelor of Science degree in pharmacy from the University at Buffalo, received his Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences and completed an Antiretroviral Pharmacology and Pharmacometrics Fellowship at the University at Buffalo.