Barbara Damron, PhD, RN, FAAN is a professor at The University of New Mexico in the College of Nursing and the School of Medicine. She currently services as the University of New Mexico's Chief Government Relations Officer. She just completed her term as the New Mexico Higher Education Department Cabinet Secretary, and as the State Higher Education Executive Officer, where she had oversight of the state's 28 public institutions of higher education, 4 tribal colleges and over 190 private and proprietary post-secondary schools. She also chaired the New Mexico Education Trust Board. She currently is a Commissioner of the Western Interstate Commission of Higher Education (WICHE) and a Commissioner of the Education Commission of the States. She previously worked as Robert Wood Johnson Foundation/National Academy of Medicine Fellow on the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions in Washington D.C., for Senator Lamar Alexander. Damron has over 30 years of experience as an education executive, an advanced practice nurse, a health care executive, a college professor, an international consultant and a cancer scientist.

Damron lead New Mexico's state-wide Common Course Numbering System, aligning all lower division courses amongst community colleges, comprehensive/regional universities, research universities and tribal colleges throughout the State. She also reformed the General Education Core Curriculum across these higher education institutions and is establishing state-wide meta-majors and lead the reform of dual credit in New Mexico, emphasizing quality and useful credential completion. As Cabinet Secretary, Damron oversaw the 28 state- and federally-funded post-secondary student financial aid programs and worked to secure funding for ELL training for teachers state-wide. Damron serves on numerous national and state education and health governing boards.

Damron completed a PhD in Educational Psychology, with a concentration in social/personality/developmental psychology applied to oncology, from the University of Texas at Austin in 1996. She received her MSN from The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, and received her BSN from Union College in Lincoln, Nebraska. She has received over 30 state, national and international awards. She is a member of the International Women's Forum - New Mexico.

Areas of Specialty

Cancer/ Oncology | Health Care Policy | Social and Behavioral Sciences | Underserved Populations


PhD, The University of Texas at Austin, Department of Educational Psychology, 1996 (Social/Personality/Developmental Psychology)
MSN, The Univeristy of Texas, Health Sciences Center at San Antonio, 1980 (Psychiatric/Mental Health Nursing)
BSN, Union College, 1975 (Nursing)


RN: Registered Nurse

Achievements & Awards

FAAN: Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation/ Institute of Medicine Congressional Health Policy Fellowship
American Political Science Association Congressional Fellowship
Sigma Theta Tau International Honors Society Member



Courses Taught

N505 Health Care Financing, Leadership & Policy 3 hour course
N648 Health Policy Field Placement 1 hour course
N649 Health Policy Field Placement 3 hour course
N699 Dissertation