By Heather Lardier

College of Nursing Professor Leading UNM Government Relations

Damron selected by President Garnett S. Stokes

Barbara Damron, PhD, RN, FAAN, associate professor and director of the PhD at the UNM College of Nursing, has been selected by President Garnett S. Stokes to lead the University's government relations efforts through the remainder of the fiscal year.

Damron's 35 years of professional experience as a leader in education, a health care executive, an advanced practice nurse, a college professor, an international consultant and a cancer scientist make her uniquely qualified for the role.

Damron started her new position on October 21, as the first nurse in this role. "As the UNM College of Nursing PhD program director, I am proud to be practicing what we teach our students," Damron said.

Upon leaving her position as New Mexico's secretary of the New Mexico Higher Education Department and returning to the College of Nursing earlier this year, Damron was asked to revitalize the PhD program.

"We already have a good PhD program, but we are in the process of revamping it to be the country's best PhD in health policy," Damron said. "We plan on having the most cutting-edge research and teaching."

Damron has already identified for six new potential sources of funding for her research and has begun writing grant proposals for extramural funding, particularly for higher education policy research funding.

As a New Mexico commissioner of the Western Interstate Commission of Higher Education (WICHE), which facilitates resource sharing among the higher education systems in Western states, and board member of Complete College America, an alliance dedicated to closing achievement gaps and increasing graduation rates, Damron brings new perspectives and involvement in national organizations.

With Damron's support, a doctoral nursing student will be placed in field placement role with WICHE and work on "Together with Veterans," a rural suicide prevention project, while learning from policy leaders at WICHE.

In Damron's new role she will enhance strategic oversight of all government relations activities at the University and continue to open up new possibilities for its students.