Anahid Kulwicki, the new dean of the College of Nursing and Health Sciences, hasn’t planned any sweeping changes for her first six months on the job.
Instead, she plans to listen. “I want to hear everybody’s ideas and opinions.”
So far, what she’s heard has been all positive. “I’m very impressed by the level of faculty and leadership here,” said Kulwicki, who took over as dean on November 5. “It has made it really easy for me to pick up and move forward.”
Originally from Lebanon, Kulwicki earned her bachelor in nursing from the American University of Beirut, then went on to Indiana University, where she earned a master in nursing care of children and a PhD in nursing synthesis.
Kulwicki’s research focuses on health disparities – particularly among immigrants, women, and children – as well as domestic violence and health promotion. A shared research focus has eased the transition into a new job, she says.
“Most of our faculty are committed to health disparities, so that makes it easy for me because we all speak the same language and we all are looking ahead at the same sort of goals,” Kulwicki said.
The new dean has experience in academia and government service, with stints as health officer and director of the Wayne County (Michigan) Health Department, and deputy director of the Department of Health and Human Services for the county.
Kulwicki plans to use her public health experience to develop partnerships with local health departments and social services. In fact, she’s already begun to schedule meetings with area hospital executives.
“I’m looking forward to developing partnerships in the hopes that we can bring them here to partner with us, strengthening our student programs and also faculty and research endeavors.”
Kulwicki said she hopes to attract funding for student support, scholarships, and research, all while maintaining a focus on health disparities relevant to the surrounding community and the university’s mission.
Kulwicki was previously director of the PhD nursing program at Florida International University in Miami. Like UMass Boston, FIU is an accessible public university surrounded by private colleges.
“The location of UMass Boston and being the only public research university makes it extremely attractive for me,” she said. “We need to make sure that we offer the kind of education that meets the needs of our population."
Kulwicki is also looking forward to expanding the newly approved master’s and doctoral programs in exercise and health sciences and growing the college’s existing programs, while maintaining a focus on communities and public health. “We have very strong relationships with several local organizations, so I’m hoping that we can do quite a bit in terms of serving the diverse Boston population. I’m here, very committed to improving the health status of the diverse populations.”