Beginning Sept. 1, Michele Balas, PhD, will serve as the UNMC College of Nursing associate dean for research and Dorothy Hodges Olson Endowed Chair in Nursing. She succeeds Robin Lally, PhD, who has been serving as interim associate dean for research since July 2020. Prior to that Ann Berger, PhD, served in the role from 2015 to 2020.
Dr. Balas initially joined the nursing faculty as an assistant professor in 2009. She began building her program of research to address clinical strategies for preventing delirium in critically ill patients. She moved to The Ohio State University College of Nursing in 2013 to work with their Center for Healthy Aging, Self-Management and Complex Care.
Dr. Balas said she is deeply honored and excited to accept the position.
"My family fell in love with the great state of Nebraska nearly a decade ago and we are so grateful to consider this our 'forever' home. The faculty, staff and students at the college possess an incredible amount of talent, passion, wisdom and resiliency. Working with interprofessional colleague's across campus, ongoing and future research conducted at the CON will undoubtedly lead to improvements in physical, psychological and cognitive health, the development and testing of interventions aimed at producing a safer and more equitable health care system, the prevention of disease across the lifespan and the scientific knowledge and technology that is needed to drive nursing practice."
Dr. Balas has received numerous grants, including funding from the Alzheimer's Association, the American Association of Critical Care Nurses and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
Her current study as principal investigator is a R01 funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute at the National Institutes for Health (NIH).
Dr. Balas has presented widely at scientific meetings and has a strong record of publications in peer-reviewed journals, editorials, book chapters, published abstracts, and one book for which she was co-editor.
"Dr. Balas is a dedicated nurse scientist, educator and leader," said Juliann Sebastian, PhD, dean of the UNMC College of Nursing. "We are extremely excited about her joining the UNMC College of Nursing and the potential for further research growth under her leadership."
Dr. Sebastian acknowledged Dr. Lally for her tireless and exemplary leadership as interim. "She has ensured that nurse scientists and their collaborators have received timely information and support throughout the COVID-19 pandemic," Dr. Sebastian said.
Thank you Dr. Lally and Welcome Dr. Balas! Exciting time!