Fontenot and Wong appointed as associate deans

The school is proud to announce the appointment of two nurse leaders, Drs. Holly Fontenot and Lorrie Wong, into associate dean positions at the UH Manoa Nancy Atmospera-Walch School of Nursing (NAWSON), effective August 1, 2023.

Dr. Holly Fontenot, Associate Dean for Research

Dr. Holly Fontenot, PhD, APRN, WHNP-BC, FAAN, is a board certified women’s health nurse practitioner and will serve as the associate dean for research. Her scholarly focus is on promotion of health for women and adolescents and her work, in collaboration with colleagues across disciplines, seeks to address health disparities and answer questions with direct clinical applications. She is a professor and the Frances A. Matsuda Chair in Women’s Health in which she provides research and scholarly mentorship to faculty and students, and engages in research and service to the profession. Dr. Fontenot is also an associate member of the University of Hawaii Cancer Center. Previously, she was the NAWSON director for research and taught nursing courses at the graduate level.  Prior to moving to Hawaii, she was an associate professor and the director of the Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner program at Boston College.

In this role, Dr. Fontenot will foster the research and scholarly endeavors of the school. She plans to advance research development for faculty and students, bolster resources and administrative support, and enhance and sustain community relationships with the goal of building an inclusive community of scholars that will focus on reducing health disparities and improving health outcomes across our state and region. Lastly, she will work to improve communication about the advancement of nursing science and nurse-led research at the university, state, and national level, and additionally among partners in the Pacific region.

“I am excited about this exciting opportunity and am committed to providing the support necessary to foster our faculty’s ability to steward our profession, develop its science, and improve health outcomes for our communities,” said Fontenot. “Science that reflects the nursing perspective is critical if we are going to develop inclusive and innovative strategies that will promote health, reduce inequities, and address the complex health issues challenging our societies today.”

Dr. Fontenot will continue her program of research currently focused on developing innovative strategies to reduce human papillomavirus (HPV) associated cancer disparities via vaccination and screening. Her overarching goal as a researcher is to contribute to the multidisciplinary science that will lead to the eventual elimination of cervical cancers among women.

Dr. Lorrie Wong, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs

Dr. Lorrie WongLorrie Wong, PhD, RN, CHSE-A, is an adult advanced practice nurse with experience in critical care, simulation based education and interprofessional education. She has taught at the school for more than 34 years and will serve as the associate dean for academic affairs. She holds the HMSA Distinguished Professorship and received the UH Chancellor’s Citation for Meritorious Teaching in 2004 and the Nurse Educator Award from nursing students numerous times. She previously served as the Director of the UH Translational Health Science Simulation Center for 17 years and has been the school’s lead for Interprofessional Education.

In this role, Dr. Wong will oversee the academic affairs of the Department of Nursing and Department of Dental Hygiene. She will monitor health care and education trends at the global and national level to ensure Manoa’s nursing and dental hygiene program curricula remains relevant and aligned with the latest industry developments. She is responsible for the integration of emerging technologies, interprofessional collaboration and ensuring that future healthcare professionals are prepared to meet the challenges of the rapidly changing healthcare landscape.

“I embrace the opportunity to work with faculty, staff and students, as we aspire to create a Native Hawaiian place of learning where we honor traditions and cultures of all people of Hawaii,” said Wong. “I hope to inspire innovation and cultivate a culture of learning as we educate the future healthcare workforce of Hawaii. I am committed to advancing the nursing and dental hygiene professions by training students to provide compassionate, safe and high-quality care to the people of Hawaii.”

New School Leadership

The two new associate deans join the leadership team at NAWSON just months after the permanent dean Clementina Ceria-Ulep, PhD, RN, was appointed in April 2023. “With their track record, I am confident that Holly and Lorrie will elevate NAWSON and UH in their respective areas of expertise: research and academics,” said Ceria-Ulep. “I would like to thank the Search Committee for their assistance in enabling us to progress and meet a tight deadline for their appointments with the able assistance and coordination of Marla Acosta, retired administrative operations coordinator and Corie Fulgencio-Arre, HR Specialist. I would also like to thank UH Manoa Provost Michael Bruno and UH President David Lassner for their support and the assistance of their offices.”

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