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Villanova Nursing Names Dr. Bridgette M. Rice as Associate Dean for Research and Innovation

Dr. Bridgette Rice

Bridgette M. Rice, PhD, MDiv, APRN, FAAN has been named Associate Dean for Research and Innovation at Villanova University M. Louise Fitzpatrick College of Nursing (FCN), announced Donna S. Havens, PhD, RN, FAAN, Connelly Endowed Dean and Professor, on April 12. The news follows a recent search conducted by FCN. Dr. Rice, the Richard and Marianne Kreider Endowed Professor in Nursing for Vulnerable Populations  - a role she will continue to hold - assumes her new position effective June 1.

“I am pleased to have Dr. Rice in this role. Her unique talents, depth and breadth of experience, and collaborative and inclusive nature will continue to elevate the science that is developed out of our College,” says Dean Havens.

Dr. Rice is a seasoned, well-funded and innovative researcher who has focused on interventions to promote health equity and reduce health disparities and believes that research can be used as an advocacy tool.

 “I am thrilled to serve the FCN, and our broader society, in this pivotal role. Research and innovation are key to ensuring that all individuals have an opportunity to reach their full health potential. I look forward to bringing my equity and justice insights to expand our comprehensive research portfolio,” says Dr. Rice.

Dr. Rice’s research advances understanding of individual (e.g., depression), social (e.g., social capital) and structural (e.g., poverty) drivers of inequity. She uses spatially-driven mixed methods approaches—such as combining ethnography with geographic information systems mapping and analyses—to tackle complex health issues. This multi-level, geographical approach generates knowledge on modifiable targets for novel, evidence-based interventions and policies to promote health and reduce health inequities. Using a transdisciplinary team science approach, her impact extends internationally and to other health concerns (e.g., gun violence, cardiovascular disease). She has worked with multiple institutions to help build research capacity including serving as a Visiting Professor in mixed methods research at the University of Tor Vergata Department of Biomedicine and Prevention in Rome, Italy; as a Visiting Faculty in the Yale University Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS; and as a consultant at the University of Botswana in Gaborone, Botswana.

Dr. Rice’s consistently funded research portfolio aims to ensure that all individuals have equitable and just opportunities to achieve their full health potential. She received more than $5 million to engage in this work as PI, Co-I, consultant or mentor/sponsor. She currently has several funded projects and several others under review including: an evaluation of the Philadelphia Alliance for Child Trauma Services (PACTS) III program (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration [SAMHSA]); a community-based, knowledge translation approach to address neighborhood factors that impact HIV care continuum participation (University of Louisville and the Humana Foundation); and a National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) R01 under review to examine the impact of individual- and neighborhood-level social connectedness on mental health in Black adults.

Dr. Rice has received numerous honors and awards including fellowship in the American Academy of Nursing, receipt of the International Society of Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurses (ISPN) Diversity and Equity Award, the Friends of the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR) Protégée Award, the Dr. Faye Gary Leadership Award, the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing Dean’s Award for Distinguished Teaching, and the Richard L. Sowell Article of the Year Award from the Journal of the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care (JANAC).

Dr. Rice earned a BSN from Villanova University (Minors in Psychology and Spanish - Cum Laude); an MSN from the University of Pennsylvania (Major: Psychiatric Mental Health Advance Practice Nursing; Specialty - Child and Family Therapy); a PhD from the University of Pennsylvania (Major: Nursing Science); and a MDiv from the Palmer Theological Seminary of Eastern University.