National League of NursingNational League of Nursing

The Voice of Nursing Education

Betty Dennis

Betty DennisBetty Pierce Dennis, DrPH, MN, RN, FAAN
Director, NLN | Chamberlain Center for the
Advancement of the Science of Nursing Education

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Betty Pierce Dennis received her bachelor of science in nursing from North Carolina A&T State University, a master’s degree in adult health administration at Emory University, and the DrPH in maternal and child health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Dennis has completed two post-doctorate experiences: 1) at the University of Montana at Bozeman, she focused on adult learning as practiced in national and international settings with investigations that involved Native Americans and Africans; 2) at Oregon Health and Sciences University, her post-doctoral themes were health disparities and immigrant populations. An Extramural Associate fellowship was completed at the National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, where she was awarded a grant to build and support the research enterprise at her home institution. She was inducted as a fellow in the American Academy of Nursing in 2012.

Dr. Dennis has military experience, having served a tour of duty in the US Army Nurse Corps and Reserves. Her international nursing experience is extensive. In Moshi, Tanzania at Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre School of Nursing, she taught nursing and developed curriculum as a member of an international faculty. Through the Kellogg Foundation, she served as a consultant and staff member at the Ithusheng Community Health Centre in Tzaneen, South Africa. There she was involved in the development of community systems to promote health such as, clinics, day care centers, and lay health worker training. Following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, Dr. Dennis joined an effort to intervene and reduce the occurrence of gender-based violence that invariably follows catastrophic events. Working with the International Council of Nurses, she contributed to the development of a nursing documentation tool for international use. She has also served as consultant to nursing education programs in the US and the US Virgin Islands.

As an administrator in several nursing education programs, Dr. Dennis has served as a director, department chair, and dean. In a collaborative effort with Louisiana State University, she was director of the Minority Health and Health Disparities Research Center, a National Institutes of Health funded Center of Excellence from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities. She is the recipient of multiple research, scholarship, and program grants, and a published author in refereed resources. Her research interests are in community-based interventions supported by participatory models, global health issues affected by nursing education and nursing care, and the ethics of health care and health care delivery. She is also a student of the synthesis of leadership as theory and as practice. Through various awards, including a citation from the Mayor of New Orleans, she has been recognized for achievements in leadership and in service to the community.