Deborah Ward, Ph.D., R.N., F.A.A.N.
Dignity Health Dean’s Chair for Nursing Leadership, Interim Dean and Clinical Professor
Deborah Ward is the Dignity Health Dean’s Chair for Nursing Leadership, interim dean and a clinical professor at the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis. As the first faculty member recruited to the school in September 2008, Ward is a passionate advocate for the encouragement and advancement of her students, as well as facilitating profound improvements in health and health care.
As interim dean, Ward leads the school during the transition as UC Davis leaders complete a search for a permanent dean. Prior to this role, Ward served in a number of leadership positions including two years as chair of the Nursing Science and Health-Care Graduate Group and as associate dean for academics for the School of Nursing from 2009 to 2015. She played a critical role in the development of the school’s graduate degree programs, while she also worked diligently to connect the new school with the Davis campus as well as the larger communities it serves. In 2017, Chancellor Gary S. May appointed her as a representative of UC Davis Health on the steering committee of the university’s strategic planning effort, "To Boldly Go.”
Ward received her doctorate in Health Policy from Boston University in 1988 and a Master of Science in Nursing from Yale University School of Nursing in 1977. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Government from Oberlin College in 1968.
Ward secured grant funding for a variety of research and educational projects and is widely published, both in the United States and overseas, including Health Affairs and Nursing Outlook. With an emphasis on cultural inclusion, her teaching ranges from health policy and leadership to interprofessional practice, in which she employs active- and discussion-based learning.
Ward has received numerous awards and honors, including the Rheba de Tornyay Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award and the Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching from the University of Washington School of Nursing, where she was an associate professor. She received the Distinguished Alumna Award from the Yale University School of Nursing and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing. In 2010, she received the UC Davis School of Medicine Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. She was most recently honored in 2018 with UC Davis' James H. Meyer Distinguished Achievement Award.