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The Johns Hopkins School of Nursing Appoints Robert Atkins as Executive Vice Dean


Robert (Bob) Atkins, PhD, RN, FAAN, a community builder and highly respected senior leader in higher education, will join the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing (JHSON) as Executive Vice Dean in August 2022. Atkins brings diverse background as a scholar, nurse, researcher, and service-oriented leader.

In his new position, Atkins will lead recruitment of exceptional faculty, students, and staff; help shape new models of nursing education that are responsive to quickly evolving challenges and opportunities; and identify new and untraditional opportunities for community engagement and academic partnerships. He will also leverage his experience to further build an inclusive school community that advances diversity, equity, and inclusion.

“We are fortunate to recruit Dr. Bob Atkins for this critical leadership position,” says JHSON Dean Sarah L. Szanton. “His ability to bring people together to enact change is remarkable. Nursing has a once in a generation opportunity to make big changes. Bob’s leadership in nursing, research, philanthropy, and diversity, equity, and inclusion will help us make historic change in nursing.”

Atkins is currently the Interim Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Rutgers University, where he’s served as Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education and Research. He is an associate professor at Rutgers School of Nursing and Childhood Studies, and he previously served as the school’s Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Director of its School Nurse Certification Program, and Director of the Center for Children and Childhood Studies.

Atkins has spent most of his career working to improve the health and well-being of marginalized children and families living in distressed neighborhoods. He has a Bachelor’s of Arts in Political Science and American Civilizations from Brown University and Bachelors of Science in Nursing from the University of Pennsylvania. Early in his career, he worked as a school nurse at East Camden Middle School, and he co-founded the Camden STARR Program, a non-profit youth development program dedicated to improving the life chances of youth living in Camden. His work in Camden motivated him to complete a PhD in the Department of Public Health at Temple University to better understand the factors that influence the health of children living in distressed environments.

Atkins has also served as National Program Director of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s New Jersey Health Initiatives (NJHI) program. In this role, he created meaningful partnerships between stakeholders from higher education, philanthropy, local and state government and communities.

Through his scholarly work and practice, Atkins has become a leader in shaping policy and practice that influence the health and well-being of vulnerable populations living in high poverty neighborhoods. He has authored and co-authored in journals ranging from Research in Nursing and Health to Psychological Science to the Journal of Public Health Dentistry, served on the National Institute of Nursing Research’s Advisory Council, discussed his practice and research locally and nationally, and has been honored for his teaching and service.


Located in Baltimore, the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing is a globally-recognized leader in nursing education, research, and practice. In U.S. News & World Report rankings, the school is No. 1 nationally for its master’s and DNP programs. In addition, JHSON is ranked as the No. 3 nursing school in the world by QS World University and No. 1 for total NIH funding among schools of nursing for fiscal year 2020. The school is a four-time recipient of the INSIGHT Into Diversity Health Professions Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award and a three-time Best School for Men in Nursing award recipient. For more information, visit www.nursing.jhu.edu.

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