Office of the President, Lee C. Bollinger

Announcement Regarding Dean Mundinger of the School of Nursing

Dear fellow member of the Columbia community:

Mary O'Neil Mundinger, RN, DrPH, dean of our School of Nursing since 1988, has advised us of her wish to step down as dean. We have accepted her decision with great appreciation for her distinguished service and asked her to remain as dean until June 2010, or until a successor is in place. A member of our faculty since 1982, Dr. Mundinger has created a lasting legacy not only at Columbia but also nationally by championing advanced practice nursing, pioneering an expanded role for nurses that emphasizes their professional autonomy and critical importance in providing comprehensive care, and creating a new clinical doctoral degree, which has been widely emulated at universities around the country.

Just two decades ago, Columbia's School of Nursing was struggling to define its future. Dr. Mundinger, appointed acting dean in 1986 and then dean in 1988, righted the School. Her requirement that all nursing faculty establish either a faculty practice or a research program attracted skilled clinicians and researchers, whose experiences informed their teaching. Under her extraordinary leadership, the School began accumulating an impressive list of accomplishments, including creating the School's first research program, which now has a total of 36 projects with cumulative funding of more than $30 million; this represents the highest per capita NIH faculty research funding of any nursing school in the nation. She established 10 endowed chairs, created two doctoral programs - a PhD and DNP - and increased the School's endowment from less than $3 million in 1986 to over $100 million in 2008.

Most notably, Dr. Mundinger led the School of Nursing to the forefront of education advances in nursing with the development of a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree. Helping to fill the nationwide shortage of primary care clinicians, the program educates nurses in sophisticated diagnostic and treatment competencies needed to care for patients in a variety of settings, from hospital to ambulatory care. Established in 2004, the DNP program was the first of its kind in the world. Since then, more than 200 schools have established similar clinical doctorate programs or have plans to institute such a program.

Dr. Mundinger is founder of Columbia Advanced Practice Nurse Associates (CAPNA), the first independent primary care faculty practice in which nurse practitioners hold commercial managed care contracts and are compensated at the same rate as primary care physicians. The School was also the first in which faculty gained admitting privileges at an academic health center hospital.  Dr. Mundinger was named the Centennial Professor in Health Policy at the School of Nursing in 1995, the first chair of health policy in a nursing school nationwide. Her contributions to the advancement of nursing have been acknowledged with elected membership to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Nursing, and the New York Academy of Medicine. She holds a BS degree cum laude from the University of Michigan and a doctorate in public health from Columbia's Mailman School of Public Health.

We want to extend our gratitude to Dr. Mundinger for her singular service to Columbia as a devoted member of our community for 27 years. Her exceptional contributions will resonate for generations of nurses to come - both at Columbia and beyond. Andrew Davidson, PhD, MBA, executive vice dean and professor in the Mailman School of Public Health, has agreed to chair the search committee that will begin an international search for her successor shortly.


Lee C. Bollinger



Lee Goldman, MD

Executive Vice President for Health and Biomedical Sciences and Dean of the Faculties of Health Sciences and Medicine