Nursing informatics leader named endowed professor

Gail Keenan, Ph.D., R.N. (Right click on image for high res dowload option)An international leader in nursing informatics whose work has helped improve electronic communications among health care teams has joined the University of Florida College of Nursing as the Annabel Davis Jenks endowed professor for teaching and research in clinical nursing excellence.

Gail Keenan, Ph.D., R.N., comes to UF from the University of Illinois at Chicago, where she served as director of both the Nursing Informatics Initiative and the Nursing Administration Program and as associate director of the Health Systems Science Division in the College of Nursing. She joined UF on Sept. 2.

Keenan’s research program focuses on continuously refining a “big picture” standardized clinical data set to provide a summary of patient care, support day-to-day communication between members of the care team and universalize electronic health records. As a recipient of more than $7.5 million in research funding, Keenan has focused her research on creating and implementing useful electronic health records. Specifically, her research team has built and refined an electronic plan of care method — HANDS — designed to improve the consistency of documentation and handoff communication.

“We are pleased to welcome Dr. Keenan to UF, and I know she will further our university’s initiatives to facilitate leading-edge informatics research, especially in the area of nursing and patient care,” said Anna McDaniel, Ph.D., R.N., dean of the UF College of Nursing. “Her work in this field will help UF become a national leader in understanding the most efficient and cost-effective ways of utilizing ‘big data’ in health care.”

The Annabel Davis Jenks endowed professorship for teaching and research in clinical nursing excellence was established in 1999 and made possible through a gift from the Thomas M. and Irene B. Kirbo Charitable Trust, longtime supporters of nursing education at UF. The professorship honors Annabel Davis Jenks, a nurse in the Jacksonville area who was closely connected to the college’s Jacksonville campus and who was the late wife of Kirbo trustee R. Murray Jenks.

Keenan holds key policy-related leadership roles. She serves as chair of the clinical information systems work group and is co-chair of the nursing work group policy task force for the American Medical Informatics Association. She is also a member and past chair of the American Nurses Association Committee on Nursing Practice Information Infrastructure. Keenan also serves as president and CEO of Healthteam IQ, a plan of care software product and training module that can be used alone or as a component of any electronic health record. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing.

“It is very exciting being able to be a part of this wonderful university at such a dynamic time. I was sold quickly on the potential for my informatics research at UF after witnessing firsthand the depth and breadth of genuine interprofessional scientific collaboration,” Keenan said. “I look forward to making major contributions that will enhance electronic health records and dramatically improve the delivery and quality of health care.” 

About the Author

Tracy Brown Wright

Former Director of Public Relations and Strategic Communications, College of Nursing

Tracy Wright was director of public relations and strategic communications for the University of Florida College of Nursing. She holds a master's degree in mass communications with a concentration in...Read More