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Shakira Henderson named UF College of Nursing dean

Shakira Henderson

Shakira Henderson, Ph.D., D.N.P., M.S., M.P.H., EMBA, has been named dean of the University of Florida College of Nursing — the sixth in the college’s 67-year history.

Henderson, who joins UF on Jan. 29, will also become the associate vice president for nursing education, practice, and research — or System Chief Nurse Executive — for UF Health. She has a distinguished leadership record that spans health care operations and academia.

She is currently the assistant vice chancellor, system vice president research officer and clinical integration research officer at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, UNC Health, and the UNC – Chapel Hill School of Medicine.

“Dr. Henderson is a proven leader, and we are thrilled for her to work with our executive leadership team to develop new and exciting strategies for UF,” said UF President Ben Sasse. “She will help take the College of Nursing to the next level.”

In Henderson’s current role at UNC – Chapel Hill, she is the executive leader for the integration of health care operations and clinical research operations throughout the health system, the university, and its medical college. She also works with the executive leadership team to develop and execute interorganizational health care and clinical research strategies. She has increased external partnerships by 50% and supported grant funding initiatives of more than $100 million in two years.

“Dr. Henderson is the ideal choice to lead the college as the profession and education of nursing continue to transform,” said David R. Nelson, M.D., senior vice president for health affairs at UF and president of UF Health. “With her leadership and experience, Dr. Henderson will not only further position the College of Nursing at the forefront of nursing education, research, and clinical service, but she will also be responsible for integrating these missions across the UF Health system.”

Henderson is a nationally recognized leader who describes herself as “the nurse in the middle,” engaging university and health care leaders to integrate operations and research throughout the UNC – Chapel Hill system. Passionate about community involvement and mentorship, she is the president of the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses, where she has twice received its national award for nursing leadership and health care practice. She sits on the board of directors for Leadership North Carolina.

“We know Dr. Henderson will elevate the College of Nursing and bring more visibility to the wonderful offerings at UF,” said Scott Angle, interim provost and senior academic affairs vice president at UF. “The experience she will bring to this role, and her incredible leadership, will be such assets to UF Health.”

Henderson succeeds Anna M. McDaniel, Ph.D., R.N., FAAN, who led the college between 2013 and 2023 and stepped down in June. Under McDaniel’s leadership, the College of Nursing saw tremendous growth and earned national and international recognition. Most notably, rankings rose for the Doctor of Nursing Practice and Bachelor of Science in Nursing degrees, and National Institutes of Health research funding increased twelvefold from 2014. McDaniel recruited many world-renowned clinicians and researchers, increasing faculty numbers by 50% in nine years.

Born and raised on the small Caribbean island of Dominica, Henderson developed a deep appreciation of academics from an early age. She is a nationally certified neonatal intensive care nurse with research focus areas in leadership, breastfeeding, and global health. She earned a Ph.D. in Nursing from the University of Miami; a Doctor of Nursing Practice and a Master of Science in Nursing from the University of South Alabama; and a Master of Science in Anatomy, Master of Public Health, and Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Barry University. This year, she completed a global executive Master of Business Administration with a focus on social impact from Brown University and IE Business School in Madrid. Prior to joining the UNC – Chapel Hill system, she held leadership positions at what is now ECU Health, including senior systems administrator for research and grants, and director of nursing and health sciences research.

Henderson said she will uphold the College of Nursing’s values and standards.

“I am dedicated to promoting a collaborative and inclusive environment, fostering excellence in nursing education, and advancing research and practice in the field of nursing,” she said. “I am enthusiastic about the opportunities that lie ahead, and I am eager to contribute to the continued success and growth of the UF College of Nursing.”

About the author

Anna Suggs Hoffman
Director of Communications, UF College of Nursing

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