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Office of Research on Women's Health (ORWH)

Afaf I. Meleis, Ph.D., Dr.P.S. (hon), FAAN, FRCN

Afaf I. Meleis, Ph.D., Dr.P.S. (hon), FAAN, FRCNDr. Afaf I. Meleis is the Margaret Bond Simon Dean of Nursing at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, Professor of Nursing and Sociology, and Director of the School‘s WHO Collaborating Center for Nursing and Midwifery Leadership. Prior to coming to Penn, she was a Professor on the faculty of nursing at the University of California, Los Angeles and the University of California, San Francisco. She is a member of the Institute of Medicine, the George W. Bush Presidential Center Women‘s Initiative Policy Advisory Council, and a Board Member of CARE. She is a fellow of the Royal College of Nursing in the UK, the American Academy of Nursing, and the College of Physicians of Philadelphia. Dr. Meleis is the Global Ambassador for the Girl Child Initiative of the International Council of Nurses and is President and Council General Emerita of the International Council on Women‘s Health Issues (ICOWHI).

Dr. Meleis‘ scholarship is focused on global health and immigrant and women’s health. Much of her life’s work has been dedicated to advocating for women’s rights in healthcare and to advancing excellence in women’s healthcare around the world. Dr. Meleis has held many summits focused on women’s health, including the Penn Summit on Global Issues in Women’s Health, “Safe Womanhood in an Unsafe World” (2005), the Urban Women’s Think Tank Conference (2007), and the Penn-ICOWHI 18th International Conference on Cities and Women’s Health: Global Perspectives, at the University of Pennsylvania (2010).

Dr. Meleis has been invited nationally and internationally by over 25 different countries for visiting professorships, to conduct symposia, to present keynote addresses, to serve on boards, to plan conferences, and to consult on women’s health research. She is the author of more than 175 articles in social sciences, nursing, medical, and women’s health journals; 40 chapters; 7 books; and numerous monographs and proceedings.

Dr. Meleis is the recipient of numerous honors and awards, as well as honorary doctorates and distinguished and honorary professorships around the world. Among her awards are the Medal of Excellence, presented by former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak for professional and scholarly achievements; an Honorary Doctorate of Medicine from the Linköping University, Sweden; the Global Citizenship Award from the United Nations Association of Greater Philadelphia; and the Dr. Gloria Twine Chisum Award for Distinguished Faculty at University of Pennsylvania, awarded for community leadership and commitment to promoting diversity. She is the first Dean at the University of Pennsylvania to receive this award. Dr. Meleis also received the 2008 Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools International Distinguished Leadership Award based on her work in the global healthcare community. In 2010, she was inducted into the UCLA and UCSF Schools of Nursing Hall of Fame for her work in advancing and transforming nursing science.

Dr. Meleis graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Alexandria (1961), earned an M.S. in nursing (1964), an M.A. in sociology (1966) and a Ph.D. in medical and social psychology (1968) from the University of California, Los Angeles.

This page last reviewed on June 8, 2015