Linda Sarna, an internationally recognized scholar in promoting the role of nursing in tobacco control and oncology research focused on patients with lung cancer, has been appointed dean of the UCLA School of Nursing.
Sarna, who has served as interim dean of the nursing school since March 2015 and acting dean from July 2014 to March 2015, will become the school’s seventh dean, effective Nov. 15. Having earned both bachelor's and master's degrees in nursing from UCLA, she is the first UCLA alumna to serve in this position. She received her doctorate from UC San Francisco.
In his Nov. 7 announcement, UCLA Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Scott Waugh said, “Linda is a strong leader and effective administrator. I am confident that the school will reach new heights under her helm.”
With a long and distinguished career in research, leadership and advocacy, Sarna worked to create one of the first oncology nursing specialties in the country. She has mentored generations of master’s, doctoral, postdoctoral and novice researchers in oncology nursing across the U.S. as well as abroad.
“This is a transformative time in nursing, and the school is poised to be a global leader in education, academics and service,” said Sarna. “I look forward to working with faculty, staff and students to prepare the nurse scholars and leaders of tomorrow.”
As the principal investigator for the Tobacco Free Nurses (TFN) initiative, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, she initiated the first nationwide program in the country to help nurses quit smoking. To promote the role of nurses in tobacco control, she inaugurated an award-winning TFN website. She has led translational research projects to increase nursing interventions to treat tobacco dependence among hospitalized patients in the U.S., China and Eastern Europe, using Web-based educational programs and resources.
Sarna has collaborated with national and international nursing organizations on policies related to nurses and tobacco control, including the American Academy of Nursing, the International Societies of Nurses in Cancer Care and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. In 2013, she chaired the committee that led to UCLA’s distinction as the first tobacco-free UC campus.
Sarna is committed to growing inter-professional education and activities with campus partners in medicine, dentistry, engineering and other fields. She was a founding member of the National Clinician Scholars Program, an interdisciplinary collaboration launched in 2015 to provide nurses and physicians the opportunity to work together to eliminate health disparities, invent new models of care and achieve higher quality health care. In June, she was elected as the first national board chair for the program.
In addition, she served as chair of the UCLA Academic Senate during the 2012-13 academic year.
Sarna is the author of more than 200 peer-reviewed articles, books, chapters and other publications. In 2013, she was co-author of a groundbreaking report issued by the World Health Organization on the critical role nurses can play in lessening risks associated with non-communicable diseases through prevention, treatment and symptom management.
She was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing, recognized as a distinguished research professor by the Oncology Nursing Society and inducted into Sigma Theta Tau’s International Nurse Research Hall of Fame.