UArizona Nursing’s Dr. Marylyn Morris McEwen Named Associate Dean for Global Nursing

Nov. 19, 2019

University of Arizona College of Nursing Professor Marylyn Morris McEwen, PhD, RN, FAAN, has been named Arizona Nursing Associate Dean for Global Nursing. With a longstanding passion for – and established track record in – global nursing, Dr. McEwen is eminently poised to lead trailblazing efforts for global education at the UArizona Nursing.

The position was created in part as a response to the UArizona strategic plan and the UA Health Sciences (UAHS) strategic plan to extend the reach of UArizona Nursing programs across international borders. 

The newly created leadership position enables UArizona Nursing to support the UArizona strategic plan’s fourth pillar, Arizona Global, which redefines the international university experience by engaging with communities globally.

When UArizona leadership was reviewing the university’s current microcampus partnerships, a recurrent theme was that Arizona Nursing’s expertise was in high demand globally. The idea of expanding the college’s international profile was presented to Arizona Nursing Dean Ki Moore, PhD, RN, FAAN, who enthusiastically accepted the challenge. UA Global will supply the connections and Dr. McEwen will forge the bonds that lead to UArizona Nursing microcampuses worldwide. Partnerships have been proposed for Mauritius, the Philippines, Cambodia, Peru, and India.

The UA  has microcampuses in 10 nations, including Peru, China, the United Arab Emirates, Viet Nam, Mauritius, Indonesia, Jordan, Cambodia, Iraq and the Philippines. Ultimately, the strategic plan’s goal is to establish 20 microcampuses by 2025, with 10,000 students with regional hubs in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

Under Dr. McEwen’s leadership, UArizona Nursing will be among the first colleges to implement the UArizona Health Sciences’  global initiative.

“I am pleased that Dr.  McEwen has accepted the appointment as the first Associate Dean for Global Nursing,”  Dean Moore said.  “She now will be leading all of our global strategic initiatives that are closely aligned with the Health Sciences and UA strategic plans. We have an exciting opportunity to engage with new global partners seeking our academic programs.  Marylyn brings the ideal credentials and vision to lead global nursing at our university.”

 A fellow in the American Academy of Nursing’s global health expert panel, Dr. McEwen has co-authored immigrant health and border health white papers and published on health issues in the U.S.-Mexico border region. Her career has addressed wide-ranging global health concerns. “When I finished my undergraduate program, I knew I wanted to focus on global health,” she said.

In 1989, Dr. McEwen taught a rural community health rotation that brought nursing students to the U.S.-Mexico border for their public health nursing rotations. That was her first experience teaching in the border and it fueled her passion for achieving health equity and decreasing health disparities for people of Mexican origin in this unique geopolitical region. “I saw the border region as an amazingly rich environment in which to examine the multiple and diverse factors that influence health and well-being for people in two countries that share a common border,”  Dr. McEwen said.

Testament to her collaborative talents, Dr. McEwen provided leadership in a 15-year HRSA-funded interdisciplinary rural health training grant that focused on border/binational health, with students and faculty members from UArizona Nursing, Public Health, Pharmacy,  College of Medicine – Tucson, and Nutritional Sciences and  Arizona State University School of Social Work. Each  semester, with her UArizona College of Pharmacy colleague, she facilitated student tours of the Mexican health-care systems in Nogales, Sonora, Mexico,  and discussed local and binational health-care issues with Mexican health-care professionals. She is known for her interprofessional workforce development model for building community capacity, her community-centric program of research, as well as her culturally congruent community-based interventions to promote health.

“My research team  always has been composed of colleagues from diverse disciplines, including promotoras, or community health workers. I have extensive experience in conducting community-based research, primarily development and testing of culturally and linguistically tailored interventions, using a participatory research approach, with Mexican American adults with type 2 diabetes and their family members.”

Dr. McEwen has disseminated her research findings at international professional meetings in Ireland, Australia, Mexico and Italy.

UArizona Nursing’s global program has a head start, thanks to the college’s Global Nursing Advisory Group, which has developed partnerships with nursing programs in Sonora, Mexico; Universidad de Sonora (UNISON) School of Nursing in Hermosillo and Instituto Interamericano de Educacion Superior para la Salud in Guaymas. Dr. McEwen has been active in the work of the advisory group and, with another colleague, extended the Master’s Entry into Practice Nursing (MEPN) public health nursing clinical rotation to UNISON in Hermosillo last summer with eight  students. “We have an impressive group of faculty members at the College of Nursing who are committed to strengthening our Sonoran partnerships and extending teaching/learning opportunities with other partners in Mexico and Central America. I have no doubt they will fully embrace the microcampus concept as well.”

Dr. McEwen is excited about her increased capacity to champion global partnerships, not only for the increased exposure they will bring to UArizona Nursing, but for the benefits that both domestic and international students will receive. Ultimately, she would love to see a student exchange program established that would benefit every nation involved. “It’s a wonderful opportunity for our DNP students, and for our students across all program levels. Students who experience a  different health-care system in action is an amazing and professionally enriching opportunity. Students who learn about international health-care systems, compare and contrast those with the U.S. systems and  learn from one another strategies to  improve  their own practice and health-care delivery systems.”

UArizona Global Nursing is slated to start in fall 2020. Dr. McEwen, in responding to global partners’ requests, plans to begin with the entry-into-practice-level nursing program before extending into graduate and doctoral-level programs. The College will assess the capacity and readiness for prospective partners to engage in the program – determining prerequisites that must be met by students seeking entry into the program, faculty capacity and assessment of local health-care systems to support clinical experiences. The programs will be delivered in UA Global microcampuses, with the ultimate goal of allowing students to sit for state nursing board exams and potentially practice nursing in the United States.

“It’s such an amazing opportunity for global nursing to participate in an innovative model that promotes the health of the people through completion of a UArizona Nursing degree, improves the level of education by increasing local faculty capacity and ultimately elevates the delivery of health care,” Dr. McEwen said.