Dr. Abdellah, pioneer nursing researcher, helped transform nursing theory, nursing care and nursing education. After receiving her nursing certificate from the Ann May School of Nursing and her Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctoral degrees in Education from Columbia University, Dr. Abdellah embarked on her distinguished career in health care. She was the first nurse officer to receive the rank of a two-star rear admiral. Her more than 150 publications, including her seminal works, Better Nursing Care Through Nursing Research and Patient-Centered Approaches to Nursing, changed the focus of nursing theory from a disease-centered to a patient-centered approach and moved nursing practice beyond the patient to include care of families and the elderly. Her Patient Assessment of Care Evaluation method to evaluate health care is now the standard for the nation. Her development of the first tested coronary care unit has saved thousands of lives.
As the first nurse and the first woman to serve as Deputy Surgeon General, Dr. Abdellah developed educational materials in many key areas of public health, including AIDS, disabilities, violence, hospice care, smoking cessation, alcoholism, and drug addiction.
Dr. Abdellah, after teaching at several prestigious universities, founded the Graduate School of Nursing at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences and served as the school’s first dean. Beyond the classroom, Dr. Abdellah presented at workshops around the world on nursing research and nursing care.
Dr. Abdellah’s work has been recognized with almost 90 professional and academic honors, including the prestigious Allied Signal Award for her pioneering research in aging. She is also the recipient of eleven honorary degrees.
As a leader in health care, she has helped transform the practice of nursing and raised its standards by introducing scientific research into nursing and patient care. Her leadership, her publications and her accomplishments have set a new standard for nursing and for women in the health care field.