Professional News

UK Alumna Named Dean of University of Pikeville’s Elliott School of Nursing

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 17, 2015) — The University of Pikeville (UPIKE) recently appointed UK College of Nursing alumna Mary Rado Simpson as the founding dean of the Elizabeth Akers Elliott School of Nursing.

Before rising to the role of dean, Simpson served as both division chair and interim dean of the school’s nursing programs. She directed the development of the UPIKE registered nurse (RN) to bachelor’s of nursing science (BSN) program in 2011 and its path to national accreditation. As dean, she will focus on the development of the new nursing programs in the expansion of health affairs. 

“When I think back to 1983 and the first nursing program at UPIKE, I am amazed at how far we have come and the potential of how far we can go,” Simpson said. “I will draw upon our strong relationships with nursing alumni, health care agencies and the good people of the community to move forward what is best for nursing in Pike County and beyond.”

Simpson earned both her doctoral degree in nursing and master’s of science in nursing from the UK College of Nursing. She received her BSN at Western Connecticut State University. She also holds National League for Nursing Certification as a nurse educator. Simpson’s research has focused on the role of faith and healing in the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer.

Simpson began her service in Kentucky as a staff registered nurse for Appalachian Regional Healthcare (ARH) and at that time, was one of only two registered nurses in Pike County with a BSN degree. Simpson moved into nursing education at Southern West Virginia Community College while maintaining supervisory positions at ARH. She helped establish the Elizabeth Akers Elliott associate degree in nursing program at the then Pikeville College, and later taught in a nursing program at Lynchburg College in Virginia. She also served as a research associate at the University of Kentucky College of Nursing.

“This is an excellent example of how our alumni are leading the way in health care and education across the nation,” said Janie Heath, Dean of UK’s College of Nursing and Warwick Professor of Nursing. “She has taken on a critically important nursing leadership role in an area of Kentucky that needs her knowledge, experience and expertise. I am proud to see alumni such as Dr. Simpson giving back to the Commonwealth as Dean for the University of Pikeville.”

During her career, Simpson has participated in a faculty exchange program to South Korea, received research awards and chaired a national subcommittee to develop a certification exam for transcultural nursing. She has presented at national nursing conferences and is published in peer-reviewed nursing journals.

She served on the local advisory council for Tug Valley ARH in South Williamson, Kentucky, and is an appointed member to the board of directors of Pikeville Medical Center. In 2002, Simpson attended the Salzburg Seminar in Austria where she joined nursing professionals from around the world in workshops focusing on healthcare access. Most recently, Simpson completed a sabbatical leave at the University of Alaska-Anchorage (UAA) to learn about clinical simulation in nursing programs. 

MEDIA CONTACT: Elizabeth Adams,