College of Nursing Establishes new Department of Community and Population Health

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Sarah Rhoads

Professor Sarah Jane Rhoads, PhD, DNP, WHNP-BC, RNC-OB, APRN, FAAN, has been selected to lead a new department in the University of Tennessee Health Science Center’s College of Nursing. Dr. Rhoads will serve as chair of the Department of Community and Population Health.

The development of a third department in the college is a response to growth in programs and faculty, said Dean Wendy Likes, PhD, DNSc, APRN-Bc, FAANP.  The other two departments in the college are Health Promotion and Disease Prevention and Acute and Tertiary Care.

“I am so excited about the innovation and leadership Dr. Rhoads will bring to this position. Innovation has been a hallmark of her career thus far,” Dr. Likes said.

The college has added several programmatic options in recent years, including a Nurse-Midwifery concentration in the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program, a dual Pediatric Primary and Pediatric Acute concentration in the DNP program, and a traditional, two-year option in the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program.

Dr. Rhoads joined UTHSC in 2018, coming to the university from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, where she was director of the South Central Telehealth Resource Center, education director for the Center for Distance Health, and an associate professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

She is an also an Edge Runner, a recognition by the American Academy of Nurses for nurse-designed models of care and intervention that improve health care quality. In addition, Dr. Rhoads is the principal investigator on a nearly $3 million HRSA grant to the college that has the goal of improving health care for women and children in underserved and rural areas of the Delta. She also was integral to the college’s recent designation by the South Central Telehealth Resource Center as a telehealth training site for Tennessee.

“I am so honored to lead this newly formed department. I look forward to working with the college’s leadership team and faculty to expand existing community partnerships and develop new partnerships, as well as mentor faculty in this department to achieve their academic goals,” she said.

Dr. Rhoads received her Bachelor of Science, Master of Nursing Science, and PhD degrees in nursing from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in 1995, 2000, and 2013 respectively. She received her DNP degree from the UTHSC College of Nursing in 2006. She is certified as a Nurse Practitioner in Women’s Health and in Inpatient Obstetrics.