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UTHSC College of Nursing Dean Wendy Likes Selected as a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing

Dean Wendy Likes

Wendy Likes, PhD, DNSc, APRN-BC, dean of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center’s College of Nursing, has been selected as a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing. Induction into the Academy is a significant milestone in a nurse leader’s career. Fellows are selected based on their contributions and impact to advance the public’s health.

The Academy of Nursing is a policy organization and an honorific society that recognizes nursing’s most accomplished leaders in policy, research, practice, administration, and academia to advance equitable solutions to the nation’s most complex health care challenges. Academy Fellows from more than 40 countries hold a wide variety of influential roles in health care. Induction into the Fellowship represents more than recognition of one’s accomplishments in the nursing profession. Fellows contribute their collective expertise to the academy, engaging with health leaders nationally and globally to improve health and achieve health equity by impacting policy through nursing leadership, innovation, and science. 

 “I am so very honored to be recognized as a Fellow of the academy,” Dr. Likes said. “I look forward to continuing to make a difference in the profession by engaging with the academy to improve health outcomes and achieve greater health equity.

Dr. Likes joined the faculty of the UTHSC College of Nursing in 2005 and has served as the dean and the Ruth Neil Murry Endowed Chair in Nursing since 2015. She has expanded academic programs, bolstered research, increased the diversity of faculty and students, and strengthened academic-clinical partnerships. Dr. Likes is an internationally recognized expert in the prevention, recognition, and treatment of HPV-related cancers. The common thread in her work is a commitment to developing and implementing initiatives that reduce health inequities, improve health outcomes, and enhance nursing practice.

A native and resident of Shelby County, Tennessee, Dr. Likes completed an associate degree in nursing from Arkansas State University in 1994. She earned her bachelor’s degree in nursing from the University of Memphis and three degrees from the UTHSC College of Nursing – Master of Science in Nursing in 1999, Doctor of Nursing Science in 2004, and Doctor of Philosophy in 2009.

“As an alumna and senior leader at UTHSC, Wendy’s much deserved national distinction also makes us very proud of all her accomplishments,” said UTHSC Chancellor Peter Buckley, MD. “ Wendy is a remarkable leader and a role model for all of us, excelling in her profession and with dedicated service to our institution, to our communities, and to the state of Tennessee.”

Dean Likes, shown speaking during the launch of the UTHSC Nursing Mobile Health Unit in May, serves as an outstanding innovator, motivator, and leader for the College of Nursing and the university.

Dr. Likes began her nursing career as a staff nurse at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. As she progressed in her career, she began to specialize in diseases of the lower genital tract. She was the founder and inaugural executive director of the Center for HPV and Dysplasia (CHAD) at Regional One Health. Dr. Likes is a Fellow of the International Society for the Study of Vulvovaginal Disease, a member of the American Society of Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology, and a member of the Sigma Theta Tau Nursing Honor Society. Dr. Likes’ most recent practice included the CHAD and the development of a satellite CHAD clinic at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

 Dr. Likes also established the Center for Community and Global Partnerships at the College of Nursing to advance the profession of nursing and improve health outcomes, particularly for vulnerable and underserved populations. Among the center’s initiatives are partnerships to address vaccine hesitancy among rural residents, train hospital staffs to manage aggressive patients, train nurses to care for patients with sickle cell disease, and develop a nursing research program with St. Jude in Peru.

Through a competitive, rigorous application process, the American Academy of Nursing’s Fellow Selection Committee reviewed nearly 400 applications to select the 2023 Fellows. The 2023 Fellows represent 40 states, the District of Columbia, and 13 countries.

Dr. Likes and the 2023 inductees will be recognized for their substantial, sustained, and significant contributions to health and health care at the academy’s annual Health Policy Conference October 5-7 in Washington, D.C., during an induction ceremony October 7. The American Academy of Nursing is celebrating its 50th anniversary. Once the newest Fellows are inducted, the academy will comprise more than 3,000 leaders who are experts in policy, research, administration, practice, and academia and who champion health and wellness, locally and globally.