Nancy fugate woods

Nancy Woods, PhD, RN, FAAN

Nancy Woods is a legend in nursing – locally, nation­ally and inter­na­tion­ally. In fact, she was named a Living Legend” by the American Academy of Nursing in 2017. The recog­ni­tion came after decades of research, teaching and leader­ship that have shaped not only the practice of nursing, but also the educa­tion and careers of legions of nurses.

Woods has had a sustained impact on nursing science through her individual program of research in women’s health and through insti­tu­tional leader­ship and advocacy that helped estab­lish the National Center and then National Insti­tute of Nursing Research. In her time as Dean of the Univer­sity of Washington School of Nursing, Woods launched the first Doctor of Nursing Practice degree program on the West Coast, advanced equity and inclu­sion, and led the School of Nursing the number 1 in the nation in U.S. News & World Report’s rankings.

Woods’ nursing career in the State of Washington started as a staff nurse at the Univer­sity of Washington Hospital, during graduate school. She earned her Master of Nursing from the Univer­sity of Washington in 1969. She also holds a Ph.D. in Epidemi­ology from the Univer­sity of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

Woods joined the faculty of the UW School of Nursing in 1978 and held numerous leader­ship positions in addition to teaching physi­o­log­ical nursing, family and child nursing and biobe­hav­ioral nursing. Her leader­ship positions included Director of the Office of Nursing Research Facil­i­ta­tion, Chair of the Depart­ment of Parent and Child Nursing, Director of the Women’s Health Nursing Research Training Program, Director of the Center for Women’s Health Research, Associate Dean for Research and, finally, Dean of the School.

During her Deanship, Woods publicly apolo­gized for the school’s history of failing to adequately support and admit African American students and other students from under­rep­re­sented backgrounds and support their efforts to complete their educa­tion. She used this apology to not only recog­nize the pain of the past, but to be a catalyst for action. The funding sources and academic oppor­tu­ni­ties she created have increased the number of under­rep­re­sented students in doctoral programs and fellow­ships. After her Deanship, she served as the Interim Dean for Diver­sity, Equity and Inclu­sion, leading the devel­op­ment and expan­sion of her earlier work.

Throughout her tenure as Dean, Woods served as a nursing repre­sen­ta­tive on many federal agencies. She was a leader­ship member of the Advisory Committee on Women’s Health in the National Insti­tutes of Health Office of Women’s Health Research. Her leader­ship on the VA National Committee for Geriatric and Research helped foster the expan­sion of nurses at local and national levels to impact services in the Depart­ment of Veterans Affairs. Woods also served as Presi­dent of the American Academy of Nursing, the North American Menopause Society and the Society for Menstrual Research.

Woods is known for her leader­ship and research in women’s health throughout the world. She, in collab­o­ra­tion with colleagues, conducted the first preva­lence study of perimen­strual symptoms in the U.S. and subse­quently identi­fied a variety of symptom patterns women experi­enced across the menstrual cycle. Her ground­breaking work in women’s health, led to the estab­lish­ment of the first NIH-funded Center for Women’s Health Research at Univer­sity of Washington School of Nursing.

With Ellen Mitchell, Woods estab­lished the Seattle Midlife Women’s Health Study, a longi­tu­dinal study of women during the menopausal transi­tion and early post-menopause, which involved recruiting over 500 women, some of whom were followed for up to 25 years. Woods is an inves­ti­gator for the Women’s Health Study, studying both frailty and aging in this large popula­tion, and for the MsFLASH study of symptom manage­ment approaches for hot flashes and related symptoms.

Woods has published more than 300 articles as an individual and in collab­o­ra­tion with other profes­sionals. She has received numerous awards and recog­ni­tions, including five honorary doctoral degrees from univer­si­ties in the United States and other countries. In addition to being named a Living Legend by the American Academy of Nursing, Woods’ honors include the Distin­guished Contri­bu­tion to Nursing Science Award from the American Nurses Founda­tion in 1992, the Distin­guished Contri­bu­tion to Women’s Health Award from the American Psycho­log­ical Associ­a­tion in 1994, the Pathfinder Award from the Friends of the National Insti­tute for Nursing Research in 2003 and the Trail­blazer Award from the United States Depart­ment of Health and Human Services, Office of Women’s Health in 2016.

In so many ways, Wood’s contri­bu­tions to nursing science, research, practice and educa­tion will extend far beyond her lifetime.