Katherine E. Gregory, the associate chief nursing officer for women’s and newborn health, research, and innovation at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and assistant professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, has been named dean of the Connell School of Nursing. She will succeed Susan Gennaro, who is stepping down at the end of the semester after 13 years as dean.
A visionary nurse leader, educator, and researcher, Gregory will return to Boston College where she received a Ph.D. in nursing in 2006 and served as an assistant and associate professor in the Connell School between 2006 and 2014.
During her 25-year nursing career, Gregory has risen from a staff nurse in a newborn ICU to the ACNO at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, with a scope of responsibility that includes leadership of a division with approximately 700 nurses and clinical staff, and clinical operations for the largest birth hospital in Massachusetts. In her multifaceted leadership role, Gregory is also responsible for leading research and innovation efforts within the Department of Nursing, and working with donors and foundations to acquire resources to support research mentorship of the hospital’s nurses. She also serves as the senior nurse executive on Brigham and Women’s Executive Advisory Council for Diversity, Inclusion, Health Equity, and Community Health.
As a researcher, Gregory has worked with a diverse set of scientists across multiple disciplines from a wide range of institutions, and has secured both National Institutes of Health and National Institute of Nursing Research funding from 2003 through 2024. In 2009, through the generosity of University Trustee Kathleen Haley and her husband Stephen, Gregory helped establish the Haley Nurse Scientist Program, a partnership between the Connell School of Nursing and Brigham and Women’s that funded clinical nurses at BWH and nursing faculty at CSON to engage in scholarly activities and lead clinical research while strengthening holistic care provided to patients and families. She was selected as the inaugural Haley Nurse Scientist.
More recently, she served as scientific founder of an early-stage company that aims to improve preterm infant nutrition and growth outcomes through software designed to optimize nursing care and clinical workflows, resulting in a patent issued in 2020. She has helped to raise more than $5 million in funding for the venture, while gaining invaluable experience in nurse-led innovation and entrepreneurship.
“As someone who did her doctoral work here and then served on the faculty, Kate speaks powerfully about what makes Boston College such a special place. Her impressive research program, the leadership she has provided at Brigham and Women's Hospital, and her innovative approaches to nursing education and scholarship make her the ideal candidate to guide the Connell School.”
In announcing the appointment, Provost and Dean of Faculties David Quigley praised Gregory as a uniquely talented nurse leader who is well prepared to lead the Connell School into the future.
“The search committee and I were enormously impressed with Kate Gregory's vision for the Connell School of Nursing,” said Quigley. “As someone who did her doctoral work here and then served on the faculty, Kate speaks powerfully about what makes Boston College such a special place. Her impressive research program, the leadership she has provided at Brigham and Women's Hospital, and her innovative approaches to nursing education and scholarship make her the ideal candidate to guide the Connell School starting this summer.”
Gregory said she was thrilled to have the opportunity to serve as dean of the Connell School of Nursing, given the central role it has played in her personal and professional development.
“Boston College has a long history of preparing nurses who make a difference, whether they serve at the bedside, in the classroom, as scientists developing new knowledge for practice, or as leaders in their local and global communities,” said Gregory. “I have had the privilege of an excellent education, training opportunities, outstanding mentorship, and a diversity of experiences that have led me back to Boston College. As dean, I plan to partner with many others, successfully contributing to the mission of Boston College and leading the Connell School through the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead.”
“My vision is that the Connell School and Boston College will prepare nurses to serve in many capacities that contribute to improved human health: as clinicians, educators, scientists, innovators, and leaders that make a difference. As dean, I will work closely with the community of the Connell School and Boston College, as well as with leaders across Boston and beyond, to ensure that we prepare nurses to serve patients, families, and communities in many capacities, but always as people for others.”
Prior to being named the associate chief nursing officer at Brigham and Women’s, Gregory served as associate director of research in pediatric newborn medicine, and director of newborn care redesign, improvements, and analytics. She continues to serve as an assistant in biology in the Mucosal Immunology Lab at Massachusetts General Hospital, and as a senior scientist in pediatric newborn medicine at BWH. She is also the editor of the Journal of Perinatal and Neonatal Nursing.
“Katherine Gregory is the right leader for the Connell School of Nursing because of her expertise in health systems leadership and strong vision for academic-health system partnerships to enhance student learning and research; her experience as both a leader and team scientist on large interdisciplinary and NIH-funded research projects; the alignment of her aspirations for the future of nursing education and research with the mission of the Schiller Institute for Integrated Science and Society; and her unyielding voice of advocacy for nursing within the healthcare community,” said Christopher Lee, professor and associate dean for research in the Connell School, who served on the search committee.
“Dr. Gregory has a strong and forward-looking vision for the future of the Connell School that will preserve the Jesuit, Catholic traditions that were formative in her own education, accelerate diversity and health equity initiatives for which she holds great passion, enhance the impact and collaborative nature of nursing research, and usher in a new era of rigorous-but-compassionate education and mentorship to support students and faculty to live in service to others.”
“I am truly excited that Kate Gregory will be the next dean of the Connell School of Nursing,” said Colleen Simonelli, clinical professor and associate dean of undergraduate programs in the Connell School and a member of the search committee. “As a former Ph.D. student of the Connell School, tenured faculty colleague in our Maternal Child Health Department, and most recently a valued clinical partner in her position as associate chief nursing officer at Brigham and Women's Hospital, Kate's commitment to Boston College's nursing program has been unwavering. With her vision for creating a more diverse, inclusive, and equitable nursing workforce, Kate is uniquely positioned to advance the mission of the Connell School. Bringing together our clinical and research faculty with our colleagues and partners across campus, I am confident Kate will lead us to new heights. Welcome home, Kate!”
Gregory received a bachelor’s degree in nursing from the State University of New York at Binghamton, and a master's in nursing from the University of Pennsylvania before earning a doctorate at Boston College. As a faculty member at BC, she won an award for Excellence in Teaching and Research, and a Faculty Award for Student Mentorship and Leadership Development.
A member of the National Association of Neonatal Nurses, the Massachusetts Association of Registered Nurses, the Council for the Advancement of Nursing Science, and the Society of Pediatric Research, Gregory is also a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing.
Gregory and her husband Jeremy, a research scientist at MIT, are the parents of three children: Thomas, 16, Benjamin, 14, and Elizabeth, 10. A lifelong runner, she enjoys running most mornings before work, as well as skiing, biking, and hiking with her family.
“It is a tremendous honor to have the opportunity to serve as dean of the Connell School of Nursing at Boston College,” said Gregory. “My vision is that the Connell School and Boston College will prepare nurses to serve in many capacities that contribute to improved human health: as clinicians, educators, scientists, innovators, and leaders that make a difference. As dean, I will work closely with the community of the Connell School and Boston College, as well as with leaders across Boston and beyond, to ensure that we prepare nurses to serve patients, families, and communities in many capacities, but always as people for others. I look forward to beginning in this new role on July 1.”
Jack Dunn | University Communications | April 2021