Board Member Spotlight- Diane M Santa Maria

Diane M Santa Maria Board Member Spotlight

Diane M. Santa Maria, DRPH, MSN, RN, PHNA-BC,FSA-HM,FAAN
Associate Professor Department of Research

What advice would you give your younger self?

Hang on because it is going to be an unpredictable and exciting ride!

Where is your favorite vacation spot?
Any alpine lake with great views and fresh air. I love the national parks.

What made you want to pursue a career in nursing?
I went into nursing to pursue public health. I wanted to be able to work with communities who were under resourced and underserved to better understand how to design interventions and programs that can help promote healthy decision making. I especially wanted to help adolescents and young adults as they navigate those challenging years.

What book(s) should every nurse read?
Mans Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankel, Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande, When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi, Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brene Brown,  Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg.

What has been your most interesting/surprising outcome while conducting nursing research?
I work with youth experiencing homelessness and unstable housing. While not surprising, I am always taken back by the many ways society discounts these youth. Despite that, they are resilient, resourceful and eager to participate in research as a means of making things a little better for those around them.

What is a fun fact many people may not know about you?
I have gone skydiving to help get over my fear of heights. While it was fun, it didn't work.

What is your Twitter handle?


About Diane
Dean Diane Santa Maria, DrPH, MSN, RN, holds the Jane and Robert Cizik Distinguished Chair and the Huffington Foundation Endowed Chair in Nursing Education Leadership. She is a tenured Associate Professor with expertise in public health nursing, adolescent health, HIV/STI and pregnancy prevention, intervention development, randomized controlled trials, mobile technology, and youth experiencing homelessness. She is also an adjunct faculty member in the Center for Health Promotion and Research at the UTHealth School of Public Health (SPH), where she currently teaches Public Health Nursing and Research Methods.

Dr. Santa Maria has served as the principal investigator and program director on research and demonstration grants on multiple NIH-, CDC-, ACF-, and foundation-funded prevention projects. With wide-ranging experience working in underserved communities in the U.S. and abroad, she currently is conducting HIV prevention and stress reduction research with youth and young adults experiencing homelessness. 

She earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from The Ohio State University School of Nursing and her Master of Science in Nursing from Case Western Reserve University School of Nursing, where she developed measles vaccination initiatives in Kenya and East Cleveland, Ohio, with the Red Cross. Dr. Santa Maria later served as director of community health nursing with the Ho-Chunk Nation’s Indian Health Service in Black River Falls, Wisconsin, and in various capacities for the Medical Institute for Sexual Health in Austin. 

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