Internationally-renowned nurse to speak at Emory Nursing School Commencement, receive honorary degree

By Andy Goodell | Woodruff Health Sciences Center | April 24, 2019

The Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing is proud to announce that Patricia Flatley Brennan, PhD, RN, will serve as Commencement 2019 speaker at the School’s May 13 diploma ceremony. She will also receive an Emory University Honorary Degree at the Emory University Commencement Ceremony that same day. Honorary degrees from Emory recognize those who reach achievement of the highest distinction in a field of learning, the arts, the professions or public service.  

Dr. Brennan is the director of the National Library of Medicine (NLM), a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The NLM is the world’s largest biomedical library and producer of digital information services used by scientists, health professionals and members of the public worldwide.

“We are beyond thrilled that Emory University is recognizing a nurse leader with an honorary degree at this year’s Commencement,” says Linda McCauley, PhD, RN, FAAN, FAAOHN, dean of the Emory School of Nursing. “Dr. Brennan’s pioneering career has demonstrated the importance of information technology as a uniting force for improving clinical care and patient outcomes. Having her speak to our graduates is an absolute honor.” 

Since assuming the NLM directorship in August of 2016, Dr. Brennan has worked extensively to bring the institution to national and international prominence. Dr. Brennan leveraged the NLM’s heavily-used data and information resources to this end. She also utilized intramural and extramural research, as well as training programs to accelerate data-driven discovery.

Dr. Brennan has held numerous leadership positions throughout her career. A past president of the American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA), Dr. Brennan is also a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing (AAN) (1991), the American College of Medical Informatics (ACMI) (1993) and the New York Academy of Medicine (NYAM). Dr. Brennan was elected to the National Academy of Medicine (Institute of Medicine) in 2002.