In the world of nursing leadership, Angela Clark (’05, ’07) stands as a beacon of inspiration and change.
Clark’s passion for nursing was ignited by personal experiences. When she cared for her grandmother during her senior year of high school, she witnessed the transformative power of around-the-clock care and realized the difference she could make.
Later, an accident involving her brother compelled her to view nursing from the perspective of a patient’s loved one, reinforcing her dedication to the profession and emphasizing the pivotal role nurses play in driving positive outcomes.
Clark’s journey in nursing began at Idaho State University.
“I did my first year of college at Idaho State to save money while completing prereqs,” said Clark. “In January I met with an academic counselor, and he mentioned that since I had a 4.0 I was eligible for scholarships at other schools. With his support, I applied to the University of Tennessee.”
That August, Clark arrived in Knoxville for the first time with two suitcases.
“My roommate gave me a warm Tennessee welcome,” said Clark. “She walked me all over campus while teaching me ‘Rocky Top’ and other football chants, introduced me to sorority life, and made sure that I wore the right shade of orange for my first football game.”
Five weeks into Clark’s time at UT, she watched in horror as the atrocities of 9/11 unfolded.
“I felt so far from home, but I also had everything I needed,” said Clark. “I was safe and supported. I learned a lot about myself in my first year at Tennessee. As hard as it was to move away from the familiarness of Idaho, the reward was so great.”
Clark went on to complete her BSN and MSN at UT, graduating summa cum laude and receiving the Dean’s Award. She credits her experience of coming to a new place without knowing anyone as the reason she has been able to relocate throughout the years. She has spent time in North Carolina, Cincinnati, Singapore, and now St. Louis.
“My time at UT also helped shape my perspective on health, wellness, and gratitude,” Clark said. “We have so many resources in this country, but our outcomes are not always the best. There is a lot of opportunity in health care, and nursing is uniquely situation to lead these changes. I have more motivation than ever to drive our impact.”
After completing her master’s degree, Clark was invited to become an instructor in the College of Nuring’s community health program. This opportunity marked the beginning of her journey into academia.
During Clark’s time at UT, Tami Wyatt—formerly a nurse educator and now the associate dean of research—encouraged her to pursue a PhD.
Clark explored new horizons, eventually obtaining a PhD and taking on leadership positions at institutions such as the University of Cincinnati College of Nursing. In May 2022, she was appointed the Maxine Clark and Bob Fox President of Barnes–Jewish College School of Nursing.
Clark’s research focuses on development of multiple educational interventions to support harm reduction efforts related to the opioid epidemic, reduce stigma against people with substance use disorders, and increase knowledge and implementation of evidence-based best practices for substance abuse treatment.
When Clark is feeling tired or overwhelmed, she thinks back to an experience she had at a Narcan distribution program for opioid overdose prevention.
“I conducted a training at an inpatient addiction treatment center,” said Clark. “After the training, a young man came up to me with tears in his eyes and thanked me for caring. While wiping away his tears, he said, ‘If only I’d had this information last week, I would’ve been able save my twin brother.’”
The encounter reinforced Clark’s determination to innovate using technology to disseminate lifesaving information more efficiently, ensuring that lack of education is never an excuse for lives lost.
“I have to work faster, harder—there has to be a better way,” said Clark. “Our ability to advance access to care and health equity keeps me going. I am also inspired to invest in and sponsor the next generation of the nursing workforce.”
Clark is a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing. She was named the 2020 Ohio Nurse of the Year by the March of Dimes and has completed externships at the National Institutes of Health and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. She is a member of the inaugural class of Coldiron Fellows at Case Western Reserve University, a national and international group of senior nurse executives and senior leaders in academia including deans, associate deans, executive directors, certified nurse educators, and chief nursing officers.
“If you want to see impact, invest in nursing,” said Clark. “Our nursing lens and the ability to form partnerships and become integrated in our communities will transform our nation’s health outcomes.”
Kara Clark (865-974 9498, email@example.com)