National leader in health reform named to prestigious chair at College of Nursing

Former dean at UVM to tackle workforce, clinical practice transformation

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Routhier Chair
Photo courtesy of Betty Rambur

KINGSTON, R.I. – JULY 19, 2016 – Betty Rambur said last year that all health professionals must become part of the solution to America’s costly health care system, which ranks 11th among wealthy countries on measures of quality, access, efficiency and equity. Nurses, as the largest health profession, hold a particularly central role.

Rambur, who made those remarks as a Routhier visiting scholar at a conference sponsored by the University of Rhode Island’s College of Nursing, said nurses are uniquely positioned to lead reform and implement change because they are the only health professionals to work with patients in all health care settings, including the patients’ homes.

Her strong remarks on the value of nursing leaders, her outstanding record as an administrator and professor of nursing and health policy at the University of Vermont and her expertise in health policy and finance led URI to appoint Rambur its Routhier Chair of Practice in the College of Nursing.

She joins the faculty at the College of Nursing as the University ramps up its efforts related to the Academic Health Collaborative, which represents a sweeping reorganization of health education and research programs.

“We are very fortunate to have Dr. Rambur join the URI College of Nursing,” said Nursing Dean Barbara Wolfe. “Her longstanding contributions to health policy and transformation of clinical practice are tremendous assets and an ideal fit with the Routhier Endowed Chair. In addition to her scholarship, Dr. Rambur brings an exciting energy and ability to enhance innovative partnerships to improve health care that cuts across disciplines and conventional boundaries.” She succeeds Lynne Dunphy, who held the chair for nine years, but who returned to an academic position in Florida.

The Routhier Endowed Chair of Practice was established in 2007 through a $500,000 gift from the E.J. and V.M. Routhier Foundation to support a nursing faculty member who would focus on workforce and clinical initiatives. Rambur was one of four visiting scholars at the College of Nursing supported by the gift while the University conducted a national search for a nursing leader to fill the position full time.

“I’m delighted to be joining URI in this era of unprecedented transformation of the U.S. health care system, including payment and delivery reform rooted in a keen understanding of broad determinants of individual and societal health,” Rambur said. “URI has set an extraordinary path toward profoundly meaningful impact on not only health care, but health and human flourishing. I am eager to join this community of scholars, teachers, and researchers to advance the mission of intellectual, educational, and service contributions to Rhode Island, the nation, and the world through the work of an inspired academic institution.”

From 2000 to 2009, Rambur was an academic dean at UVM where she led the merger of the School of Nursing and School of Allied Health Science to establish the College of Nursing and Health Sciences. She was also chair of the Department of Nursing at the University of Mary, in Bismarck, N.D. from 1993 to 2000. Possessing a substantive leadership history in health policy and finance, Rambur led the statewide health financing reform effort in North Dakota from 1991 to 1995, which led to omnibus health reform legislation that enhanced access to care.

She is also a member of Vermont’s Green Mountain Care Board. The five-member Board oversees Vermont’s health care system and holds comprehensive regulatory, innovation and evaluation authority over virtually all of health care in Vermont. A quasi-judicial body, the Board is leading the state’s transition from fee-for-service to value-based care as well as other aspects of health reform, with a particular emphasis on population health, reducing disparities and cost containment.

Rambur earned her Ph.D. in nursing from Rush University in Chicago. She maintains an active research program focused on health services, quality, workforce, and ethics. In 2007, her research was honored by Sigma Theta Tau International, a nursing honor society. She is the author of about 50 published articles and numerous invited presentations on her research, health care economics, health policy and reform, and leadership development. In 2015, Springer Publishing released Rambur’s text entitled Health Care Finance, Economics, and Policy for Nurses: A Foundational Guide, designed to explain health care finance, economics, and policy in an easy-to-understand, reader-friendly manner.

Rambur is also an accomplished teacher in classroom and online venues. In May of 2013 she received the UVM Graduate Student Senate Excellence in Teaching Award and in November 2013 she received the prestigious Sloan Consortium Excellence in Online Teaching and Learning Award. Her teaching expertise includes the organization, finance, and policy of health care and evidence-based practice. She will become a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing in October 2016, an honor that recognizes exemplary leadership and accomplishment. Fellows are involved in transforming America’s health system by enhancing the quality of health and nursing and strengthening the health delivery system locally, nationally and internationally