Dr. Lachel Story Named Dean of USM’s College of Nursing and Health Professions
Mon, 04/27/2020 - 14:28pm | By: Kendra Ablaza
Dr. Lachel Story, a long-time faculty member and administrator within The University of Southern Mississippi’s College of Nursing and Health Professions, has been selected to lead the college as its next dean. Dr. Story will officially begin the role on July 1, pending the approval of the State Institutions of Higher Learning’s Board of Trustees.
Dr. Story began her career as a registered nurse before joining USM in 2004. She is a faculty member within the college’s School of Leadership and Advanced Nursing Practice. Dr. Story’s research involves working with interdisciplinary teams and communities to create change using a community-based participatory research approach. She currently serves as the college’s associate dean for research and graduate education.
“As a nurse, scholar, educator, administrator, and forward-thinking leader, Dr. Lachel Story is extraordinarily well-suited to be the College of Nursing and Health Professions’ next dean,” said Steven Moser, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs. “Her collaborative and innovative approach to nursing education, research and community health makes her just the right fit for this leadership role as the university continues to build and sustain a culture of academic excellence.”
Along with teaching and research, Dr. Story’s roles within the college have included assistant dean for research and evaluation and Ph.D. program director. She is also regularly interviewed for news and media reports, offering commentary as a nursing and health expert.
“I consider it an honor and privilege to serve The University of Southern Mississippi,” Dr. Story said. “Southern Miss and the college has afforded me the opportunity to grow academically and professionally through my years at the institution. Serving as Dean would position me to give back by advancing the college in becoming a model of excellence in health professions education, research, and service that improves the health of the state, region, and beyond.”
The college houses degree programs such as nursing, health sciences, athletic training, recreation, public health, speech and hearing sciences and speech pathology and audiology. It also offers certificate programs for specialization as a family nurse practitioner, family psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner or psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner.
The college’s Master of Science in Nursing and Doctor of Nursing Practice programs are ranked as the best in Mississippi by U.S. News & World Report based on factors such as research activity, student-faculty ratio, faculty credentials and number of faculty active in nursing practice.
Dr. Story said her goal is to improve the overall health of Mississippians by developing and retaining first-class health professional graduates in the state and conducting impactful research.
“The current health care and education landscape offers several opportunities for us to leverage our expertise and maximize our potential,” Dr. Story said. “While there are many priorities for the years to come, I want to initially focus on fostering a culture of collaboration among the college’s health professions, disciplines across the University, and our community; advance the real-world preparation and success of our students and graduates; grow distinct programs with industry-focused curriculum; promote high-quality, innovative research that improves the health of our state and region; and increase external relations to improve visibility and recognition of the college and its programs.”
Dr. Story, a native of Magee, Mississippi, earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing from USM and a Ph.D. in nursing research from University of Mississippi Medical Center. She is a fellow of the Harvard University Graduate School of Education Higher Education Management Development Program as well as a fellow of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, Leadership for Academic Nursing Program.