Marla Salmon



Marla E. Salmon has dedicated her career to strengthening nursing’s contributions to the health and wellbeing of people around the world. Rooted in her commitment to health equity and social justice, Dr. Salmon’s leadership has spanned sectors, disciplines, national boundaries, and professional roles.  Her focus on ensuring a diverse, capable, and transformative nursing workforce runs throughout her work, though most prominently through her service as Director of the Division of Nursing of the US Department of Health and Human Services, and Dean of Schools of Nursing at Emory University and the University of Washington Dr. Salmon purposeful, strategic, and innovative leader who is known globally for her expertise and impact on policymaking and workforce capacity building. While at Emory, she founded the Lillian Carter Center for International Nursing (LCCIN) with the support of President Carter. There, she launched a series of landmark initiatives involving government chief nursing and midwifery officers and their key national policy partners from over 110 countries. This unique leadership development model has informed subsequent work by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Council of Nurses (ICN).

This career-long theme of advancing health care and the profession through policy leadership roles was also evident in her service as member of the Clinton White House Taskforce on Healthcare Reform, Chair of the National Advisory Committee on Nursing Education and Practice, and WHO’s Global Advisory Group on Nursing and Midwifery. Dr. Salmon was instrumental in the development of innovative nursing workforce policies, models and programs. Her recent work focusing on public-private sector investment in nursing and midwifery enterprise to strengthen health systems and empower women moves this trajectory forward and has informed initiatives at the National Academy of Medicine, the World Bank, and in the gender-lens investment communities.

Dr. Salmon’s current work as professor of nursing and global health, and adjunct professor of public affairs at the University of Washington continues to inspire other. She serves as a role model and mentor for nurses’ engagement in key governing boards and advisory groups nationally and globally. Her expertise in this work draws from her past experiences as a member of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Board of Trustees and governing boards of the American Academy of Nursing, the American Public Health Association, the National Center for Healthcare Leadership, and Sigma Theta Tau, International. Dr. Salmon currently serves on the boards of Grifols, SA (a multi-national biopharmaceutical firm) and IESAbroad, Inc (an international educational consortium), and is a member of the Health and Medicine Committee of National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine.

Dr. Salmon earned her doctorate from the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health and holds a master’s degree in nursing and undergraduate degrees in nursing and political science from the University of Portland. She received honorary doctorates from the University of Nebraska and University of Portland. She was AAN/ANA/ANF/IOM Distinguished Nurse Scholar-in-Residence,  Fulbright Scholar at the University of Cologne in Germany, Hubert H. Humphrey Policy Fellow, and aW.K. Kellogg National Leadership Fellow. Dr. Salmon is the recipient of numerous honors and awards. The honor she treasures most is her family, in particular her husband, Jerry, and her children, Jessica and Matthew, and their families.