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Professor Gina Bryan named to American Academy of Nursing’s 2019 class of fellows

June 24, 2019 By Jennifer Garrett
Photo: Gina Bryan in the lobby of the nursing building.

School of Nursing Assistant Professor Gina Bryan directs the Psychiatric Mental Health Care Certificate program. Photo by Ruthie Hauge Photography

The American Academy of Nursing named Gina Bryan, a professor at the University of Wisconsin–Madison School of Nursing and a leading state and national policy expert on opioids and addiction, to its 2019 fellows class.

Fellowship in the academy is one of nursing’s highest honors and is reserved for nurses who demonstrate sustained and significant impact on health and wellbeing as well as the profession.

Bryan, a psychiatric advanced practice nurse, directs the School of Nursing’s post-graduate psychiatric nurse certificate program as well as the psychiatric mental health track of the Doctor of Nursing practice degree program. She teaches in both graduate and undergraduate programs at the School of Nursing and in the School of Pharmacy.

In addition, Beth Houlahan, senior vice president and chief nurse executive, has been selected as a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing. Houlahan, joined UW Health in 2011, is accountable for nursing practice across all of UW Health, including inpatient, ambulatory and procedural care.

Throughout her career Bryan has worked to expand access to mental health care, particularly by arguing for the removal of legal barriers that limit advanced nurses from practicing to the full extent of their education and licensure. These legal restrictions prevent advanced practice nurses from playing a bigger role in meeting mental health needs in Wisconsin.

Bryan has also secured grants to fund programs to expand opioid recovery services in underserved areas, to train students on addiction detection strategies, and to support faculty recruitment and financial aid for graduate students pursuing careers in psychiatric nursing.

“In addition to the quality of her direct instruction and mentoring as a faculty member at the School of Nursing, Dr. Bryan exemplifies the role of a nurse leader whose work improves health access and outcomes,” says Linda D. Scott, dean and professor of the School of Nursing.

Bryan is a national expert on medical and nursing ethics and serves on the National Academy of Science, Engineering and Medicine’s committee reviewing the federal Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act.

“Her advocacy and voice representing nursing are critical to conversations that improve mental health. Dr. Bryan’s significant contributions to the field in practice, education, and policy are worthy of induction to the academy, which is our profession’s highest honor.”

Bryan is among 231 new fellows, who will be inducted at the academy’s annual policy conference in October. The academy is comprised of more than 2,600 nurses working in education, management, practice, policy and research. To learn more about the American Academy of Nursing and the 2019 policy conference, visit