Starts This Fall
Zenk Selected as Next NINR Director
On July 1, NIH director Dr. Francis Collins announced that he selected Dr. Shannon Zenk as the next director of the National Institute of Nursing Research.
A registered nurse and leading nurse researcher, Zenk is currently nursing collegiate professor in the department of population health nursing science at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) College of Nursing and a fellow at the UIC Institute for Health Research and Policy. She is expected to begin her new role as NINR director in early fall.
“Dr. Zenk’s diverse and original research experience paired with her expertise as a nurse educator make her an ideal choice to lead NIH’s efforts in nursing science,” said Collins.
As NINR director, Zenk will oversee NINR’s science that seeks to improve the lives of individuals and families living with illness and to develop personalized strategies to maximize health and well-being at all stages of life and across diverse populations and settings.
Zenk’s research focuses on social inequities and health with a goal of identifying effective, multi-level approaches to improve health and eliminate racial/ethnic and socioeconomic health disparities.
Her research portfolio also includes NIH-supported work into urban food environments, community health solutions and veterans’ health.
Through pioneering research on the built environment and food deserts, Zenk and her colleagues helped bring national attention to the problem of inadequate access to healthful foods in low-income and black neighborhoods.
Zenk was elected as a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing in 2013 and was inducted into the International Nurse Researchers Hall of Fame in 2019. She has spent time as a visiting scholar in Rwanda and Australia.
She earned her bachelor’s in nursing, magna cum laude, from Illinois Wesleyan University; her master’s degrees in public health nursing and community health sciences from UIC; and her doctorate in health behavior and health education from the University of Michigan.
Upon Zenk’s arrival at NIH, current NINR acting director Dr. Tara Schwetz will continue in her role as NIH associate deputy director.