January 29, 2024

Mourning the loss of Dr. Claire Fagin and recognizing her impact on the field of nursing

Image of Dr. Claire Fagin Dr. Claire FaginUniversity of Pennsylvania School of Nursing

We want to recognize the significant contributions of Claire M. Fagin, Ph.D., R.N., to the field of nursing and nursing research as we mourn her passing this month at the age of 97. While Dr. Fagin’s tenure at NIH as the first director of children’s programs at the NIH Clinical Center for the National Institute of Mental Health was brief, the list of her accomplishments is long. Dr. Fagin was a nurse, educator, nurse scientist, nursing advocate and one of the first women to lead an Ivy League school, serving as interim president at the University of Pennsylvania in 1993-94. A member of the first generation of nurse scientists, she undertook research to improve patient care and pushed for practitioners to have a science-based education at colleges and universities, pioneering landmark baccalaureate and doctoral programs to raise the bar in education and status of the next generation of clinicians.

Dr. Fagin was a transformational leader who inspired a generation of nurse scientists through her advocacy and by elevating the nursing profession through science and rigor, while also prioritizing the holistic perspective of nurses. As a prominent and trailblazing woman in science, her legacy lives on through the women scientists for which she helped pave the way, and through her influence on the innovative work of nurse scientists supported by the National Institute of Nursing Research and across NIH. 

Monica M. Bertagnolli, M.D.                        
National Institutes of Health    

Shannon N. Zenk, Ph.D., M.P.H., R.N., F.A.A.N.      
National Institute of Nursing Research