Outgoing SONHS Dean honored with University of Miami President’s Medal

Dean Nilda (Nena) Peragallo Montano, who fostered monumental growth and impressive improvement during her 13 years at the helm of the School of Nursing and Health Studies, was honored with the University of Miami President’s Medal at the fall commencement ceremony on December 15, 2016.
Outgoing SONHS Dean honored with University of Miami President’s Medal

Peragallo announced earlier this year that she would retire from the University of Miami at the end of the Fall 2016 semester. Dr. Peragallo Montano will become dean of the School of Nursing at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The President’s Medal was established by then-UM President Donna Shalala in 2003 as a way to honor individuals for outstanding service to the university community, for leadership and distinguished accomplishments in their fields of expertise, and for contributions to society. Past recipients include actor Michael J. Fox, for his commitment to raising awareness and research funding for Parkinson’s Disease, and several university leaders for their longstanding service to the University of Miami community.

President Frenk presented the Dean with the prestigious medal at the Watsco Center before an assembled crowd of graduates from all UM’s schools and colleges, their families, friends, faculty, staff, and members of the university leadership. Immediately preceding the medal presentation, UM executive vice president and provost Thomas LeBlanc read a citation in which he praised Dean Peragallo Montano’s leadership and the SONHS’ significant accomplishments during her years as Dean from 2003 through 2016. Highlights of these achievements include: 

    • Led campaign that raised $12 million to complete fundraising for construction of the M. Christine Schwartz Center for Nursing Education, the 53,000-square foot, fully equipped state-of-the-art facility inaugurated in 2006 that currently houses the UM SONHS
    • Spearheaded conceptualization, fundraising and planning of $19 million, five-story, 41,000-square-foot cutting-edge Simulation Hospital on UM Coral Gables Campus adjacent to the UM SONHS. This revolutionary facility’s expected completion date is summer of 2017.
    • Led redesign of SONHS curriculum and considerable expansion of degree offerings to address national nursing shortage, transformed U.S. healthcare system and shifting patient demographic landscape
    • Curricular expansions included accelerated bachelor of science in nursing, Doctor of Nursing Practice, South Florida’s first Bachelor of Science in Public Health, and first B.S.N. to D.N.P. nurse anesthesia track degree in the state of Florida
    • Highest National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX) passing rates in school history
    • School enrollment has tripled since 2003.
    • School achieved national academic ranking, with MSN program currently ranked at #40 (increase of 21 slots over one year) and DNP at #38 in the nation in U.S. News & World Report’s 2017 “Best Graduate Schools” issue.
    • School achieved national research ranking – first in Florida and 18th nationwide for NIH funding among nursing schools.
    • In 2007, launched the Center of Excellence for Health Disparities Research: El Centro,first P60 grant award funded to a nursing school by the National Institutes of Health/National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities. El Centro was renewed by the NIH/NIMHD for the 2012-2015 funding cycle, and Dean Peragallo Montano served as Principal Investigator until 2015.
    • Achieved an international identity for the school by founding the global studies exchange program and successfully achieving designation as a Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization-designated Collaborating Centre, an elite recognition and one of only 10 such nursing-related centers in the U.S.
    • Led efforts that have secured extensive financial support for students in the form of numerous scholarships and grants from local and national foundations, including the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Florman Family Foundation, the Jonas Center for Nursing and Veterans Health Care, and the Florida Blue Foundation.