Jun 05, 2024

Susan Reinhard to Retire from AARP, Embrace New Roles

Photo of Susan Reinhard, PhD, RN, FAAN

Dear colleagues:

I am excited to share some personal news.

After 17 years as senior vice president and director of the AARP Public Policy Institute (PPI) and chief strategist of the Center to Champion Nursing in America (CCNA), an initiative of AARP Foundation, AARP and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation that runs the Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action, I plan to pursue new paths in my lifelong commitment to helping people lead their healthiest lives. I will retire from AARP this July.

I will say more about that, but first I want to assure you that our important work will continue and explain how.

I leave the Campaign for Action, to which you have contributed so much, in strong hands. Our strategic advisors, led by Antonia Villarruel, PhD, RN, FAAN, professor and Margaret Bond Simon Dean of Nursing at the University of Pennsylvania, remain in the place. They have been with us many years and are deeply knowledgeable about the Campaign. Karen Drenkard, PhD, RN, FAAN, will continue her role as chief nursing advisor, and Deborah Stamps, EdD, RN, FAAN, as chief equity through nursing advisor.

In addition, we have a strong and experienced leadership team at CCNA, whom many of you know. Jennifer Peed is managing director, Winifred Quinn is director of nursing workforce and policy, and Mary Boyle is director of communications. I have great confidence in this team and hope that you will also. We have important work coming up.

We look forward to announcing soon the  2024 Health Equity and Nursing Innovations Fund awardees, as well as highlighting the work of past grant recipients. This year, we will award grants for innovative solutions to strengthen and diversify the nursing workforce, expand nurse recruitment and retention strategies, and create and sustain healthy work environments. Our learning collaboratives and mentor training work will continue, and in September, we will announce the recipients of the 2024 Equity-Minded Nurse Awards Program, co-sponsored by national nursing organizations.

We are also thrilled this year to have brought AARP to the table with The DAISY Foundation to urge consumers and family caregivers to show gratitude to nurses with a DAISY award nomination. For AARP, with its long history of investing in nursing to assure that all Americans have access to a highly skilled nurse, this collaboration is key to championing a robust nursing workforce as essential for the care of older adults and their families.

It has been my great honor to work with you over these past years as we have made huge strides in implementing the work of two National Academy of Medicine reports on the future of nursing.

Consider just a few of the milestones you have helped accomplish:

  • Forty Action Coalitions remain active and robust. Over the course of 13 years, Action Coalitions have leveraged the AARP and RWJF brands to raise more than $130 million to help achieve goals established by the 2010 Institute of Medicine’s Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health and the 2021 National Academy of Medicine’s Future of Nursing 2020-2030: Charting a Path to Health Equity reports.
  • Twenty-seven states and the District of Columbia now allow nurse practitioners to provide care to the full extent of their training and education, giving 98 million people better access to care.
  • Nurses are leading throughout the nation to improve the health of our communities.
  • Diversity in nursing has improved, though we know there is more to do.
  • We have made tremendous gains in advancing nursing education, tripling the number of RN-to-BSN graduates between 2009 and 2017.
  • And, most importantly for our next phase of work, we have moved beyond nursing. Our Champions for Health Equity through Nursing Coalition is comprised of the nation’s leading nursing, business, consumer, and health professional organizations. Members include corporate giants such as Amazon, Minute Clinic/A Division of CVS Health, and United Health Group, who are committed to helping nurses leading to advance health equity.
  • View our full list of accomplishments on our timeline.

I could not be more proud and grateful for your contributions to making this happen.

While I am stepping down from my SVP role at AARP, I will remain connected to nursing and health care. I will be a visiting professor for the Betty Irene Moore Fellowship for Nurse Leaders and Innovators at the University of California, Davis. I am excited to work with post-doctoral nursing fellows on shaping and advancing health policy in their fields and serving on boards. As the incoming Chair of the RWJBarnabas Health Board of Trustees, I will be in a leadership position to oversee the largest, most comprehensive academic health care system in New Jersey. I will also, of course, remain committed to the Campaign as its chief strategist emeritus and member of our new Health Equity through Nursing Volunteer Ambassador program.

Thank you for your partnership, collaboration, volunteerism, and tireless work as we have harnessed the power of nursing to build a healthier America. As I enter this next phase of my career, I look forward to maintaining our connection.

Best to all,

Susan C. Reinhard, RN, PhD, FAAN
Senior Vice President and Director
AARP Public Policy Institute and
Chief Strategist, Center to Champion Nursing in America
and Family Caregiving Initiatives