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Haifa Samra Named Chair of Nursing at USD

Haifa Samra Haifa Abou Samra is the new chair of the nursing department at the University of South Dakota.

Haifa Abou Samra, Ph.D., has been named chair of the Department of Nursing at the University of South Dakota.

Samra has been at USD since 2014, and previously served as associate chair of research and evidence-based practice in the nursing department. She has also served as interim chair of the nursing department since June, 2016.

“Dr. Samra is an exceptional nurse educator, and we are thrilled that she will lead the development of new nurses at USD,” said Michael Lawler, dean of the School of Health Sciences.

The school of nursing is one of 10 different health care departments in the School of Health Sciences. USD nursing offers four-year, BSN degrees at four of the five USD nursing campuses across the state. The program also offers an online RN-BSN degree.

Dr. Samra earned a Ph.D. in biological sciences and a master’s degree in nursing from South Dakota State University, and a bachelor’s degree in nursing from American University, Beirut, Lebanon. She is internationally recognized for her prolific, meaningful research on neonatal care, children’s health, and rural health.

In 2016, Samra received the Faculty Research Achievement Award from USD’s School of Health Sciences, and also received the Distinguished Service Award from the South Dakota Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

Download a photo: Haifa Abou Samra is the new chair of the nursing department at the University of South Dakota.


USD’s School of Health Sciences is a national leader in interprofessional health sciences education. South Dakota’s comprehensive School of Health Sciences develops scholars, practitioners and leaders in health and human services, including addiction counselors, dental hygienists, health science practitioners, medical laboratory scientists, nurses, occupational therapists, physical therapists, physician assistants, public health practitioners and social workers.


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 202 undergraduate and 84 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, Knudson School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 16:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 18 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.