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Samra to Lead USD's School of Health Sciences

Haifa Abou Samra headshot Haifa Abou Samra has been named the new dean of the USD School of Health Sciences.

VERMILLION, S.D. – Haifa Abou Samra, R.N., M.S., Ph.D., has been named the new dean of the University of South Dakota School of Health Sciences. With 10 professional departments and more than 2,400 students, the School of Health Sciences is one of the largest and fastest growing schools at USD.

Samra’s service to USD began in 2014 when she accepted the position as associate chair of research for nursing. In 2016, she was appointed chair of the nursing department.

In addition to her USD leadership roles, Samra has held leadership positions in the United States and abroad, including on the editorial board of “The Journal for Perinatal and Neonatal Nursing,” section editor for “Advances in Neonatal Care,” member of the Mother Child Expert panel for the American Academy of Nursing, and as a member of the national Healthcare and Public Health Sector Coordinating Council’s Cybersecurity Task Force, where she works closely with the federal government’s departments of Homeland Security and Health and Human Services.

Samra has led community and research projects, has more than 40 publications and has been awarded more than $2 million in funding. She has received state and national recognition for her scholarly and service activities. In 2017, she was inducted as a fellow in the American Academy of Nursing.

Samra earned a B.S. degree in nursing from the American University of Beirut. Her graduate degrees include an M.S. of Nursing Science, M.S. of Management, and a Ph.D. in Biological Sciences from South Dakota State University. In 2017, she completed the Leadership for Executives program from the Harvard Business School.

“I am very excited and honored to lead a fine team of faculty and staff who do great work here at the School of Health Sciences and who are committed to its longstanding tradition of academic excellence,” Samra said. “I am also very fortunate to be working with outstanding departmental leadership and university administrators.”

“We are fortunate to have Dr. Samra in this important position,” said Dr. Mary Nettleman, vice president of health affairs and dean of the medical school at USD. “Not only is she highly qualified, she is dedicated to the success of the School of Health Sciences and to the wonderful people who work and study there.”


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.


Hanna DeLange
USD News