Kathryn Daniel believes nurses, who make up the largest segment of medical workers in the United States, are the backbone of the nation’s health care system.

As an associate professor of nursing at The University of Texas at Arlington’s College of Nursing and Health Innovation (CoNHI) and director of the Adult and Gerontologic Nurse Practitioner Programs, Daniel has been involved in the care of older adults for more than 35 years, practicing in geriatric primary care, long-term care and assisted living facilities.

Her body of research in gerontology includes emerging technologies to enhance safety, cardiac rehabilitation, palliative care and an analysis of the present and future needs for nurses.

Since 2015, Daniel has led UTA’s Smart Care program, a collaborative project between the College of Nursing and Health Innovation and the College of Engineering that develops technology to improve the independence, quality of life and health of the elderly and those with disabilities.

Her most current work centers on facilitating healthy aging. Her professional mission, she said, is preparing nurses to care for a rapidly aging population.

“I believe nurse practitioners are vital health care providers who can play an important role in the future health of our populations,” Daniel said. “Through my work and research, I am thrilled to be part of the group building the science of nursing through future nurse practitioners and nurse scientists.”

Her devotion to enhancing the quality of health and nursing has led to her induction to the American Academy of Nursing’s 2019 Class of Fellows.

“It is a great privilege to receive this honor,” she said. “I am incredibly grateful to join such a select group of fellows dedicated to advancing the profession and promoting health care within our communities. Learning, serving and teaching with the support of world-renowned top leaders in the field is incredibly encouraging.”

The Academy comprises distinguished leaders in education, management, practice, policy and research recognized for their extraordinary commitment to the promotion of the public’s health through evidence and innovation. This year’s 231 inductees represent 38 states, the District of Columbia, and 17 countries.

“This is a tremendous distinction, and I’m thrilled to see Dr. Daniel honored by her profession,” said UTA President Vistasp Karbhari. “Kathryn has been at the forefront of research and practice related to aging populations and her work in healthy aging and gerontology with a focus on developing and incorporating assistive technologies is inspiring. I’m doubly proud since she is both an alumna and a faculty member.”

According to the Academy, fellows must commit to

enhancing the quality of health and nursing,promoting healthy aging and human development across the life continuum,reducing health disparities and inequalities,shaping healthy behaviors and environments,integrating mental and physical health, and strengthening the nursing and health delivery system nationally and internationally.

“Induction is a significant milestone in a nurse leader’s career,” said Elizabeth Merwin, dean of CoNHI and an AAN fellow. “The induction is not only an honor, but fellows must also take on a commitment to uphold the organization’s values and dedication to transforming America’s health systems.”

CoNHI is the No. 1 producer of baccalaureate-degreed nurses in Texas and is the largest nursing program of any public institution in the country. CoNHI is ranked No. 56 for master’s degree programs in nursing in the United States, according to U.S. News & World Report. UTA’s doctor of nursing practice program is ranked at No. 84.