Mitchell J. Wharton, PhD, RN, FNP-BC, CNS, an accomplished educator, researcher, and clinician, has been named associate dean for equity and inclusion at the University of Rochester School of Nursing, pending approval by the Office of the Provost.
The appointment of Wharton, an assistant professor of clinical nursing and faculty diversity officer at the school, shatters glass ceilings at the school. When he begins his new duties on a part-time basis on February 1, Wharton will be the first male and the first person from a group underrepresented in nursing to serve at the associate dean level of senior administration.
“I am honored to have the opportunity to serve students and colleagues by leading the mission to enhance equity and inclusive practices within our school,” said Wharton, who will transition to this position full time in July after fulfilling his current clinical and educational responsibilities for the spring semester. “I look forward to engaging members of the School of Nursing and Rochester communities as we work together to thoughtfully and respectfully develop strategies to increase diversity throughout the nursing workforce and academic nursing pipeline.”
Wharton has been an integral figure in the school’s diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts for the past several years. He has been co-chair of the Council for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusiveness since 2018 and the faculty advisor for the student-led Leading with Integrity For Tomorrow (LIFT) program since 2014. He has also been a co-facilitator for the school’s Racial Equity Series, served on the University of Rochester Medical Center’s Executive Committee for Diversity and Inclusion, and served as the School of Nursing’s representative to the Academic Community Engagement Collaborative. He was honored with the School of Nursing’s Mary Dombeck Diversity Enhancement Faculty Awards in 2020.
As associate dean, Wharton will join the UR Nursing senior leadership team, where he will work to more fully integrate issues of diversity and inclusion in all aspects of the school.
“I am thrilled that Mitchell has accepted our offer to be our new associate dean. He brings a lifetime of commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, and I know that his contributions to the school in his new role will exemplify that commitment,” said Dean Kathy Rideout, EdD, PPCNP-BC, FNAP. “I am confident that Mitchell’s thoughtfulness and genuine caring approach will help to lead us forward together.”
A 2013 graduate of the UR Nursing PhD program, Wharton has taught undergraduate and graduate courses at the school and is a member of the Interdisciplinary Sexual Health and HIV Research (INSHHR) group. His research scholarship focuses on identifying asset-based modalities of HIV prevention and health maintenance in marginalized populations by examining the intersections of age, race, sexual identity and behaviors, and human rights.
A 2015 recipient of the school’s Outstanding Scholarly Practitioner Award, he has maintained an active clinical practice in the Center for Perioperative Medicine at Strong Memorial Hospital and a wellness coach for the UR Medicine Center for Employee Wellness.
Wharton is also treasurer of the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care, a guest editor for the Journal of the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care (JANAC), and member of the Rochester Black Nurses Association. In 2020, he was awarded the Civilian Service Award from the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office.
Wharton earned his bachelor’s and master’s degree in the science of nursing from Widener University, and completed a post-doctoral fellowship in HIV epidemiology and prevention sciences at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health.