May 11, 2022 – Following a national search, ZRG Partners, a leading search firm backed by private equity firm RFE Investment Partners, has placed Maria Rodriguez Shirey as the next dean of the school of nursing at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She succeeds Doreen Harper, holder of the Fay B. Ireland Endowed Deanship in the school of nursing, who announced her intent to retire in 2021. The search was led and executed by Alan Johns and Barry Vines. “Dr. Shirey’s work within the university, the community, and the world at large is a testament to her abilities to lead this ever-growing school,” said Pam Benoit, provost. “We are confident that she will continue to propel the world-class academic, research, and clinical enterprises in the school of nursing.”
“As a health promoting university, it is essential that our leadership embraces the challenges of advocacy for local and global well-being, and we are fortunate to have a demonstrated champion in Dr. Shirey,” said Ray Watts, president. Dr. Benoit also commended the search committee, led by health professions dean Andrew Butler, for its success in identifying a dynamic, experienced and visionary candidate.
Dr. Shirey is the associate dean for clinical and global partnerships and inaugural holder of UAB’s Jane H. Brock – Florence Nightingale Endowed Professorship in Nursing. A tenured professor of nursing at UAB since 2013, she is board certified in advanced nursing executive practice and healthcare management. “I have been privileged to work with and among the nursing faculty, staff, and students at UAB for nearly a decade, and I am ready to build on our academic, clinical, and research excellence and nurture an environment for developing nurse leaders that is welcoming and inclusive,” Dr. Shirey said.
Dr. Shirey, who previously chaired the SON Department of acute, chronic, and continuing care, has strategic, financial, human resources, and operational responsibility for the school’s multiple community partnerships, the faculty practice enterprise, and the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) Collaborating Center for International Nursing.
Dr. Shirey also has held several other administrative leadership positions at the school, including as leader of its diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. Most notably in the clinical realm, she was founding director for the nurse-led Heart Failure Transitional Care Services for Adults Clinic in UAB Hospital in 2014 and continues to consult with its executive leadership. Her current roles include co-leadership of philanthropic grant processes for community-based projects in the school and interim co-director of the PAHO/WHO Collaborating Center for International Nursing.
Dr. Shirey is a senior scientist in two university-wide centers — the Minority Health & Health Disparities Research Center and the Center for Outcomes and Effectiveness Research. She also serves on the leadership committee of Live HealthSmart Alabama.
ZRG, founded in 1999, is a progressive mid-sized global executive search firm and one of the fastest growing in the search industry. It provides a full suite of executive, middle-management, and customized search solutions through its offices in North America, Europe, South America, and Asia. The firm finds leaders across a broad spectrum of business markets, including aerospace, consumer, education, healthcare services and solutions, industrial, life sciences, non-profit, private equity and venture capital, and technology.
With 30 years of higher education and healthcare leadership experience, Mr. Johns is an advisor, consultant, and recruiter for public and private universities, colleges, healthcare systems, hospitals, cancer centers, and their associated professional organizations. His clients span the spectrum of academic medicine and health sciences, healthcare, and all of academia. He recruits CEOs, CFOs, CMOs, administrators, deans, department chairs, endowed chairs, research scholars, and program faculty,
Mr. Johns leads the academic healthcare and research practice within ZRG’s broader healthcare practice. His areas of expertise are healthcare, academic health sciences (schools of medicine, nursing, dentistry, pharmacy, health professions, and public health), general academia, and cancer center administration and research.
Mr. Vines is a managing director in the firm’s Atlanta office and is a senior member of the global healthcare services and solutions practice. He is also a senior member of ZRG’s higher education practice. His areas of expertise include healthcare, higher education, and technology.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media