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A Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill, Sr. Rosemary Donley, PhD, APRN, FAAN, came to Duquesne University School of Nursing in 2009, attracted by its commitment to social justice. She holds the Jacques Laval Chair for Justice for Vulnerable Populations in the School of Nursing.

Each year, she spearheads the McGinley-Rice symposium on justice for vulnerable populations, now in its eleventh year. These national symposia, The Face of the Elderly; The Face of the Immigrant, The Face of the Veteran, The Face of the Child, The Face of the Person with Mental Illness, The Face of the Person who has Experienced Violence, Person with a Disability, The Face of the Person with an Addiction, The Face of the Person who has been Trafficked, and The Face of the Person who is Homeless, awaken awareness and stimulate action on behalf of justice. A comprehensive description of these symposia can be found at In October 22-23, 2020, the School of Nursing will present the Face of the Person who is Hungry Sr. Rosemary also teaches graduate seminars in health policy and social justice.

Early in Sr. Rosemary's career, she was selected as a Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellow where she honed her knowledge and skill in health policy on Capitol Hill. In 1979, Sr. Rosemary became Dean of Nursing at The Catholic University of America, where--with a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation--she developed A Teaching Nursing Home. She also received a Nursing Research Emphasis Grant from the Division of Nursing. Seven years later, she was named Executive Vice President of CUA. She served as the chief operating office of the university for 11 years. She then completed a post-master's certificate in primary care and became a certified adult nurse practitioner.

Returning to full-time teaching and research, she served as the project director on four federally funded grants ($3.2 million dollars) to educate graduate nursing students, especially minority nurses, to work with vulnerable populations. With her colleagues, she prepared clinical specialists in community/public health nursing, immigrant, refugee and global health, and blended role practitioners, family nurse practitioners and community/public health specialists. She was also instrumental in educating nurses to be teachers of community/public health. Her research has been focused on assisting vulnerable populations, the aged and people with end stage renal disease, and in health policy.

Sr. Rosemary has positively influenced the nursing discipline and the health of our citizens by serving as President of the National League for Nursing and Sigma International Honor Society of Nursing. She also served as Senior Editor of The Journal of Nursing Scholarship. She has authored over 130 publications and chapters in books and has presented papers throughout the United States, Kenya, Spain, The People's Republic of China, Puerto Rico, the Philippines, Guam, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Brazil, Argentina, Germany, Israel, Canada, Russia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia. She has worked extensively with the U.S. Army and Navy Medical Commands; served on the peer review panel of Tri-Service Nursing Research group and as a research panelist for the Nursing Research Initiative Program at the Office of Research and Development, Veterans Administration. Sr. Rosemary was a member of the Department of Veterans Affairs' Special Medical Advisory Group (SMAG). She currently serves on the Catholic Youth Association's Board of Directors and as chair of CGFNS.

She has been honored with membership in the Institute of Medicine and the American Academy of Nursing. She is the recipient of seven honorary degrees and the Nell J. Watts Lifetime Achievement in Nursing Award. She was named a living legend by the Academy of Nursing, awarded the Elizabeth Seton Medal from Seton Hill University and the Immaculata Medal from Immaculata University. She was also named a Leading Lady, an Irish American, and a Cameo of Caring. Recently, she was named a Distinguished Daughter of Pennsylvania by Governor Wolf.


PhD, Higher Ed / Public Health, University of Pittsburgh, 1972
MNEd, Medical Nursing, University of Pittsburgh, 1966
BSN, Nursing, St. Louis University, 1963
Diploma, Nursing, Pittsburgh Hospital, 1961
Certificate, Primary Care, The Catholic University of America, 1998


  • Vulnerable populations
  • Social justice
  • Health policy
  • Nursing education
  • Chronic illness in adults

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The McGinley-Rice symposiums: The Face of the Person who is Vulnerable.  For 14 years, I have planned, implemented and evaluated the symposiums.  The symposium is endowed by the by the generous support of the Rita M. McGinley Foundation, John R. McGinley and the John R. McGinley, Jr., Esq. family and each year, I raise funds from sponsors. Since 2019, I have raised. $241,750. 
Co-PI (Jan 2019-December 2022).  The lived experience of nurses caring for adult family members with cancer. (PI Eileen Caufield;  Co-PIs Agnes Burkhard, Eileen Sarsfield, and Sr. Rosemary Donley). Marymount. University Faculty Development Fund, 
Funded $3,000.

Co-PI (summer 2018-2021).  Accounts of care partnerships with wounded, ill or injured service members (PI, Patricia Watts Kelley, PhD), Tri-Service Nursing Research Program. N18-B06. $484,981 (10%).

Co-PI (May 15, 2018-May 15, 2019).  Raising Awareness of Human Trafficking among the Public and Research Communities. (Co-PI David Nofti, MLS, AHP. The Charles Henry Leach II Funded, $2,526. 

Donley, R. (2024,in press). The DNP graduate’s role in health policy and advocacy. In ‘Michael’ Dreher, Mary Ellen Smith Glasgow, Michael Dahnke, and Valerie T. Cotter (Eds). DNP Role Development for Doctoral Advanced Nursing Practice., Springer

Donley, R. (2024, in press). Global health, nursing, policy, and social justice. In R. Kearney-Nunnery (Ed.)., Advancing your practice: Concepts of professional nursing (8th ed., pp.       ). F.A. Davis.

Donley, R. (Fall, 2023). Tackling access, cost and quality to improve patient care.  Health Care Progress

Donley, R. (18 August 2021).  Cracking the glass ceiling. Nursing Centered.

Donley, R. & Brooks, J (2021, Fall). Homelessness and COVID-19.  Journal of Health and Human Experience,7 (2), 80-93

Donley, R. & Sandford, K. (2020, Dec) COVID19: Implications for Nursing Education and Leadership. CHAUSAPODCAST, Mo. St. Louis

Donley, R. (2020, Fall). Reshaping the future of nursing education. Health Care Progress, 13-18.

Donley, R.
 (2019). The boys on the porch: Life among previously homeless men. In M. deChesnay & B. Anderson. Caring for the Vulnerable (5th Ed., pp. 125-134). Boston, MA: Jones & Bartlett.

Donley, R. (2019). Healthcare reform and global issues. In R. Kearney-Nuttering (ED.). Advancing Your Practice: Concepts of Professional Nursing, 7th Ed., (pp. 312-322). Philadelphia, PA: F.A. Davis.

Donley. R., & Kiraly, C. (2019). Protecting the young from human trafficking. Health Progress, July-August, 48-54.

Donley, R., & Kiraly, C. (2019). The political and policy culture in Washington DC. In R. Zoucha (Ed.). Annual Review of Nursing Research, 37, 173-192.

Colbert, A. M., & Donley, R. (2018). Social justice and forensic nursing. Journal of Forensic Nursing, 14(2), 51-52.

Donley, R. (2018). Helping seniors manage medicines and costs. Health Progress. March-April Issue, 10-14.

Donley, R. (2018). Improving care against all odds. Extraordinary Healers, 12, 32-35.

Donley, R. (2017). Raise your voices for healthcare. Imprint, 64(5), 24-27.

Donley, R., & Kiraly, C. (2017). The DNP prepared nurse's role in health policy and advocacy. In M. E. Glasgow & M. Dreyer (Eds.), Role development for doctoral advanced nursing practice (pp. 415-426). New York, NY: Springer Publishing Company.

Kelley, P. W., Kenny, D., & Donley, R. (2017). Experiences of vulnerability and uncertainty during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars: Stories of wounded service members and the nurses who cared for them. Nursing Outlook, 65(5, Supplement), S71-S80.

Donley, R. (2016). Exploring social justice for vulnerable populations: The face of the person with mental illness. Journal Horizonte De Enfermeria, 27(1), 59-71.

Donley, R. (2016). Healthcare reform and global issues. In R. Kearney-Nuttering (Ed.), Advancing Your Practice: Concepts of Professional Nursing, (p.p.304-313). Philadelphia, PA: F.A. Davis.

Jones, T., Lockhart, J. S., Mendelsohn-Victor, K. E., Duquette, D., Northouse, L. L., Duffy, S. A., Donley, R., Merajver, S. D., Milliron, K. J., Roberts, J. S., & Katapodi, M. C. (2016). Use of cancer genetics services in African-American young breast cancer survivors. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 51(4), 427-436.

Donley, Sr. R. (2015). Concepts of dermatology and common disorders of the skin. In T. Capriotti & J. Frizzell. Pathophysiology, (pp. 979-1009). Philadelphia, PA: F.A. Davis.

Donley, R. (2015, May-June). Determinants of Health are the building blocks. Health Progress, 30-33.s

  • The Face of McGinley-Rice Symposia.  Duquesne University School of Nursing, Pittsburgh Pa. October, 2019 
  • Distinguished Daughter of Pennsylvania. Governor Tom Wolf’s Residence, Harrisburg, Pa. September, 2019 
  • Cameos of Caring, University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing, Pittsburgh Pa.  December, 2018
  • Living Legend, The American Academy of Nursing November, 2006.
  • 6 Honorary degrees: Felician (1981), LaRoche (1989), Loyola of Chicago (1988), Madonna (1988), Rhode Island (1988), Seton Hall (2009)
  • Fellow, The American Academy of Nursing, (1989)
  • Member, the National Academy of Medicine (1989)
  • Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellowship (1977-1978)