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Dr. Helen K. Burns appointed Rev. Owen Roth, O.S.B., Inaugural Chair of the Department of Nursing

by Public Relations | May 15, 2023
LATROBE, PA—Saint Vincent College is pleased to announce the appointment of Helen K. Burns, Ph.D., RN, NEA-BC, FAAN, as the Rev. Owen Roth, O.S.B., Inaugural Chair of the Department of Nursing. In this role, Dr. Burns will develop and direct the new Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree program in the Herbert W. Boyer School of Natural Sciences, Mathematics and Computing.
“I am honored to be working with faculty and others to create a new Nursing Program here at Saint Vincent College,” expressed Dr. Burns. “The College’s career-building Nursing Programs will be designed to educate and support the next generation of nurses to become prepared as professionals, clinicians and leaders to make a meaningful difference in the lives of individuals, families and communities.”
"Dr. Burns, a strong supporter of Saint Vincent for many years, will now bring her expertise and knowledge to make something new at Saint Vincent," said Father Paul Taylor, O.S.B., President of Saint Vincent College. "The BSN program will provide nurses for our region and beyond in this time of severe staffing shortages. This new chair is a fitting honor for Dr. Burns and her already distinguished career.”
Since 2011, Dr. Burns has served as Senior Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer with Excela Health, for which she led and grew the nursing programs across the system. Dr. Burns also previously served as Deputy Secretary for Health Planning and Assessment for the Pennsylvania Department of Health. In that position, she was responsible for oversight of the Office of Public Health Preparedness; Office of Emergency Medical Services; and the Bureaus of Epidemiology, Laboratories, Health Planning and Community Health Systems. 
A highly-respected professional in her field, Dr. Burns is a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing and has had her research published in numerous professional journals in addition to having served as the Associate Dean for Clinical Education in the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Nursing. She has received numerous awards and honors for her work, including the Provost’s Innovation in Education Award and the President’s Distinguished Service Award from the University of Pittsburgh and the Distinguished Alumni Award and the Distinguished Alumni Award in Practice from the University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing. Dr. Burns was also appointed to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ National Advisory Council on Nurse Education and Practice.  
“Dr. Burns’ expertise, extensive experience and connections within the nursing field will launch the new BSN degree program with academic excellence and the implementation of new research and protocols, while incorporating the strong liberal arts core of Saint Vincent that will give each new nurse the breadth of education to have a successful career and meaningful life,” explained Dr. John Delaney, Vice President of Academic Affairs.
Established in honor of Father Owen Roth, the Rev. Owen Roth, O.S.B., Inaugural Chair of the Department of Nursing will oversee the Saint Vincent College Nursing Program, which will produce highly-skilled graduates who will meet the growing demands of the nursing profession and improve the quality of healthcare in the region by expanding the College’s educational programs in the health sciences. 
Students will be able to begin enrolling in the Nursing Program in Fall 2024, which is when construction of a new nursing education and lab facility will commence on the College’s campus.
About Father Owen Roth, O.S.B.
Father Owen Roth, O.S.B., (1915-1976) joined the Saint Vincent College faculty in 1941 and taught embryology, comparative anatomy and histology while also teaching courses at the former Latrobe Hospital School of Nursing. In addition to teaching at Saint Vincent, Father Owen served as scholasticate prefect, dean of men, pre-medical advisor, alumni secretary and Chair of the Biology Department (1969 to 1976). In 1946, he earned a Master of Science Degree in biology from Yale University, and he spent several summers at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, MA. He published frequently on the topic of anatomy and wrote a manual on comparative anatomy in addition to being a member of the Albertus Magnus Guild, Pennsylvania Academy of Science and American Association for the Advancement of Science.