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Gail Houck selected as new Chair of Department of Family and Child Nursing


Date: October 31, 2013
Media Contact: Ashley Wiggin,, 206-221-2456

Gail M. Houck, PhD, RN, PMHNP, has been selected to lead the department of Family and Child Nursing in the University of Washington School of Nursing.  Dr. Houck will also serve as a Professor in that department. This appointment is pending formal approval by the Board of Regents.

“We are pleased to have Dr. Houck join us as the Department Chair of Family and Child Nursing,” said Peg Heitkemper, Chair the search committee and of the Biobehavioral Nursing and Health Systems department chair. “Her lengthy research career and strong administrative leadership skills made her a strong candidate for the position.”  

Gail HouckGail HouckHouck is currently a Professor and the Program Director for the Post-Master Doctor of Nursing Practice Program at the Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU). As Program Director, Houck is responsible for the academic administration of the Post-Master’s DNP Program and the third year of residency/ inquiry project year for the post baccalaureate DNP (MN/DNP) Program. Dr. Houck also served as Program Director for Academic Graduate Interdisciplinary Programs (AGIP), including PhD, MPH and MN in nursing education programs at OHSU, where her responsibilities included budgetary oversight, mentorship of students and faculty and cross-disciplinary research.

Dr. Houck’s research career has focused on improving child health and optimizing child health outcomes. One of her recent projects, the Maternal-Toddler project, followed the everyday interactions of mothers and toddlers over a five-year span to understand the impact of interaction and support on overall toddler development.

Dr. Houck’s research has found its way into students in the classroom as well. She recently co-authored a book, Depression in Children and Adolescents: Guidelines for School Practice, written for school mental health professionals and provides evidence-based guidelines to promote resilience and to intervene with students at risk for or experiencing depression. She has also served as a program evaluator for a day treatment intervention with substance abusing mothers and their infants and toddlers, and for a project to improve mental health assessment and intervention skills of school nurses for prevention and early intervention with students.

She completed her Bachelors of Science in Nursing (BSN) and PhD at the University of Washington School of Nursing, and a Master’s of Nursing (MN) in Psychiatric-Mental Health at Oregon Health Sciences Center at the University of Oregon.

“Dr. Houck brings a unique set of academic administrative skills and a strong history of leadership and scholarship to our school,” said Azita Emami, the Robert G. and Jean A. Reid Dean in Nursing. “She will be an excellent addition to our existing leadership team and we look forward to welcoming her back to the UW School of Nursing.”

The Department of Family and Child Nursing’s strategic mission focuses on family‐centered health enhancement across the lifespan. We are known for pioneering research in this area as well as fostering academic and professional growth of faculty and students.  The School of Nursing houses the Barnard Center for Infant Mental Health and Development; Center for Research on the Management of Sleep Disturbances; Northwest Roybal Center; the de Tornyay Center for Healthy Aging and the Center for Health Sciences Interprofessional Education, Research and Practice, among others. The School creates opportunities for interdisciplinary and interprofessional research and educational initiatives, and fosters mutually enriching community/academic partnerships.

Dr. Houck will replace retiring chair Patti Brandt, PhD, RN, who has been chair of the Department of Family and Child Nursing since 2009. Brandt, a professor in Family and Child Nursing, is set to retire in late December, after a more than 30-year career at the UW School of Nursing.


The University of Washington School of Nursing is consistently a top-rated nursing school, according to U.S. News & World Report. Ranked No. 3 in research funding from the National Institutes of Health, the UW School of Nursing is a national and international leader in improving the health and well-being of individuals, families and communities. The school addresses society’s most pressing challenges in health care through innovative teaching, award winning research and community service. For more information, visit