Award-winning educator to direct UIC’s Peoria nursing program

Elaine Hardy began this week as the new director of the Peoria regional campus of the University of Illinois at Chicago’s College of Nursing.

Elaine Hardy

Elaine Hardy

An accomplished educator who was most recently assistant professor at Illinois State University, Hardy received her Ph.D. in nursing science from UIC. She replaces Kathy Baldwin, who served as program director from 2008 to 2014 before her retirement.

“It is truly an honor to be joining UIC in Peoria at this time, in the midst of these great changes in our healthcare system,” Hardy said. “I look forward to building new relationships in the Peoria and surrounding regions and fostering the education of our future leaders, from diverse backgrounds, with a vision of advancing local and global health and nursing.”

Hardy has received accolades throughout her career. She was recently designated a Sigma Theta Tau International Nurse Faculty Leadership Academy Scholar and was recognized as an American Nurse Education Scholar by the American Nurses Association.

She serves as a manuscript reviewer for the Journal of Cancer Education; founded the Central Illinois chapter of the Black Nurses Association; and previously served as co-chair of the Women’s Health & Transitions in Childbearing Section of the Midwest Nursing Research Society. Her clinical practice is community-based, focusing on outreach and mentoring women of color in various community groups.

While at Illinois State, Hardy served as the faculty evaluator on a Health Resources and Services Administration nursing workforce diversity grant, focused on recruitment and retention of underrepresented groups to the nursing profession. Her work has been published in numerous peer-reviewed publications, and she has presented her research at national and regional nursing meetings.

Hardy received a bachelor of nursing degree from Indiana University Northwest and a master’s degree in clinical nurse specialist in adult health from Purdue University Calumet.

The Peoria campus is one of five regional programs under the direction of the UIC College of Nursing. It offers courses in a variety of forms: a classroom setting, video-conferencing, on-line and at clinical sites. It has transitioned to solely offering doctoral degrees.

The program has provided advanced nursing education and training to nearly 700 graduates since opening in 1974. Graduates have helped establish the Heart of Illinois HIV/AIDS Clinic in Peoria; a rural health clinic in Oquakwa, Illinois; the first in-school health clinic in Peoria; a home care and hospice program for a local medical center; and the area’s first parish nurse program. Many provide primary care to the underserved in rural and inner-city areas.

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