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Joan M. Kavanagh


Associate Chief Nurse

Cleveland Clinic Foundation

Joan M. Kavanagh serves as Associate Chief Nursing Officer for the Office of Nursing Education and Professional Development at Cleveland Clinic.

With clinical, administrative and nursing leadership experience that spans more than forty years, Kavanagh's professional knowledge and expertise is extensive, including international consultation to hospitals in Abu Dhabi, Egypt, Shanghai, and the United Kingdom. In her current position, she leads the integration, standardization, and advancement of nursing education and professional development for the more than 30,000 caregivers in the Cleveland Clinic Nursing Institute. A former medical-surgical faculty member, Dr. Kavanagh's research addresses quantifying and mitigating the preparation-to-practice gap. In 2010, Kavanagh developed and launched Cleveland Clinic’s first New Graduate Registered Nurse (NGRN) competency-based residency program. The residency program, accredited with distinction by the American Nurse Credentialing Center, is designed to 'meet the learner where they are' and has received national attention as an exemplar in supporting transition-to-practice. Driven by her passion for promoting diversity and inclusion, Kavanagh developed and cultivated a two million dollar donor-supported program for under-represented high school students hoping to pursue the profession of nursing. The program, titled ASPIRE, is a collaborative initiative with Cuyahoga Community College and the Breen School of Nursing at Ursuline College and generates more than 200 applications each year for the coveted 25 annual ASPIRE scholar positions. Kavanagh also created a disruptive innovative program titled THRIVE, to support entry-level caregivers in the pursuit of nursing assistant positions. The program received more than six million dollars in grant support and has demonstrated dramatic decreases in first-year turnover. Kavanagh leads the in-total, 20 million dollar grant-funded project with multi-state and multi-site partners.

Dr. Kavanagh received her BSN from Catholic University, her MSN from the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing at Case Western Reserve University, and her PhD from the Ron and Kathy Assaf College of Nursing at Nova Southeastern University.

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