Esther Smith-Howell, PhD, RN

Class of 2022

Esther R. Smith-Howell, PhD, RN is the Dean’s Distinguished Post-Doctoral Fellow at University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing.  She completed her PhD in Nursing Science at Indiana University in Indianapolis, IN.  Originally from Winter Haven, FL, she earned her first undergraduate degree with a Bachelor’s in Health Sciences from the University of Florida, and earned her second undergraduate degree with a Bachelor’s in the Science of Nursing from Indiana University.  In 2011, Esther was awarded a National Research Service Award to support her training and fund her research, which focuses on improving end-of-life decision-making and communication among African Americans with serious illness and their families.  In 2012, Esther was one of only five PhD students in the U.S. to be competitively selected as a Johnson & Johnson-American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) Minority Nurse Faculty Scholar.  Ms. Smith-Howell used this prestigious award and recognition to further her mission to increase diversity in schools of nursing in the Indianapolis area and nationally.  Esther has been a national speaker on diversity in academia, including as an invited speaker at the National Invitational Forum for Diversity Conference hosted by the University of Pennsylvania.  In addition to being a champion for diversity, Esther has been a national student-leader and peer-mentor.  Specifically, she gave a national presentation for AACN’s Graduate Nursing Student Academy.  Esther has received numerous awards and honors, including Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis’ (IUPUI) Elite 50, Premiere 10, and Best in School of Nursing awards.  The Elite 50 represent the top one half of one percent of the graduate and professional student body at IUPUI, whereas the Premiere 10 represents the top 10 of the Elite 50.  Beyond research, Esther has worked as teaching associate for undergraduate and graduate courses, served as historian’s assistant of Chi Eta Phi Sorority, Inc., Eta Chi Chapter, and served on numerous faculty committees as a graduate student representative.  Esther belongs to several professional organizations, including Sigma Theta Tau, Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association, and American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine.