Distinguished Alumni Award
2012 Distinguished Alumni Award Recipient
MELANIE CREAGAN DREHER ’67 (PH.D., RN, FAAN)
John L. and Helen Kellogg Dean and Professor, College of Nursing, Rush University
Melanie Creagan Dreher is a nationally recognized leader in nursing education and cross-cultural nursing research. Since 2006, Dr. Dreher has held the prestigious position of John L. and Helen Kellogg Dean and Professor at Rush University College of Nursing in Chicago, Ill. The professor is renowned for her long-term ethnographic studies on the effects of marijuana use in the rural parts of the island of Jamaica, including how marijuana use by pregnant mothers affects the development of their children. She also has conducted extensive research in cross-cultural studies of health care systems and the financing of community health care.
Over three decades, her research has yielded influential reports including “Childhood Cannabis Use in Jamaica,” “Working Men and Ganja” and “An Ethnographic Study of Drug Consumption and Distribution in Jamaica.” She co-edited “Women and Cannabis: Medicine Science and Sociology” and wrote “Healthy Places, Healthy People: A Handbook for Culturally Competent Community Nursing Practice.”
After graduating magna cum laude from LIU Brooklyn’s School of Nursing in 1967, Dr. Dreher studied at Columbia University, earning an M.A. in anthropology in 1974, an M.Phil. in 1976 and a Ph.D. in anthropology, with distinction, in 1977. She began her career as a faculty member at Columbia's School of Public Health and School of Nursing.
Before assuming her current position at Rush University, she served as dean at the University of Iowa College of Nursing, where she established a master’s degree in nursing and health care practice. The degree program became the national model for professional nursing education. Dr. Dreher also developed an institutional pre-doctoral fellowship program in transcultural nursing. In 1988, Dr. Dreher was elected to the American Academy of Nursing. She also is a fellow of the Institute of Medicine of Chicago Dr. Dreher has two sons, a stepdaughter and 11 grandchildren. She resides in Chicago, Ill.