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Sandra Louise Larson, PhD, CRNA, APRN, FAANA, FNAP

Founding Dean, College of Nursing, VP of Clinical Partnerships

Dr. Sandra Larson is Founding Dean of the College of Nursing and Vice President for Clinical Partnerships at Rosalind Franklin University (RFU). She is a nurse and policy analyst with expertise in nursing practice, nursing education, higher-education administration, partnership development, and scope of practice regulation. She joined RFU in 2011 as the Chair, Program Director of the Department of Nurse Anesthesia and prior to her current role, served as Vice President for Partnerships. In 2018, she led the President’s Nursing Task Force that recommended the university’s future strategy for nursing.

She earned her BSN from the University of Illinois in 1979, MSN in Nurse Anesthesia from Rush University in 1983, and PhD in Public Policy Analysis from the University of Illinois in 2004. Her clinical expertise includes nearly 35 years of full-time practice, first as an intensive care nurse and later as a nurse anesthetist, in both major academic medical centers and community hospitals.

In 2021, her research contributions to cardiac anesthesia, safety in nurse anesthesia practice, and scope of practice regulation earned her the distinction of being selected for the inaugural group of Fellows of the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists. She is the first nurse anesthetist to lead author research published in the Journal of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Anesthesia and findings of this research contributed to the nation-wide transition to fast-track cardiac anesthesia techniques. Her research investigation of the nearly 23 million-dollar, high-politics, lobbying campaign to influence the Opt-Out federal regulation concerning nurse anesthetists’ scope-of-practice contributed new knowledge to the social and political science literature on the role of the regulatory process in shaping how professions develop.

A major focus of her current work involves co-creating RFU’s College of Nursing with a broad network of Lake County organizations focused on building a highly-educated, diverse nursing workforce to serve Lake County, and on building an equitable, longitudinal, educational pathway to serve Lake County’s youth. Dr. Larson also serves as a member of the Lake County Board of Health and on the Lake Forest Hospital Community Engagement Advisory Council.