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Patricia Ellen Whitenight Underwood
School of Nursing

Patricia Ellen Whitenight Underwood, M.S., R.N., Assistant Professor of Nursing

B.S.N., Duke University, 1966; M.S. (Maternal and Child Nursing), Boston University, 1971; Ph.D. (Clinical Nursing Research), University of Michigan.

Clinical Instructor in Nursing (Obstetric and Gynecologic Nursing) 1967-1969, Instructor in Nursing (Parent-Child Nursing) 1971-1973, Assistant Professor of Nursing 1973-1974, University of Michigan School of Nursing.

Subsequently Underwood was Professor of Nursing, Grand Valley State University, Allendale, Michigan, 1986-2004; Associate Professor, Old Dominion University, 2004-2005; and Associate Professor of Nursing, Case Western Reserve University, starting in 2005 and ending with retirement about 2014- 2017.

Underwood’s research interests include maternal child health and nursing education. At Grand Valley State University, Underwood was director of research and faculty development at Kirkhof School of Nursing. She co-founded the Kalamazoo Nursing Research Collective to help staff nurses translate nursing research into practice. In 2017 she was a member of the National Nursing Research Grant Program Review Committee of the American Nurses Foundation.

Underwood was president of the Michigan Nurses Association from 1989 to 1993. During her presidency, new bargaining units were organized; a new headquarters was built in Okemos, Michigan; Medicaid guidelines were written to reimburse FNPs and PNPs as independent practitioners; and the Health Professionals Recovery Act was enacted into law. A biography of Underwood appears in A History of the Michigan Nurses Association, 1904-2004 (Turner Publishing Company, 2004), written in celebration of the organization’s centennial.

Underwood was the first chair of COMON (Coalition of Michigan Organizations of Nursing), a non-profit formed to advance the nursing profession in Michigan. She contributed to national policy on violence against women and helped to frame national guidelines about breast-feeding. As first vice-president of the American Nurses Association (2001), Underwood chaired ANA’s board and legislative committees.

Awards received include the Excellence in Leadership in Nursing award (Sigma Theta Tau); Search for Excellence Award (Michigan Nurses Association); Distinguished Alumni Award for 2001 (Duke University School of Nursing); and the Distinguished Faculty Award (Michigan Association of Governing Boards of Public Universities). Underwood has also been honored by the Midwest Nursing Research Society and American Journal of Nursing.

Patricia Ellen Whitenight, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Hudson L. Whitenight of Westfield, New Jersey, was married to Lee Chester Underwood III, a graduate of Oberlin College and a senior at Duke University School of Medicine, in July 1966 at Westfield, New Jersey. After graduating from Duke in 1967 Dr. Lee Underwood completed a residency in urology at University of Michigan Medical Center and subsequently set up a urology practice in Kalamazoo, Michigan.