Paulina Van


Dr. Paulina Van is a Professor at Samuel Merritt University, School of Nursing. She entered academia after over two decades in various executive level positions in acute care, home care, and public health arenas. In prior years, she held full time faculty positions in the Schools of Nursing at the University of San Francisco and the University of California, San Francisco, teaching at the doctoral, masters, and baccalaureate levels.

She was the former Professor and Chair for the Department of Nursing and Health Sciences at California State University, East Bay (Hayward and Concord campuses). In the realm of academics, she is also a researcher, author, manuscript reviewer, and consultant. She provides consultation and international support to multidisciplinary groups and to Bay Area faith-based constituents by co-facilitating grief support groups and consulting with clergy who are involved in grief counseling. She currently serves as a board member for community organizations including the Ethnic Health Institute, Alta Bates Summit Medical Center, the Fetal Infant Mortality Review Team, Department of Health Services, City and County of San Francisco and recently was appointed to the California Board of Registered Nursing, Education Issues Advisory Workgroup. Dr. Van was inducted into the Sigma Theta Tau, Honor Society of Nursing in 1975 and has served as a member or board officer in three chapters.

Dr. Van is passionate about her program of research, which began in 1996 and is focused on the wide range of issues concerning women and pregnancy loss. This passion began with a focus on African American women and has extended to diverse women in the US as well as internationally in Mexico. Myriad aspects of exploration include coping with grief, factors that influence grief, health outcomes, nature of dreams and sleep disruption, and spiritual health. In addition to publications and presentations, a major contribution to practice has been her development of an emerging theoretical Model of Coping after Pregnancy Loss for culturally diverse women. She presented papers on these topics to multidisciplinary audiences of health care professionals in Canada, China, Cuba, Mexico, Columbia, Egypt, and the United States. Her program of research has been supported by grants and fellowships from multiple sources including the National Institutes of Health, Sigma Theta Tau International, Johnson & Johnson, and the University of California, San Francisco.

Dr. Van is the recipient of numerous honors and awards including multiple listings in Who’s Who Among Teachers and Faculty of the Year Award recognition by the Society of Collegiate Scholars. She is a featured participant in a permanent exhibit at the African American Museum and Library in Oakland, California, and was awarded Congressional Recognition for Outstanding Community Service by the United States Congress.

Dr. Van was awarded a Postdoctoral Fellowship from the University of California, San Francisco, earned her degree as Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing from University of California, San Francisco, her Master’s Degree in Nursing Administration from University of California, San Francisco and graduated with a Baccalaureate degree in Nursing from the University of San Francisco. She is credentialed as a Certified Nurse Educator by the National League for Nursing and a Certified Mediator by The Center for Narrative and Discursive Practice

Dr. Van’s passion for promoting health and wellness among women experiencing life’s transitions, motivated her to start a beauty and stress management business in 2006. She is a licensed esthetician, permanent makeup artist, and Reiki Master and practices in the Bay Area. She has also conducted mindfulness and meditation projects among university students.

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