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WesternU / About WesternU / Governance / Deans’ Council

Deans’ Council

The Deans’ Council meets regularly to discuss challenges and opportunities and best practices related to administration and curriculum delivery matters. The Deans’ Council works collaboratively with other university-wide units, departments, and committees.

Phillip D. Nelson, DVM, PhD

Dean, College of Veterinary Medicine – Chair

Dean Nelson serves as the Chair of the Deans’ Council – a two-year appointment started in July 2021. Every two years, a different dean is selected to serve as Chair. Dr. Nelson started at WesternU in 2005 as Associate Dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine and was appointed Dean in 2007. He is skilled in Veterinary Medicine, Immunology, Life Sciences, Medicine, and Science. Dr. Nelson earned his DVM at the Tuskegee Institute, Tuskegee, Alabama, his BS in Biology from Jackson State University, Jackson, Mississippi, and his PhD from North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina.

College of Veterinary Medicine

David Connett, DO, FACOFP, dist.

Acting Dean, COMP and COMP-Northwest

Dr. Connett is a 1984 graduate of the College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific. He completed his post graduate training at the Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine and served in the United States Air Force as aboard certified family physician and flight surgeon serving as Chief of Aerospace Medicine. Following his tour of duty and participation in Operation Desert Storm he moved to Denver as Program Director of a Family Medicine Residency and Medical Director of clinical operation for both HealthOne and Exempla Healthcare. Dr. Connett transitioned to Michigan to become the Chief Medical Officer of an osteopathic teaching hospital then joined WesternU – COMP in 2007 initially as the Dean of Postdoctoral training, then Vice Dean and now Acting Dean. He is a national consultant in residency development providing financial projections for over 105 hospitals in the United States.

College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific
College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific – Northwest Campus

Steven W. Friedrichsen, DDS

Dean, College of Dental Medicine

Dean Friedrichsen was named Interim Dean of CDM on Feb. 1, 2011, and Dean on July 1, 2011. He previously served as Dean of the Creighton University Medical Center School of Dentistry and Special Assistant to the University President for Health Sciences Strategies, Program Director for the Idaho Dental Education Program, Program Director for the Idaho Advanced General Dentistry program, and Chair of the Department of Dental Sciences at Idaho State University. Dr. Friedrichsen graduated from Seattle University with a Bachelor of Science in Biology, was awarded his Doctor of Dental Surgery from Northwestern University, and completed the hospital-based General Dentistry Residency program at the University of Chicago.

College of Dental Medicine

Elizabeth Hoppe, OD, MPH, DrPH

Founding Dean, College of Optometry

Dean Hoppe is the first woman in optometry in the U.S. to hold both the Doctor of Optometry and Doctor of Public Health degrees, which she earned at Ferris State University College of Optometry and the University of Michigan, respectively. She completed her residency at West Haven, Connecticut VA Medical Center. Dr. Hoppe became the Founding Dean of the College of Optometry on July 1, 2007. She previously served as Associate Dean of Academic Affairs at the New England College of Optometry and as a professor at the Southern California College of Optometry. Her teaching interest is in evidence-based decision making. She has held several elected positions in the American Public Health Association Vision Care Section and she has served on the Board of Directors for the National Board of Examiners in Optometry.

College of Optometry

Mary Lopez, PhD, RN, MSN

Dean, College of Graduate Nursing

Dean Lopez joined CGN in 2009. She was director of the MSN-E program from 2010 to 2014, and led a team of educators that raised Nursing Board (NCLEX) rates to 100 percent, revised curriculum to include QSEN competencies, and established the first RN Transition to Practice Program in Southern California. She previously served as CGN’s Associate Dean of Research and Administration and Director of the RN to MSN Program. Dr. Lopez became CGN Dean in January 2017. She earned her PhD at Azusa Pacific University, Master of Science in Nursing at California State University, Los Angeles, Bachelor of Science in Nursing at California State University, Fullerton, and Associate Degree in Nursing at Pasadena City College. Her clinical background includes critical care, oncology, and administration.

College of Graduate Nursing

Sunil Prabhu, BPharm, PhD, FAACP

Dean, College of Pharmacy

Dean Prabhu joined WesternU in 1996 as an Assistant Professor and a founding faculty member during the College of Pharmacy’s inaugural year. He has held several leadership positions within the College through the years, including Executive Associate Dean. He was named Dean on July 1, 2021. Dr. Prabhu earned his Bachelor of Pharmacy degree from the Birla Institute of Technology, India and his PhD in Pharmaceutics from West Virginia University. His teaching responsibilities have been mainly with the pharmaceutics curriculum, where he has also established a non-sterile compounding laboratory experience for student pharmacists for many years. His research interests, supported by NIH funding, have been in the area of development of novel drug delivery systems, application of nanotechnology for controlled release system design, cancer chemoprevention, and targeted therapy.

College of Pharmacy

V. Kathleen Satterfield, DPM, FACPM, MAPWCA

Dean, College of Podiatric Medicine

Dean Satterfield joined WesternU in September 2010 as an Associate Professor. She was promoted to Assistant Dean and Professor, and was named Dean on May 1, 2019. Dr. Satterfield is originally from Texas and graduated from the University of Texas at El Paso with a BA in Mass Communications. She was an award-winning journalist for years before going to medical school to become a podiatric physician, studying at the College of Podiatric Medicine and Surgery at the University of Osteopathic Medicine and Surgery in Des Moines. She completed her two-year surgical residency program at Yale University School of Medicine Clinical Campus/West Haven Veterans Administration Medical Center in Connecticut, where she was Chief Resident. Her clinical emphasis is the diabetic foot and she was recognized as a Master by the American Professional Wound Care Association.

College of Podiatric Medicine

Dee Schilling, PT, PhD, FNAP

Dean, College of Health Sciences and CHS-Northwest

Dean Schilling joined WesternU in 2007 as Chair of the Department of Physical Therapy Education. She also served as CHS Associate Dean and Interim Dean before being named Dean in August 2020. Dr. Schilling is leading the College’s expansion in Lebanon, Oregon, with the Doctor of Physical Therapy program welcoming its inaugural class in 2021, and the Doctor of Occupational Therapy program opening in 2022. She earned her PhD in Special Education & Rehabilitation Medicine and her MS in Rehabilitation Medicine from the University of Washington, her Physical Therapy Certificate from Emory University, and her Corrective Therapy Certificate and Bachelor of Science in Education from Kent State University.

College of Health Sciences