Debra Simons, Ph.D.

Dean, School of Nursing and Health Sciences
Debra Simons, Ph.D.

School of Nursing and Health Sciences, Purchase, NY

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Dr. Debra Simons became the Dean of the School of Nursing and Health Sciences in May 2019. With Dr. Simon’s visionary leadership, the School of Nursing and Health Sciences offers programs that advance the preparation of well-educated health care professionals.

Dr. Simon’s leadership is grounded in the Caritas process and advancement of the philosophy, theories and practices of Human Caring.

Prior to coming to Manhattaville, Dr. Simons served as the Dean of the School of Nursing and Healthcare Professions at the College of New Rochelle. Her leadership influenced the College of New Rochelle School of Nursing and Healthcare Professions to receiving the first in the country academic affiliation with the Watson Caring Science Institute. Her experience in creating clinical simulation environments for several academic intuitions including Norwalk Community College and the University of Connecticut, allowed for the expansion of this active learning strategy and the development of a “hospital like” environment for the students. Before the College of New Rochelle, Dr. Simons served as the Director of the University of Connecticut second degree accelerated program expanding a campus. In addition, she was a tenured professor of nursing at Norwalk Community College.

Prior to her academic career, Dr. Simons participated in the expansion of a corporation formally known as Franklin Health Inc. which provided complex care management services to employees in indemnified corporations and insurance company policy holders. She served in many key executive roles advancing the expansion of partnerships and net revenue of the organization.

Dr. Simons contributes to many scholarly publications and her piece on the use of simulation in nursing was included in the book, “The New Nurse Educator: Mastering Academe,” She is also passionate about mentoring providing a reflective response in seeking lifelong mentorship in the book, Role Development for Doctoral Prepared Nursing Practice. She has also developed a Quality and Safety Self-Efficacy Scale © Measuring Self-Efficacy during Inter-Professional Clinical Simulation,
She has been inducted as a Fellow into the New York Academy of Medicine, serves as a board member for a non-profit organization, Under One Roof, which addresses urgent and complex needs facing older adults, affordable housing, and intergenerational living.

Simons is a Fellow of the New York Academy of Medicine.

Areas of Expertise

COVID-19 Effects on Seniors

COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

Higher Education


Health Science

Mental and Emotional Health


Capella University


Ph.D., Leadership in Higher Education

University of Phoenix


B.S., Nursing

The College of New Rochelle


M.A., Nursing

  • New York Academy of Medicine
Selected Media Appearances
Debra Simons: Already lonely older adults are suffering under COVID-19 social distancing

Westchester County Business Journal


This is a challenging time for older adults, whose routines and support systems may be disrupted  because of social  distancing.

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Manhattanville looks to open nursing school in wake of College of New Rochelle's closing

The Journal News


Manhattanville University is looking to open a nursing school. And Debra Simons, the former head of CNR's nursing school..

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Manhattanville University seeks approval for nursing school

West Fair Online


Debra A. Simons has been named dean of the new school. She joined the college in May of this year after serving as dean of the School of Nursing and Healthcare Professions at the College of New Rochelle, which closed this year. “Nursing and health science are complementary to Manhattanville’s rich history in the liberal arts,” she said. “Graduating a brand of design thinking, patient-centered, high tech high care, holistically educated nurses will impact our health care institutions seeking to improve safety and health outcomes while enhancing the patient experience and achieve magnet status,” she said. Simons had been with Norwalk Community College and UConn earlier in her career. She is a fellow in the New York Academy of Medicine...

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