Our profile of Carol Polifroni was originally written in 2017. In celebration of her 2022 retirement we have added the final section, Future Plans. The Office of Public Engagement folded just after the profile was written and she took on direction of the Office of Clinical Placement Coordination (OCPC) in the School of Nursing in 2021.
Carol Polifroni is a registered nurse, Professor, and Dean of the UConn School of Nursing, whose research and scholarship focuses primarily on health policy and transition to care for nurses in particular. She is also Director of the UConn Office of Public Engagement. As part of that dual role she has been involved in the Greater Hartford School System, and the Academy of Nursing and Health Sciences in particular, for over fifteen years working with inner city youth preparing them for careers in healthcare, focusing on diversity.
Involvement with CSCH
The UConn Collaboratory on School and Child Health was born out of conversations between Polifroni and CSCH Co-Director Sandra Chafouleas. “It was really the notion of “nobody is looking at the entire system’” that led to their collaboration, says Polifroni. When the CDC and ASCD released the Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC) model, Polifroni understood that it corresponded to how the Office of Public Engagement wanted to look at systems. The model helped researchers and practitioners to look at issues through a holistic lens of coordination and with an appreciation of the complexity of the connectedness between the ten components of the model.
The “model looks at all the interactions, all the connectedness between [the school, the community and the child] and so it’s a natural connection with my role of being a nurse and then also as my role as Director of the Office of Public Engagement,” she says.
Polifroni urges anyone interested in community, school, or child health, to consider joining CSCH because of the coordination between the three components. “It’s a broad umbrella…if you’re interested in schools, communities, or children, the Collaboratory is a natural place for you.”
When she is not working and if the sun is shining, you will find Dr. Polifroni at the beach.
As she retires, Polifroni looks forward to teaching two new courses, continuing as OCPC Director for at least a semester, writing the second edition of her philosophy of science in nursing book, international and domestic travel when it feels safer, longer weekends, volunteering, and enjoying life by the water.