Kathleen "Kitty" C. Buckwalter, 71BSN, 76MA, is a world-renowned leader, mentor, and researcher in the field of geropsychiatric nursing whose passionate commitment has revolutionized health care for older adults.
A native Iowa Citian, Buckwalter earned a doctorate degree in nursing from the University of Illinois-Chicago in 1980, after completing an undergraduate degree in nursing and a master's degree in psychiatric/mental-health nursing at the University of Iowa. Since completing postdoctoral studies at the Mental Disorders of the Aging Branch at the National Institute of Mental Health (1983-86), she has devoted her career to geriatric education and research—and has proven to be a formidable advocate for elders.
Buckwalter's influence extends widely into the field of geropsychiatric nursing, where she has distinguished herself as one of the most outstanding and well-respected academicians in the country—and even the world.
Not only is she a professor emeritus in the UI College of Nursing, but she also is co-director of the National Health Law and Policy Resource Center, established in 1981 to promote laws and public policies in support of accessible, affordable, quality health services for all Americans, particularly vulnerable populations. Prior to assuming emerita status in 2011, after devoting more than three decades of service to the UI, she was the Sally Mathis Hartwig Professor in Gerontological Nursing, the director of the John A. Hartford Center of Geriatric Nursing Excellence, the associate director of the UI Gerontological Nursing Interventions Research Center, and the co-director of the UI Center on Aging. In addition, she served as the UI associate provost for health sciences.
A prolific researcher, Buckwalter is internationally recognized for her work in the areas of psychiatric nursing, aging, and long-term care. Her efforts have focused on improving mental-health services and providing community-based care for chronically ill older persons. Her particular interests are in behavioral-management strategies for rural caregivers of persons with dementia and in the effectiveness of community programs in preventing, minimizing, and treating psychiatric problems in the rural elderly.
During her Iowa tenure, Buckwalter brought in more than $25 million in research funding from several branches of the National Institutes of Health and from numerous private foundations. She also has written extensively in the field of gerontology, authoring 251 articles; eight books; eight health-policy and commission papers; 51 monographs and videos; and 90 editorials, reviews, and commentaries.
Beyond her own scholarly activities, Buckwalter has generously fostered the academic careers of countless other geriatric and psychiatric nurses, and she has shared her expertise with the state of Iowa by serving on the planning committee for the Governor's Conference on Aging, chairing the Governor's Task Force on Elder Abuse, and advising the Department of Elder Affairs. Along with serving on numerous review committees, editorial boards, and advisory groups, Buckwalter also has fellowships in the American Academy of Nursing and the Institute of Medicine.
With such a stellar career to her credit, Kathleen C. Buckwalter can claim her place as one of the world's most important geriatric nurse leaders—a consummate educator and researcher whose dedication has made a meaningful difference for older adults and their families.
Buckwalter is a life member of the UI Alumni Association and a member of the UI Foundation's Presidents Club.