Heather J. Kelley-Thompson, MA

Deputy Director
In addition to serving as the Deputy Director for the RWJF Future of Nursing Scholars program, Heather Kelley-Thompson is also the Department Manager for the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing's Biobehavioral Health Sciences (BHS) department. As manager of the BHS department, Kelley-Thompson supports more than 150 faculty (across ranks and appointments) and provides overall responsibility for the day to day operations of the department. She mentors and manages the department staff, while looking for opportunities to grow the work of the team to meet the goals of the school. Kelley-Thompson has served as the deputy director for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Future of Nursing Scholars program since 2013. This national program supports more than 200 nursing PhD students, all of whom are enrolled in three-year doctoral programs. She provides direct support to these scholars, and also created and launched the program’s leadership development curricula. Previously, she served as the program associate for the RWJF Interdisciplinary Nursing Quality Research Initiative (INQRI) program, which was also housed within Penn Nursing. In that role, she fostered the development of 40 grantee teams, disseminated research findings through a webinar series, daily blog posts, a quarterly newsletter, and a special edition of Medical Care. Before coming to Penn, Kelley-Thompson was a vice president in a political advertising firm, which served candidates across the country, as well as teaching unions, and also worked on behalf of various issue referenda. She has served Penn Nursing on a variety of committees and currently co-chairs the Diversity and Inclusivity Committee. She has also served with the Penn Professional Staff Assembly’s Tri-Chair leadership. She volunteers outside of her professional roles as a Girl Scout leader for three Girl Scout troops and is the Past President for the Philadelphia Area Alumnae Panhellenic. Previously, Kelley-Thompson was a member of the Board of Directors for the Phi Sigma Sigma Foundation. She holds a master’s degree from the University of Florida. She resides in Upper Darby, PA with her husband, Ed, and their three daughters, Chloe, Amber, and Kyra.