Shannon Zenk

Director, National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR)

Shannon N. Zenk, PhD, MPH, RN is Director of the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR). With a background in nursing and public health, Dr. Zenk’s research is centered on environmental injustice and health. Her work takes a contextual and spatial approach to understanding the role of the environment in health behaviors and outcomes, with the goal of producing evidence to eliminate racial/ethnic and socioeconomic health disparities. 

Since becoming Director of NINR, Dr. Zenk has led the development of the Institute’s new strategic plan with a bold focus on social determinants of health and health equity and serves as the co-chair of several NIH-wide efforts, including the Social Determinants of Health Research Coordinating Committee, the Community Partnerships to Advance Science for Society (ComPASS) Program, the Implementing a Maternal health and PRegnancy Outcomes Vision for Everyone (IMPROVE) Initiative, and the Climate Change and Health Initiative. 

Dr. Zenk joined NINR in 2020 following a 14-year career as a faculty member at the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC) College of Nursing and Institute for Health Research and Policy. She is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine, a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing, and was inducted into the International Nurse Researcher Hall of Fame in 2019.