Dean Dorrie K. Fontaine, RN, PhD, FAAN - Founder

Fontaine, Dorrie About
Dean Dorrie Fontaine

Dean Dorrie K. Fontaine, RN, PhD, FAAN - a long-time clinician, academic and administrator with a lengthy and distinguished record serving at many of the nation's top nursing schools became dean at the University of Virginia School of Nursing in 2008.‌

After attending Upaya's end-of-life program "Being with Dying" early in her UVA tenure, Fontaine established the School's Compassionate Care Initiative in 2009 which today offers programs, retreats and workshops centered on mindfulness and resilience most weeks throughout the year. Understanding that nursing is more than a skills-based profession, Fontaine asserts that purposeful instruction in compassion is critical to nurturing strong and empathic clinicians who are less error-prone, less likely to experience burnout and more deeply in tune with their patients. As CCI's message spreads and practices like "The Pause" take root in hospitals and clinics around the US, Fontaine continues to publish widely and has become a sought-after speaker on why resilience augments the care, well-being and professional longevity of clinicians and others.

Six years after its beginning, CCI's wide range of programs today attract hundreds of nursing students, faculty, clinicians and staff - along with a range of individuals across Grounds and from the community - each year.

A tireless champion of healthy work environments, diversity and inclusion and interprofessional education, Fontaine earned a BSN from Villanova, an MS from the University of Maryland, and a PhD from the Catholic University of America, and was inducted as an American Academy of Nursing Fellow in 1995. 

Recipient of the Society of Critical Care Medicine's Presidential Citation in 1999, Fontaine also received the American Association of Critical Care Nurses' Lifetime Member award in 2004 and the Multiple Sclerosis Society's Silver Hope Award in 2013. During 2014, she was recognized by UVA's Seven Society for "exemplary leadership" and inducted into the Raven Society, UVA's oldest honor society, and the following year UVA Health System honored her with the Martin Luther King Jr. Award.

Fontaine lives in Pavilion IX, on the University of Virginia's historic Lawn, with her husband Barry.