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Photo of Aquino, Liz

Liz Aquino, PhD, RN

Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Office of Academic Engagement & Student Success

Clinical Associate Professor

Department of Biobehavioral Nursing Science


Building & Room:

MC 802 Room 506


845 S. Damen Ave. Chicago, IL 60612

Office Phone:



Dr. Liz Aquino currently serves as the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs for the UIC College of Nursing. Dr. Aquino has been a registered nurse for over 15 years with clinical experience in surgical-trauma intensive care nursing. After completing her Ph.D. in Nursing Science from the UIC College of Nursing, she began working in academia to influence and support the education of the next generation of nurses.

Through her nursing background, advocacy, research, and community service, Dr. Aquino responds to structural and social determinants of health to advance health equity. Dr. Aquino has demonstrated her deep commitment to helping others through her volunteerism and community service with various non-profit organizations where she shares her expertise. She serves as a leading voice for nurses on local and national boards, advocating for the nursing profession, and promoting access to services in under-resourced communities. Over the years, Dr. Aquino has received numerous local and national awards and recognitions for her service and leadership.

Selected Publications

Lee, Y.M., Simonovich, S.D., Li, S., Amer, L., Wagner, L., Hill, J., Spurlark, R., Aquino, E. (2023). Motivators and barriers to COVID-19 vaccination in young adults living in the USA. Clinical Nursing Research, 32(6), 1-12.

Simonovich, S.D., Aquino, E., Lattner, C., Soco, C., *Ponder, T.N., *Amer, L. *Howard, S., *Nwafor, G., *Shah, P., Badowski, D., Krawczyk, S., Mueller Wiesemann, L., Spurlark, R.S., Webber-Ritchey, K., Lee, Y. (2022). US nurses’ challenges with personal protective equipment during COVID-19: Interview findings from the frontline workforce. Psych, 4, 226-237.

Simonovich, S.D., Webber-Ritchey, K., Spurlark, R.S., Florczak, K., Mueller Wiesemann, L., *Ponder, T.N., *Reid, M., *Shino, D., *Stevens, B., Aquino, E., Badowski, D., Lattner, C., Soco, C., Krawczyk, S., Amer, K. (2022). Moral distress experienced by US nurses on the frontlines during the COVID-19 pandemic: Implications for nursing policy and practice. SAGE Open Nursing, 8, 1-12.

Lee, Y. M., Aquino, E., Spawn, N., Bishop-Royse, J., & Webber-Ritchey, K. (2022). Predictors associated with new nursing faculty’s intent to leave nursing academia: Teaching preparation in doctoral program, institutional supports, and job satisfaction. International Journal of Nursing Education Scholarship, 19(1), 1-12.

Webber-Ritchey, K., Aquino, E., *Ponder, T.N., Lattner, C., Soco, C., Spurlark, R.S., Simonovich, S.D. (2021). Recruitment strategies to optimize participation by diverse populations. Nursing Science Quarterly, 34(3), 235-243.

Simonovich, S.D., Spurlark, R.S., Badowski, D., Krawczyk, S., Soco, C., *Ponder, T.N., *Rhyner, D., *Waid, R., Aquino, E., Lattner, C., Mueller Wiesemann, L., Webber-Ritchey, K., Li, S., Tariman, J.D. (2021). Examining effective communication in nursing practice during COVID-19: A large-scale qualitative study. International Nursing Review, 68(4), 512-523.

Cuellar, N., Aquino, E., Dawson, M. J., Im, E.-O., Jurado, L.-F. M., Lee, Y. S., Little John, S., Tom-Orme, L., & Toney, D. A. (2020). Culturally congruent health care of COVID-19 in minorities in the United States: A clinical practice paper from the National Coalition of Ethnic Minority Nurse Associations. Journal of Transcultural Nursing, 31(5), 434–443

*student co-author

Contributing Author: Position Statements and Reports:

Building Bridges and Growing the Soul of Chicago: A Blueprint for Creating a More Just and Vibrant City for All. (July 2023). Transition Team Report to Mayor Brandon Johnson. Health & Human Services Subcommittee Member.

Report Series-Racism in Nursing: Racism in Nursing Research Themes. (May, 2022). American Nurses Association National Commission to Address Racism in Nursing.

The Equitable Determinants of Access to Vaccine Distribution and Vaccinations for All. (May, 2021). National League for Nursing (NLN) Strategic Action Group Member.

Latinx COVID-19 Communication Needs and Opportunities. (July, 2020). American Medical Association.

Enough is Enough. Take Action: Protect Black Lives. (June 13, 2020). American Nurses Association-Illinois.

Notable Honors

2021, Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Leadership Award, ANA-Illinois

2019, Who’s Who in Hispanic Chicago Health Care, Negocios Now

2018, Power of Nursing Leadership Pinnacle Leader Award, University of Illinois at Chicago

2018, Janie Menchaca Wilson Leadership Award, National Association of Hispanic Nurses

2017, Multicultural Initiatives Heart Beat Award, American Heart Association

2017, Top 40 Under 40 Nursing Award, National Association of Hispanic Nurses

2016, Top 10 National Ambassador for AHA EmPOWERED to Serve, American Heart Association

2016, Circle of Service Award, American Heart Association

2015, Nueva Latina Estrella Award-Health Category, Verizon

2015, Top 40 Under 40 Emerging Nurse Leaders in Illinois Award, Illinois Nurses Foundation


Ph.D., Nursing Science, University of Illinois at Chicago, 2013
M.S., Master's Entry to Nursing Practice Program, DePaul University, 2006
B.S., Biology and Psychology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2003

Professional Memberships

American Nurses Association-Illinois, President, 2019-2023

Illinois Organization for Nurse Leaders

National Association of Hispanic Nurses-Illinois Chapter, Past President

National Coalition of Ethnic Minority Nurses Association, Past Board of Director

Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society

Society of Latinx Nurses, Co-founder and Board of Director

Selected Presentations

Examining Motivating Factors and Barriers to COVID-19 Vaccination in Young Adults. ICN. July 2023. Montreal, Canada. (Poster)

15th Annual Northwestern Medicine Academic Medical Center & Brinson Foundation Nursing & Allied Health Research and Evidence-Based Practice Symposium. The Fellowship of Caregivers: A Journey Towards Better Healthcare. Your Spheres of Influence: Nurses Creating Better Healthcare. April 21, 2023. Chicago, IL. (Invited Speaker)

Trevizo Nimeri, C., Webber-Ritchey, K., Aquino, E., Simonovich, S.D. A Systematic Review Examining Barriers to Home Therapy Dialysis Utilization. Public Health Nursing Section, American Public Health Association Annual Meeting, Denver, CO. October 26, 2021. (Poster)

Simonovich, S.D., Amer, K., Aquino, E., Lee, Y.M., Shin, H., Tariman, J., Webber-Ritchey, K. Examining Nurses’ Frontline Experiences During COVID-19: Building Awareness for the Promotion of Clinical Outcomes. Sigma Theta Tau International’s 32nd International Nursing Research Congress, E-Conference due to COVID-19. July 21, 2021. (Symposium Presentation)

Cuellar, N., Aquino, E., Grau, G., Gularte-Rinaldo, J., Vital, V., & Martinez, G.  All of Us: Why Latinos? 2018 State of the Science Congress on Nursing Research-Precision Medicine. Washington, D.C. September, 2018. (Podium Presentation)

Aquino, E., Cueto, A., Gonzalez, S. Transforming Disaster Relief into Sustainable Solutions in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. NAHN’s 43 Annual Conference: Latino Health Care: Advancing Equity, Diversity, and Inclusivity. Cleveland, Ohio. August, 1, 2018 (Invited Speaker)