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Caroline Nestro, PhD, MS, RN

Caroline Nestro, PhD, MS, RN

(Pronouns: she/her/hers)
  • Interim Director, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
  • Assistant Professor of Clinical Nursing


  • PhD in Human Development, 2018. University of Rochester, Warner School. Rochester, NY
  • Masters in Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing, 1991. University of Rochester, School of Nursing. Rochester, NY
  • BS, Cum Laude in Nursing, 1980. Adelphi University. Garden City, NY


Caroline S. Nestro, PhD, CNS, is an Associate Professor of Clinical Nursing at the University of Rochester School of Nursing where she focuses on the wellness of students, staff, and faculty. She received her Bachelors degree, cum laude, in Nursing at Adelphi University in 1980, her Masters of Science in Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing from the University of Rochester in 1991, and her doctorate in Human Development from the University of Rochester in 2018. She is a member of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing, the American Psychiatric Nurses Association, the Institute for Patient & Family Centered Care National Advisory Committee, the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Rochester Medical Board, and the National Alliance on Mental Illness, Rochester.

Dr. Nestro began her nursing career in medical, surgical and intensive care nursing but discovered her passion to be in psychiatric nursing where she has worked since 1984. She has worked across the continuum of mental health care using strengths-based approaches toward recovery. She incorporates the humanities into her work to foster self-confidence and connections to meaning, purpose, and to one another. She has received several awards for her clinical work including a Distinguished Community Service Award from East House, the Excellence in Psychiatric Nursing Award at Strong Memorial Hospital, and the URMC Department of Psychiatry Excellence in Clinical Care Award.

Dr. Nestro has worked in leadership roles since 1998 with large interdisciplinary teams. She was instrumental in facilitating the creation of the Department of Psychiatry Advisory Council of Consumers (DPACC) in 2006. She has received the Dr. David Satcher Community Health Improvement Award and the University of Rochester Presidential Diversity Award for her work aimed at facilitating learning and dialogue regarding inequities that are related to difference. Her scholarship focuses on the aspirations and inclusion of minoritized service employees. 

Presidential Diversity Award
University of Rochester, 2020

Inclusive Climate Leadership Fellowship
University of Rochester, 2018

Dr. David Satcher Community Health Improvement Award
University of Rochester, 2014

Excellence in Clinical Care Award
Department of Psychiatry, URMC, 2002

Excellence in Psychiatric Nursing Award
Department of Psychiatry, URMC, 1995

Distinguished Community Service Award
East House Corporation, 1990
Addressing the Mental Health Workforce Shortage
Patrick P. Lee Foundation Board Meeting, Patrick P. Lee Foundation, 2022
Buffalo, New York

“Bridging Medical and Nursing Students Together: An Interprofessional Approach to Evaluating Expectations and Outcomes of the Photo/Tiny Story Reflection Tool”
Family Roundtable of the University Committee for Interdisciplinary Studies, 2022

“Applied Theatre for Teamwork & Inclusion”
Orientation Sessions for UR Dining Services Employees, 2022

“Building Trust: Environmental Services Employees and Patient Care”
Environmental Services Co-Workers
URMC Medical Humanities Noon Conference, University of Rochester, 2021
Rochester, New York

Addressing Behavioral Health Needs in the Time of Covid - Building Partnerships and Resiliency
Institute for Patient & Family Centered Care virtual series, Institute for Patient & Family- Centered Care, 2021

Stress: Why do some people seem to cope better and how can I become one of those people?
"Got Health" Series, Co-sponsored by the URMC Center for Community Health & Prevention and the Central Library of Rochester and Monroe County, 2021
Rochester, New York

Every Patient Deserves a Voice: Deaf, Transgender and Behavioral Health PFACs
Jackie Beckerman
Press Ganey Virtual National Client Conference, Press Ganey, 2020

Advancing the Practice of Patient- and Family-Centered Care: The Roles of Executive Leaders
Consultation to the Center for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto, Institute for Patient & Family-Centered Care, 2019
Toronto, Canada

Understanding and Changing Hostile Work Environment Encounters Using Theatre of the Oppressed
5th Annual Institute for Innovative Education Team Based Care Symposium: Integrating Quality in our Unit and Healthcare Teams, 2019

Advancing and Supporting the Practice of Patient- and Family-Centered Care for Clinical Leaders”
Consultation to the Center for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto, Institute for Patient and Family-Centered Care, 2019

Courageous Leadership: Valuing Diverse Perspectives and Taking Meaningful Action
10th Annual University of Rochester Diversity Conference, 2019

Leveraging Patient and Family Advisory Councils to Improve Care
NYS Partnership for Patients, a partnership of the Healthcare Association of New York State and the Greater NY Hospital Association, 2018

Don’t touch me, you #@*#!” Using Forum Theatre to Understand Antidiscrimination Policies and Address Patient Biases
URMC HMD-GMD Faculty Development: Inpatient Discrimination, 2018
Nestro, Caroline S. (2018). “Inclusion, an Essential Condition for Flourishing in an Academic Institution: A Grounded Theory of Service Employee Perspectives and Experiences”. Dissertation.
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