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Alumnus Michael Hasselberg to Deliver UR Nursing 2023 Graduation Speech

  By Gianluca D'Elia
  Monday, April 17, 2023

A decade after earning his PhD in Nursing and Health Science here, alumnus Michael Hasselberg ’07N (MS), ’13N (PhD) will return to deliver the 2023 School of Nursing Graduation Ceremony speech on May 12.

Hasselberg, a board-certified psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner, is UR Medicine’s first chief digital health officer and an associate professor of psychiatry, clinical nursing, and data science at the University of Rochester.

Michael Hasselberg

He looks forward to highlighting the School of Nursing's history as a pioneering force in the profession, and reminding graduates that they, too, are positioned to be pioneers as the health care industry rapidly changes. 

“One of the things that makes me proud of Rochester is our ethos of innovation,” he said. “The School of Nursing has always been a pioneer, especially as one of the champions of the nurse practitioner movement. I’m excited for this graduating class, at all levels, to be innovative disruptors that make nursing sustainable as we go forward.”

Hasselberg started his nurse practitioner career working in a rural Finger Lakes town, where he recalled being one of the only psychiatric providers for six counties. 

“I served jails, nursing homes, and developed and ran an outpatient psycho-pharmacology clinic. I wouldn’t have been able to do that without my training at the School of Nursing, which provided me with the confidence and experience to be autonomous,” he said. “The lack of primary care clinicians and specialists in these communities has been my ‘why’ and has driven me throughout my career.” 

Hasselberg's experiences as a provider helped him discover two passions that he would combine later in his leadership role at UR: utilizing technology in health care, and addressing health disparities. 

After earning his PhD at the School of Nursing in 2013, Hasselberg partnered with UR’s Department of Psychiatry to launch the UR Medicine Telepsychiatry program and Project ECHO®, which leverages technology to improve access to health care for rural communities. 

As a 2018-21 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholar Fellow, Hasselberg worked with an interdisciplinary team to develop technology-enabled services that increased access to psychiatric care in outpatient behavioral health, primary care, and hospital settings across rural Allegheny County, New York. 

In 2020, Rock Health named Hasselberg among its Top 50 in Digital Health Honorees, in recognition of his work to improve health equity and provide digitally enabled care during the COVID-19 pandemic. Outside of his role at UR Medicine, he also serves as an advisor on digital health modalities to the New York State Department of Health, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and the National Quality Forum. 

School of Nursing Dean Lisa Kitko, PhD, RN, FAHA, FAAN, said she looks forward to having Hasselberg at the ceremony. 

“Preparing students to become nurse leaders is at the heart of the School of Nursing’s mission, and Dr. Hasselberg’s journey as a PhD-prepared nurse and health care leader demonstrates the numerous ways in which nurses can make an impact,” Kitko said. “Dr. Hasselberg has utilized his years of experience in nursing research and practice to help the University make significant strides toward health equity, both in and beyond Rochester.”


The School of Nursing’s graduation ceremony will take place on Friday, May 12 at 5 p.m. in Kodak Hall, located at the Eastman School of Music. Visit our graduation website for additional information. 

Categories: Nursing Leadership, Alumni, Nursing Education

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