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University of Mobile College of Health Professions Names New Dean, Enrolling Now for New Doctor of Nursing Practice Program

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MOBILE, Ala. – Healthcare executive and industry leader Rita Croom has joined University of Mobile as dean of the College of Health Professions and assistant vice president for academic partnerships.

She leads the university’s rapidly expanding healthcare program that includes the new Doctor of Nursing Practice and a state-of-the-art Center for Excellence in Healthcare Practice set to open as the academic year begins this fall.

University of Mobile President Timothy L. Smith said Croom will be an asset to the university as well as the south Alabama region.

“Rita Croom is a dynamic leader with extensive experience in major healthcare corporations and in Christian higher education. She has a passion for developing partnerships among healthcare organizations, business and the university that create new opportunities for innovative learning to meet the workforce needs of today and in the future,” Smith said.

The University of Mobile College of Health Professions includes the School of Nursing, School of Health and Sports Science, and School of Allied Health.

Croom said she is excited about the many opportunities the university’s new facilities provide through high-tech “living laboratories” where students gain practice learning experiences to enrich the learning process. Students will have access to a variety of living laboratories, including an augmented reality human patient simulation laboratory and high fidelity patient simulators.

The university’s newest academic offerings include the Doctor of Nursing Practice in the School of Nursing.

“Our new Doctor of Nursing Practice program is enrolling now for fall semester, along with our bachelor’s and master’s programs in nursing,” Croom said. “The College of Health Professions offers the Doctor of Nursing Practice with tracks in Family Nurse Practitioner or Executive Leadership. Students may enroll in the BSN-DNP or MSN-DNP degree programs. The program is online with on-campus intensives interspersed throughout the curriculum to enhance hands-on experience and networking with other leaders in nursing.”

Applications are being accepted at For more information, contact Rita Croom directly at  731.617.1175 or email

Previously, Croom served as corporate vice president and chief experience officer at RCCH HealthCare Partners in Tennessee, a system that includes 19 hospitals located in 13 states, with 16,000 employees and 1,500 physicians. She initiated and led a variety of programs and strategies that improved patient experience, developed a culture of service and enhanced financial accountability, among other accomplishments.

She has served as corporate senior vice president and chief experience officer at Capella Healthcare in Tennessee, where she led service excellence and leadership development strategies while ensuring nine hospitals in six states effectively implemented proven service tactics.

As a consultant with HCA/TriStar, she developed and led the TriStar Nurse Residency Orientation Program for eight TriStar Nashville area hospitals, and created a leadership development program for 18 hospitals.

At Union University, where Smith served as dean of the School of Nursing, Croom was director of business development and marketing for the Center for Excellence Healthcare Practice, and established global development opportunities by developing an international healthcare summit in Gujarat, India, with the Indian government.

She is completing a Doctor of Science-Health-Services Administration at University of Alabama-Birmingham and holds the Master of Business Administration and Bachelor of Science in organizational leadership, both from Union University.

Croom holds many certifications, including CPXP, Certified Patient Experience Professional designation, Patient Experience Institute; SHRM-CP, Society for Human Resources Management Certification; Certificate in Leadership Excellence from the Owen School of Management at Vanderbilt University; and Certificate in LEAN Healthcare from Belmont University, among others.


About University of Mobile

University of Mobile is a Christ-centered liberal arts and sciences institution with a vision of higher education for a higher purpose, founded to honor God by equipping students for their future professions through rigorous academic preparation and spiritual transformation. Core values are: Christ-Centered, Academically-Focused, Student-Devoted and Distinctively-Driven. The university offers on-campus and online bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs in over 90 areas of study. Founded in 1961, University of Mobile is affiliated with the Alabama Baptist State Convention and is located 10 miles north of Mobile, Alabama on a campus of over 880 acres.


For more information about University of Mobile, visit the website at or call Enrollment Services at 1.800.WIN.RAMS or 251.442.2222.

About the Author

Kathy Dean

Kathy Dean is assistant vice president for university communications and has helped tell the University of Mobile story since 1993. She is an award-winning public relations professional and former journalist. Her husband and daughter are UM graduates. She loves playing in the yard – planting flowers, picking blueberries, pulling weeds and petting her two mini-schnauzers.

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