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Franklin Shaffer

President and Chief Executive Officer

CGFNS International, Inc.

Franklin A. Shaffer is President and Chief Executive Officer of CGFNS International, Inc. (CGFNS, formerly known as the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools), the world’s leading standards-setting and credentials evaluation organization for nursing and allied health professions. During his tenure at CGFNS, Dr. Shaffer has advanced the organization beyond the United States into six countries and expanded the professions encompassed from six to fifteen. For 60 years, Dr. Shaffer has led a varied and progressive nursing career that has seamlessly interconnected clinical practice, administration, education, research and consultation, regulation, credentialing, standards and quality, and global collaboration. His career trajectory has improved the lives and image of nurses, whether through academics or work in sectors outside of mainstream nursing, from travel nurses to migrating and foreign-educated nurses and refugees; he has challenged norms in the profession.

Dr. Shaffer’s path-paving doctoral research on diagnosis-related groups led to seminal work that acknowledged the fiduciary aspects of nursing in healthcare economics and finance. Today, health systems and universities worldwide recognize Dr. Shaffer’s premise that nursing is not just an organizational cost but a source of revenue and value. As evidence of Dr. Shaffer's impact, the United Nations (UN) recently recognized nursing as an asset vs. a cost and established the High-Level Commission on Health Employment and Economic Growth.


Dr. Shaffer drives effective global and national policy on migration, human resources for health, and ethical recruitment via advocacy, research, and consultation, in particular via CGFNS’ Alliance for Ethical International Recruitment Practices and the International Centre on Nurse Migration. He is an international authority on nursing education, standards, migration, and credentials evaluation and is a frequent speaker at meetings and conferences globally. Dr. Shaffer is an NGO representative to the UN, World Health Organization, and the International Council of Nursing. He was recently appointed to serve on the Board of the Conference of NGOs in Consultative Relationship with the UN (CoNGO), the leading voice for civil society within the UN system. 


As an author, Dr. Shaffer has extensively researched and published on international topics such as global nurse migration trends, sustainable development, global health, and ethical recruitment. He has authored and co-authored eight books and over 200 publications. Dr. Shaffer serves on several leading professional journals and editorial boards. He is a Visiting Scholar at Tor Vergata University in Rome, Italy, and the University of Our Lady of Good Counsel in Tirana, Albania, and an Adjunct Faculty at the University of Minnesota School of Nursing, the M. Louise Fitzpatrick College of Nursing at Villanova University, and the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing. He also serves on the faculty of Nursing and Midwifery at the Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland and at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing’s Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research. He is the former President of the Friends of the National Institute of Nursing Research’s Board.


After completing a three-year nursing diploma program at Mercer Hospital School of Nursing in 1965 as its first male graduate (and a first-generation student), Dr. Shaffer was a trailblazer who went on to earn a baccalaureate degree in nursing from East Stroudsburg University in 1975, as well as two masters’ and a doctoral degree in nursing education and administration from Teachers College, Columbia University in 1978, 1979, and 1983, respectively. He reached the rank of 1st Lieutenant and Head Nurse with the U.S. Army. Dr. Shaffer was inducted into the American Academy of Nursing in 2004and is a member of Sigma Theta Tau.

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