Category Archives: Awards & Accolades

May 3 2012

Human Capital News Roundup: Babies born experiencing drug withdrawal, medication-dosing errors, permanent patients, and more.

Around the country, print, broadcast and online media outlets are covering the groundbreaking work of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) scholars, fellows and grantees. Some recent examples:

A study led by Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Clinical Scholar Stephen W. Patrick, MD, MPH, MS, has received coverage in a number of major media outlets. The first-of-its-kind study examined the increasing trend of drug withdrawal in newborns and its impact on the U.S. health care system. The number of babies born experiencing drug withdrawal increased nearly three-fold between 2000 and 2009, the study finds, and the number of pregnant women using opiate drugs at the time of delivery increased nearly five-fold. During the same period, the cost of health care for these babies nearly quadrupled. Among the outlets to cover the findings: The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, U.S. News & World Report, USA Today, NPR, CNN’s The Chart blog, and Fox News. Read more about the study.

The Post-Standard (Syracuse, N.Y.) featured the work of RWJF Executive Nurse Fellows alumna Luvenia Cowart, EdD, RN, one of nine 2012 Post-Standard Achievement Award winners, for her efforts to eliminate health disparities experienced by Syracuse’s African American community. “Since 1999 Cowart has been using black barbershops and churches as her classroom to educate people about prostate cancer, diabetes and other diseases, and the importance of exercise and healthy eating,” the newspaper reports. The winners will be honored at a luncheon May 9.

A study co-authored by RWJF Physician Faculty Scholar H. Shonna Yin, MD, MS, finds parents with poor math and reading skills are more likely than others to give their children incorrect doses of medicine, Health Day reports. The researchers found that parents with math skills at the third-grade level were nearly five times more likely to make a medication-dosing error than those with math skills at the sixth-grade level or higher. “Dosing liquid medications correctly can be especially confusing, as parents may need to understand numerical concepts such as how to convert between different units of measurement, like milliliters, teaspoons and tablespoons,” Yin said.

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Feb 27 2012

Honors, Awards, Accomplishments...

The following are among the honors received recently by Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) scholars, fellows and grantees.

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Health & Society Scholars program National Advisory Committee (NAC) member James Knickman, PhD, was among those honored by the National Hispanic Health Foundation as an outstanding role model who has transformed health care for underserved communities.

Amelie G. Ramirez, DrPH, also a member of the Health & Society Scholars program NAC was named to a panel of external advisors for the National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity Research.

Mary Mazanec, MD, JD, an alumna of the RWJF Health Policy Fellows program, has been named the new director of the Library of Congress’ Congressional Research Service.

Health Policy Fellows alumna Nancy Ridenour, PhD, RN, was named New Mexico Distinguished Nurse of the Year (2011) by the New Mexico Center for Nursing Excellence.

The University of New Mexico announced the selection of Health Policy Fellows alumnus Robert G. Frank, PhD, as its new president. Frank will take office in June 2012.

RWJF Nurse Faculty Scholar Maria Katapodi, PhD, RN, is the project director of a multidisciplinary team at the University of Michigan that received a three-year, $900,000 grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to study methods to increase cancer screening by young breast cancer survivors and their high-risk female relatives.

Kathleen Stevens, EdD, RN, FAAN, an RWJF Interdisciplinary Nursing Quality Research Initiative (INQRI) grantee, received the nursing honor society Sigma Theta Tau International’s Episteme Award. It is one of nursing’s most prestigious research honors. As part of the award, Stevens will be inducted into the International Nurse Researcher Hall of Fame in July 2012 at the society’s 23rd International Nursing Research Congress in Australia.

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Jan 30 2012

RWJF Announces Most Influential Research Articles of 2011: Nurse Faculty Scholar Study is Among Them

The results are in! The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) asked you to help choose the most influential research conducted by RWJF grantees in 2011, and the results have been announced. More than 2,200 people from all 50 states, plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, voted.

Among those selected for the “Final 5” Most Influential Research Articles of 2011 was a study led by RWJF Nurse Faculty Scholar Matthew D. McHugh, PhD, JD, MPH, RN, CRNP, an assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing. McHugh is the only nurse among the finalists.

The study, published in Health Affairs, found that nurses caring directly for patients in hospitals or nursing homes have higher job dissatisfaction and burnout than nurses in other settings. Patient satisfaction levels were also lower in settings in which more nurses were unhappy with their work environments.

“A good place for nurses to work is a good place for patients to receive care,” McHugh says. “Improving the work environment for nurses leads to more satisfied nurses who are more likely to stay in their job. Patients cared for in these environments have better health outcomes and are more satisfied with their care.”

McHugh published the study at the start of his term as an RWJF Scholar. “The Nurse Faculty Scholars program has been great,” he says. “It’s allowed me to expand my focus and move in new directions. I’m doing research that will help explain root causes of racial and ethnic disparities in health outcomes based on where people live, where they get hospital care, and differences in nursing in the hospitals where they receive care.”

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Jan 26 2012

Human Capital News Roundup: Benefits of living alone, screening for osteoporosis, the impact of racism on health, and more.

Here’s a sampling of recent news coverage of the work of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Scholars and Fellows:

Smithsonian Magazine interviewed Eric Klinenberg, PhD, recipient of a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Investigator Award in Health Policy Research, about his new book “Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone.” Klinenberg and his research team conducted more than 300 interviews for the book and concluded that living alone can have benefits for an individual and for society as a whole.

Gary Taubes, MSE, MS, an Investigator Award winner and author of “Why We Get Fat,” wrote a letter to the New York Times in response to an article on obesity and calorie consumption. His letter was co-signed by more than 250 medical experts. Read more about Taubes’ research.

A study by Geri Dickson, PhD, RN, and Linda Flynn, PhD, RN, FAAN, grantees of the RWJF Interdisciplinary Nursing Quality Research Initiative (INQRI), continues to receive media coverage. “It seems each new study that examines a particular facet of nursing also reinforces the notion that nurses are the backbone of healthcare delivery in the United States,” Health Leaders Media writes. “The common sense findings in a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation study this month underscore the importance of nurses' critical thinking skills as the key component in reducing errors and improving outcomes.”

INQRI grantee Mary Beth Happ, PhD, RN, commented to the Associated Press about how severe mental disability may affect a patient’s probability of receiving a kidney transplant. Happ’s research focuses on communication with non-vocal patients.

Bone density scans to check for osteoporosis may not be necessary for half of women over age 67, according to a study led by Margaret Gourlay, MD, MPH, an alumna of the RWJF Clinical Scholars program. The study’s findings suggest that women who show no or very little bone loss on their first scan may not need another bone density scan for 15 years, NPR’s Shots blog reports.

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Nov 30 2011

Honors, Awards, Accomplishments...

The following are among the honors received recently by RWJF Scholars, Fellows and Grantees.

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Clinical Scholars program alumnus Christopher Elias, MD, MPH, has been named president of The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Global Development Program.

RWJF Executive Nurse Fellow Kim Moore, RN, MSN, assumed the role of president and chief executive officer of Saint Elizabeth Regional Medical Center in Lincoln, Nebraska, in September. Previously, Moore served as the Medical Center’s chief operating officer and chief nursing officer.

Judy Berry, a RWJF Community Health Leader and founder of Lakeview Ranch, is a 2011 Purpose Prize fellow for her work with people suffering from dementia. The Purpose Prize is awarded by Civic Ventures, and recognizes extraordinary contributions in “encore” or second careers.

RWJF Nurse Faculty Scholar Alison Colbert, PhD, APRN, BC, received the Junior Investigator Award from the Public Health Nursing Section of the American Public Health Association (APHA), at the organization’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C. Read more about the meeting and the RWJF scholars who were featured there.

Jacquelyn Taylor, PhD, PNP-BC, RN, FAAN, also a Nurse Faculty Scholar, was presented with the 2011 International Society of Nurses in Genetics Founders Award, in recognition of her contributions to genetics research and nursing.

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Nov 10 2011

Honoring the 2011 Community Health Leaders


Last night at a ceremony in Baltimore, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) president and CEO Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD, MBA, announced the recipients of RWJF’s 2011 Community Health Leaders award. Like their fellow recipients over the past 17 years, the 2011 honorees are men and women who have overcome daunting odds to improve the health and quality of life of people living in disadvantaged and underserved communities across the country.

Many of the 10 local heroes singled out for this year’s honor took their inspiration from personal experience—a loved one’s illness, for example. Others are medical professionals who confronted a conspicuous failing in the system and devised a ground-level solution.

In one example, 2011 Community Health Leader Andrea Ivory was motivated by her own experience with breast cancer. Over the course of her diagnosis and treatment, she came to a keen appreciation of the importance of early detection. Today, volunteers at the Women’s Breast Health Initiative, which Ivory created in her hometown of Miami Lakes, Fla., go door to door – knocking on 500 doors a week, in fact – to educate women about breast cancer and the importance of early detection, and to help connect women to low- or no-cost mammograms.

Zane Gates, MD, who lived in housing projects in Altoona, Pa., as a child, made it to and through medical school, then moved back to his hometown to start a free clinic for the working poor – people who can’t afford private coverage but who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid. Later, he founded Partnering for Health Services in Altoona, which provides access to free health care to about 3,500 people a year, relying on eight volunteer doctors and a handful of paid staff. The clinic offers care and medication, and allows patients to purchase hospital-only insurance coverage for $99 a month to cover surgery and inpatient care at Altoona Regional Health System hospitals.

Those are two stories among 10, and each is as compelling as the next. Their tales lay bare the scope of the problems confronting the nation’s health care system, while reminding us of the enormous reach of a determined individual. As Lavizzo-Mourey put it, “These individuals represent the best of America. Each of our 2011 Community Health Leaders identified a dire need in their community and took personal and professional risks to address that need. They are helping the people in their communities to live healthier, better lives.”

Learn more about the 2011 Community Health Leaders here.

Oct 30 2011

A Prestigious Gathering, an Honor, and an Impressive Showing for RWJF

By Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, president and CEO, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation


Every year, the American Public Health Association (APHA) annual meeting features some of the best and brightest minds in health and health care. Taking place in Washington, D.C. from October 29 to November 2, it is a cutting edge event that advances critical research, helps shape policy and practice, and stimulates thinking on some of the most pressing health issues of our time. APHA notes that it is the oldest and largest gathering of public health professionals and, in my experience it is easily one of the most influential. I am very proud that, this year, it will feature dozens of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) scholars, fellows, alumni, grantees, staff and others who have been touched by Foundation programs.

Perhaps most exciting is that Melvin D. Shipp, OD, MPH, DrPH, a former RWJF Health Policy Fellow (1989-1990), is beginning his term as president of this prestigious organization. Shipp is dean of The Ohio State University College of Optometry and past president of the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry. He will hold the APHA leadership position for two years, and I know he will do great things during that time. At the meeting, Shipp will lead a session on the Health Policy Fellows program, explaining the experience and its impact on participants.

Among the many others from the RWJF “family” who will be featured at the annual meeting are:

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Oct 19 2011

Honors, Awards, Accomplishments...

The following are among the honors received recently by RWJF Scholars, Fellows and Grantees.

Amelie Ramirez, DrPH, one of the newest members of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Health & Society Scholars program National Advisory Committee, has been named a White House “Champion of Change” for her work to reduce cancer health disparities among Latinos.

Aubrey Morrison, MD, a member of the National Advisory Committee for the RWJF Harold Amos Medical Faculty Development Program, is the recipient of the 2012 American College of Physicians Award for Outstanding Work in Science as Related to Medicine. He has also been named a Master of the American College of Physicians.

RWJF Executive Nurse Fellows alumna Laura Anderko, PhD, RN, was chosen to serve on one of 10 councils of the National Partnership for Action to End Health Disparities, an initiative of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Minority Health.

Several scholars and alumni of the RWJF Scholars in Health Policy Research program received awards at the American Political Science Association (APSA) and the American Sociological Association (ASA) annual meetings. Among them:

Alice Goffman, PhD, won ASA’s best Dissertation Award for 2011. She is the fifth scholar in the program to achieve this distinction.

Trevon Logan, PhD, an economist, won an ASA Distinguished Article Award in the Sexualities section.

Ann Keller, PhD, won APSA’s Don K. Price Award, given for the best book in science and technology politics published in the past three years.

Other Scholars in Health Policy Research awards from the APSA and ASA annual meetings include...

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Sep 19 2011

Honors, Awards, Accomplishments...

The following are among the recent milestones achieved by RWJF scholars and alumni.

Karen Hein, MD, an alumna of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Health Policy Fellows program, was appointed by Vermont governor Peter Shumlin to the Green Mountain Care Board—the five-member panel established by the state’s recent health care reform law that will work to replace private insurance with a state plan. The Vermont Press Bureau reports that Governor Shumlin “called Hein one of Vermont’s hidden gems.”

Two RWJF grantees received NIH Research Career Development in Comparative Effectiveness Research (KM1) Awards from the Center for Health Care Improvement and Patient Safety at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. Alison Buttenheim, PhD, is an alumna of the RWJF Health & Society Scholars program, and Eileen Lake, PhD, RN, FAAN, is a former grantee of the RWJF Interdisciplinary Nursing Quality Research Initiative (INQRI).

Current INQRI grantee Nancy Dunton, PhD, was named one of four honorary fellows of the American Academy of Nursing. The honorary fellows will be celebrated during the American Academy of Nursing's annual conference and meeting on October 15.

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Sep 14 2011

RWJF Health & Society Scholar Named to White House Fellows Program

Wizdom Powell, PhD, a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Health & Society Scholar (2005-2007) has been chosen for the prestigious White House Fellows program. The nonpartisan program is designed to offer hands-on, up-close experience in government, with participants working at senior levels of the Executive Branch of the federal government. According to the White House, “Selected individuals typically spend a year working as a full-time, paid Fellow to senior White House Staff, Cabinet Secretaries and other top-ranking government officials. Fellows also participate in an education program consisting of roundtable discussions with renowned leaders from the private and public sectors, and trips to study U.S. policy in action both domestically and internationally.”

Powell is currently on leave from her post as an assistant professor of health behavior and health education at the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill Gillings School of Global Public Health, and from her position as a UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center faculty member. Her research focuses on the impact of neighborhood, health care and socioeconomic resources on racial health disparities, and she has focused particularly on health disparities among African American men. Earlier this year, she presented findings from her recent work at a gathering of current and alumni Health & Society Scholars at the National Institutes of Health.

Powell will spend her fellowship at the U.S. Department of Defense.

She is the second Health & Society Scholar to be named to the program, following in the footsteps of Mehret Mandefro, MD, MSc, from the 2007-2009 cohort, who served in the Department of Veterans Affairs as part of the 2009-2010 class of White House Fellows. In addition, four RWJF Clinical Scholars have served as White House Fellows.