RWJF Awards 15 Nurse Faculty Scholars Research and Mentoring Support

    • September 11, 2008

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) awarded the first round of grants to 15 junior faculty nurses from around the country to develop the next generation of academic nurse leaders and strengthen the academic productivity and overall excellence of schools of nursing.     

The RWJF Nurse Faculty Scholars program will provide $28 million over the next five years to outstanding junior nurse faculty to promote academic careers and thereby address the nursing faculty shortage that contributes to the national nursing shortage. Although there has been a rise in applicants in recent years, nursing schools have turned away thousands of prospective students because of an acute shortage of faculty and clinical preceptors, training sites, space and funding constraints.  The Foundation’s Nurse Faculty Scholars program is working to strengthen the link between institutional reputation and faculty success by providing research funds and career development opportunities for junior faculty.   

“If we want to address the serious shortage of nurses in this country, we must focus on recruiting more nurse educators to the classroom and retaining them in the academic setting,” says RWJF President Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, M.D., M.B.A.  “This program fits squarely into the Foundation’s goal to build a new generation of nurse leaders among academic faculty so we can stop turning away nursing school applicants who are sorely needed to meet an increasing patient demand.”  The Nurse Faculty Scholars program falls under the Foundation's Human Capital Portfolio, whose strategic goals include building diversity in the health professions and addressing the nursing faculty shortage.  

Each of the 15 nursing faculty selected for this inaugural round for the program will receive a three-year grant of up to $350,000 to help them advance as educators and scholars in their field by providing mentorship, leadership training, salary and research support. This year’s scholars will examine a diverse range of health care related topics, from health disparities in high-poverty urban neighborhoods to vitamin D deficiency among pregnant women in the rural northern plains.

Scholars will  have  opportunities to advance their  research and teaching skills; work with institutional and national mentors; participate in a variety of leadership activities; and network with other scholars and experts in their own and related fields.  Most importantly, scholars will receive the essential protected time they need to conduct their own research and acquire the critical skills necessary to pursue a career in academic nursing.

“This program is not just a major boost to the careers of these junior nursing scholars, it is an enhancement to nursing science, the healthcare system and our nation as a whole,” says Jacquelyn Campbell, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, Anna D. Wolf Chair and a Professor in the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing, which will administer the program. “These scholars are the future leaders of academic nursing.”  Dr. Campbell, who directs the program, says these scholars “will serve as important role models for students and practicing nurses to generate interest in and increase the numbers of nurses who want to pursue a career as nursing faculty.” 

In addition to their role as ambassadors for nursing education, Dr. Campbell says each of the scholars has the potential to advance nursing science either through changing health policy or developing evidence-based practices for nurses in the field. Campbell will work with a National Advisory Committee of leading nursing and interdisciplinary researchers and academicians. Dr. Angela Barron McBride, former Dean of the Indiana University School of Nursing in Indianapolis, is chair of the National Advisory Committee.

The list of 2008 RWJF Nurse Faculty Scholars and their research projects:

  • Dr. Angela Amar, Boston College, An Ecological Approach to Help Seeking Behavior;
  • Dr. Cindy Anderson, University of North Dakota, Vitamin D Status during Preeclampsia:  Mechanisms Underlying Placental Vascular Alterations;
  • Dr. Robert Atkins, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Adolescents as Healthy Agents and Consumers; the Knowledge, Behavior, Attitudes, and Experiences of Youth living in High-Poverty Urban Neighborhoods;
  • Dr. Nancy Hanrahan, University of Pennsylvania, Organizational Quality of Patient Care Environments, Nurse Staffing, and Nurse Outcomes in Psychiatric Hospital Settings;
  • Dr. Kathryn Laughon, University of Virginia, A Test of an Innovative Computerized Safety Planning Aid for Survivors of Intimate Partner Violence;
  • Dr. Jennifer Runquist, University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, Relationship of Postpartum Sleep Deprivation to Later Mental Health in Lower Income Urban Women;
  • Dr. Teresa Sakraida, University of Colorado Denver, Self Management of Type II Diabetes and Chronic Kidney Disease;
  • Dr. AkkeNeel Talsma, Regents of the University of Michigan, Evaluation of the Relationship Between Microsystems Aimed at Understanding Nursing Care Processes and Patient Safety;
  • Dr. Jacquelyn Taylor, Yale University, Early Gene-Environment Risks for High Blood Pressure Among African American Children;
  • Dr. Diane Von Ah, Indiana University, Memory Training Intervention for Breast Cancer Survivors;
  • Dr. Kynna Wright - Volel, Regents of the University of California, Reducing Health Disparities Among Overweight Latino Youth Using a Community Based Participatory Research Model;
  • Dr. Ying Xue, University of Rochester, Studies of Supplemental Nurse Staffing;
  • Dr. Devon Berry, University of Cincinnati, Religiosity, Risk, and Emerging Adulthood;
  • Dr. Joachim Voss, University of Washington, Biomarker Development for Fatigue in HIV; and
  • Dr. Jennifer Wenzel, Johns Hopkins University, Building Support for Older Rural African Americans with Cancer.

The scholars will conduct their research projects while teaching at their respective universities. Their fellowship also will allow them to participate in leadership training activities, the first of which is provided by Outward Bound Professional in Colorado.

More than 70 candidates applied for the program. Applicants are required to be junior faculty members with at least two but no more than five years of experience in a faculty role.

The 2009 call for proposals will be released in late fall 2008. Proposals will be due early in 2009. Potential applicants should visit www.rwjfnursefacultyscholars.org for more information about the program.


The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation focuses on the pressing health and health care issues facing our country. As the nation’s largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to improving the health and health care of all Americans, the Foundation works with a diverse group of organizations and individuals to identify solutions and achieve comprehensive, meaningful and timely change. For more than 35 years the Foundation has brought experience, commitment, and a rigorous, balanced approach to the problems that affect the health and health care of those it serves. When it comes to helping Americans lead healthier lives and get the care they need, the Foundation expects to make a difference in your lifetime. For more information, visit www.rwjf.org

The Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing is a global leader in nursing research, education and scholarship and is ranked fourth among U.S. nursing schools. Our community health program is second in the nation and the nursing research program now holds seventh position among nursing schools securing federal research grants. The School is recognized for its reputation of excellence in educating nurses who set the highest standards for patient care, exemplify scholarship and become innovative national and international leaders in the evolution of the nursing profession and the health care system.  For more information, visit http://www.son.jhmi.edu/.