“I felt like a rock star.”
That is how Joachim Voss, Ph.D., R.N., A.C.R.N., a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Nurse Faculty Scholar (2008 - 2011), describes how he felt at an awards ceremony honoring his skills as a mentor. An assistant professor of nursing at the University of Washington, Voss received the 2010 Undergraduate Research Mentor Award last month. He was the first professor from the School of Nursing ever to receive the honor.
Dean and Vice Provost for Undergraduate Academic Affairs Ed Taylor and former Washington Governor Daniel J. Evans presented the award to Voss and four other faculty members at the annual Undergraduate Research Symposium. The award is open to all faculty members at the University of Washington, which has 3,600 instructional faculty.
Students nominate the award winners. In Voss’ case, it was senior Anella Yahiaoui who wrote to the Undergraduate Research Mentor Award committee: “For the three years that I have been working for Joachim Voss, he has never failed to continually offer his support and encouragement in my professional and academic life… I cannot express enough how lucky I am to have him as a mentor, for he is truly not only a brilliant nurse, but also a wonderful person.” She conducts research under Voss’ guidance.
“I’m very proud of these students,” Voss said. “Especially when your students take this kind of initiative, it really shows me how much they’ve grown… and what a connection we have. They are interested, they are excited, they are challenged… [As a mentor I’m] almost like a parent in disguise.”
Voss’ research as a Nurse Faculty Scholar focuses on HIV-related symptom management of fatigue and the identification of biomarkers for fatigue. The three undergraduate research students in his lab this year have been supporting this research and working on related topics. “He has taught me more than I could have ever imagined both in the field of HIV/AIDS and beyond,” Yahiaoui wrote.
The RWJF Nurse Faculty Scholars program aims to curb the effects of the nursing shortage by helping more junior faculty succeed in, and commit to, academic careers. The new program is providing talented junior faculty like Voss with salary and research support, as well as the chance to participate in institutional and national mentoring activities, leadership training, and networking events with colleagues in nursing and other fields. The Scholars continue to teach and provide institutional, professional and community service at their universities.
Several other Scholars from this new program have received honors and awards recently.
Angela Amar, R.N., Ph.D., of the William F. Connell School of Nursing at Boston College; Cynthia Anderson, Ph.D., W.H.N.P., an assistant professor at the College of Nursing at the University of North Dakota; and Nancy Hanrahan, R.N., Ph.D., an assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing will be inducted into the American Academy of Nursing this fall. Amar is using her RWJF grant to research the factors that encourage college women to report interpersonal violence; Anderson is looking at vitamin D deficiency in pregnant women from the rural, northern plains; and Hanrahan is studying outcomes from patients who are admitted to hospitals to receive psychiatric services.
Scholar Kynna Wright-Volel, Ph.D., M.S.N., M.P.H., an assistant professor at the UCLA School of Nursing, won the Minority Health Community Trailblazer Award in 2009. It is given by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in recognition of work to eliminate health disparities.