The Next Generation of Leaders in Academic Nursing

    • September 27, 2012

Twelve talented junior nursing faculty from across the country have been chosen as the fifth cohort of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Nurse Faculty Scholars. Each scholar will receive a three-year $350,000 grant to pursue research, leadership training in all aspects of the faculty role, and mentoring from senior faculty at his or her institution over three years. The award is given to junior faculty who show outstanding promise as future leaders in academic nursing. 

The prestigious Nurse Faculty Scholars program aims to strengthen the academic productivity and overall excellence of nursing schools. It is providing $28 million to five cohorts of outstanding junior nursing faculty to promote their academic careers, support their research, and reduce the severe nurse faculty shortage that is facing the nation.

The scholars chosen this year are conducting a range of studies, looking at issues ranging from the impact of nurse work environments on nurse work outcomes and quality of patient care, to the relationship between sleep and obesity in adolescents, to the representation of minorities in genomic research, to pregnancy planning and prenatal experiences among low-income, ethnically diverse women, and more.

“Every one of our new RWJF Nurse Faculty Scholars has tremendous talent and deep dedication to educating professional nurses and improving health and health care in this country,” said Jacquelyn Campbell, PhD, RN, FAAN, national program director for the RWJF Nurse Faculty Scholars program.  “We look forward to working with this new group as they help increase the body of nursing research, strengthen the academy, and advance the nation’s health.”  Campbell is Anna D. Wolf Chair and professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing, which provides technical direction to the program, and a pioneering researcher on the health consequences of intimate partner violence.

Supporting junior nurse faculty will help address a shortage of nurse educators that could undermine the health and health care of all Americans. The Affordable Care Act will vastly increase the number of people who can access health care in the United States. As the number of patients increases, there will be greater demand for skilled nurses as well as faculty to educate them.  Right now, many schools of nursing are turning away qualified applicants because they do not have the faculty to teach them.  The RWJF Nurse Faculty Scholars program is helping curb the nurse faculty shortage by helping more junior faculty succeed in, and commit to, academic careers.

The program strives to increase the racial, ethnic, and gender diversity of nursing by fostering leadership skills among diverse scholars.

To receive the award, scholars must be registered nurses who have completed a research doctorate in nursing or a related discipline and who have held a tenure-eligible faculty position at an accredited nursing school for at least two and no more than five years.

This year’s Nurse Faculty Scholars program award recipients and their research projects are:

·         Adejoke Ayoola, PhD, RN, Calvin College. Her research is a community-driven intervention to promote reproductive knowledge for better pregnancy planning and prenatal experiences among low-income, ethnically diverse women at risk of unintended pregnancy.

·         Taura Barr, PhD, RN, West Virginia University School of Nursing and Emergency Medicine. Her research is centered on the use of genomic methodologies to identify biomarkers of cardiovascular disease, understand their relationship with post-stroke inflammation, and define the contributing environmental factors related to cardiovascular health disparities in underserved populations. 

·         Susan Breitenstein, PhD, RN, PMHCNS-BC, Rush University College of Nursing. She is currently developing and testing a digital delivery system for a parent-training program for low-income, ethnic minority parents of young children.

·         Elizabeth Gross Cohn, RN, DNS, Columbia University. Her research project explores the representation of minorities in genomic research. Its underlying goal is to assure that the findings of genomic research contribute as much as possible to health equity.

·         Maja Djukic, PhD, RN, New York University College of Nursing.  Her research focuses on social and physical aspects of nurse work environments on nurse work outcomes and quality of patient care delivery.

·         LuAnn Etcher PhD, RN, Wayne State University College of Nursing. Her research is focused on finding ways to specifically detect and manage circadian-based symptoms associated with dementia.

·         Jason Farley, PhD, MPH, CRNP, Johns Hopkins University.  His research focuses on HIV and the epidemiology, prevention and management of associated drug-resistant co-infections such as Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus and multi-drug resistant tuberculosis.

·         Matthew Gallek, PhD, RN, CNRN, College of Nursing, University of Arizona.  The goal of his research is to use genetics/genomics to influence nursing care and practice in the management of patients suffering from brain injury.

·         Gordon Lee Gillespie, PhD, PHCNS-BC, FAEN, University of Cincinnati. His primary research interest is the promotion of resilience and psychological health in emergency department workers.

·         Cheryl L. Woods Giscombé, PhD, PMHNP, School of Nursing, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  Her research focuses on stress-related health behaviors, psychoneuroendocrine biomarkers, and sociocultural contextual factors that contribute to health disparities in African Americans.

·         Timothy Landers, PhD, RN, CNP, College of Nursing, The Ohio State University.  His research focuses on the epidemiology and prevention of antibiotic resistant infections, reducing transmission through application of hand hygiene to inpatients, and exploring the role that interactions with companion animals might play in transmitting resistant organisms.

·         Andrea M. Landis, PhD, RN, ARNP, University of Washington School of Nursing. Her research addresses the relationship between sleep and obesity in adolescents, examining the effects of sleep deprivation on body composition, diet, food cravings, activity, metabolic and endocrine function, and stress in a group of adolescents. 

Learn more about the RWJF Nurse Faculty Scholars program.
For an overview of RWJF scholar and fellow opportunities, visit