Sixteen Nursing PhD Candidates Selected to Receive Future of Nursing Scholars Program Scholarships

    • September 8, 2014

Philadelphia, Pa.—The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) today announced the first 16 nurses who are receiving scholarships through its Future of Nursing Scholars program to pursue PhDs in nursing. The students were selected by schools of nursing that have received grants to provide those scholarships. Each Future of Nursing Scholar will receive financial support, mentoring, and leadership development over the three years of her or his PhD program.

In its landmark nursing report, the Institute of Medicine recommended that the country double the number of nurses with doctorates; doing so will support more nurse leaders, promote nurse-led science and discovery, and put more educators in place to prepare the next generation of nurses.

“The scholars who comprise our inaugural cohort are highly dedicated nurses who are excited about the opportunity to address important questions in health care, lead the transformation of our health care system, and help build a Culture of Health,” said Susan Hassmiller, PhD, RN, FAAN, co-director of the program and RWJF’s senior adviser for nursing. “They are surely among our best and brightest. This program will give them the resources and support they need to complete their PhDs and to join the ranks of the many nurse leaders that the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has invested in over the last four decades.”

Last month, the new Future of Nursing Scholars attended a two-day orientation session at which they learned more about the program and each other, and participated in sessions intended to help them build the skills they will need in their PhD programs. The scholars are in the initial stages of selecting the focus of their doctoral research. Those range from infection control in the elderly population to the impact of stigma on people with mental illness to the quality of life of children with implanted defibrillators.

Fewer than 30,000 (or 1%) of the nation’s more than 3 million nurses have doctoral degrees in nursing or a related field.  While enrollment in doctor of nursing practice (DNP) programs has risen dramatically over the past few years, enrollment in PhD programs has been relatively flat. In addition, the average age at which nurses get their PhDs in the United States is 46—13 years older than PhD earners in other fields. This program will provide an incentive for nurses to start PhD programs earlier, so that they can have long leadership careers after earning their PhDs.

“We are proud to support such a diverse and committed group of nurses on their doctoral journeys,” said Julie Fairman, PhD, RN, FAAN, Future of Nursing Scholars program co-director. “It’s important to note that we could not have launched this program without investments from several funders who are partnering with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to support these exceptional nurse scholars. We intend to grow that group of partners and next year, we will support up to 75 Future of Nursing Scholars.” Fairman is also the Nightingale Professor of Nursing and Director of the Barbara Bates Center for the Study of the History of Nursing at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing.

In addition to RWJF, United Health Foundation, Independence Blue Cross Foundation, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, and the Rhode Island Foundation are supporting the Future of Nursing Scholars grants to schools of nursing this year.

The nurses selected for Future of Nursing Scholars scholarships are:

Supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation:

  • Duke University: Brittney Sullivan, MSN, CPNP and Rose Mary Xavier, MS, RN, PMHNP-BC
  • The Johns Hopkins University: Sarah J. Allgood, BSN, RN
  • Medical University of South Carolina: Desiree R. Bertrand, MSN, RN
  • University of California, Davis: Sarah Brown Blake, RN, MS
  • University of California, Los Angeles: Nhu Tran, RN, BSN, MSN, CCRN, CCRP
  • University of California, San Francisco: Alexis Chettiar, RN, MSN, ACNP-BC
  • University of Cincinnati: Daniel Arthur Lincoln Hopgood, BSN, RN
  • University of Illinois at Chicago: Laren Riesche, BS, MSN, RN
  • University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston: Latia Michelle Wade Hickerson, MPH, MSN, RN, WHNP-BC

Supported by Independence Blue Cross Foundation:

  • University of Pennsylvania: Liz Novack, RN, BSN and Stephen Perez, RN, MS, NP
  • Villanova University: Faith Ikarede Atte, RN, MSN

Supported by United Health Foundation:

  • Columbia University: Sainfer Aliyu, RN MS

Supported by Cedars-Sinai Medical Center:

  • University of San Diego: Millicent G. De Jesus, MSN, RN-BC

Supported by Rhode Island Foundation:

  • University of Rhode Island: Pamela L. McCue, MS, RN

Media Contacts

Melissa Blair

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (609) 627-5937

Additional Media Contact: Gretchen Wright

(202) 371-1999