Duquesne University’s Colbert Named a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation ‘Nurse Faculty Scholar’

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August 31, 2010                                                                           202/371-1999
Duquesne University’s Colbert Named a
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation ‘Nurse Faculty Scholar’
Community Health Researcher Studying Formerly Incarcerated Women is Selected for Prestigious Program to Advance Careers of Nation’s Most Promising Junior Nurse Faculty
Pittsburgh—Alison Colbert, Ph.D., an assistant professor at the School of Nursing at Duquesne University, has won a competitive grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) to develop interventions to improve the health of incarcerated women as they re-enter society. Colbert is one of just 12 nurse educators from around the country to receive the three-year $350,000 Nurse Faculty Scholar award this year. It is given to junior faculty who show outstanding promise as future leaders in academic nursing. The grant period begins next month.
“I am deeply honored to receive this prestigious and meaningful award,” Colbert said. “The support I receive will give me the time and mentoring I need to research strategies to help women make successful transitions out of jail and into their communities.”
For her project, Colbert will develop an intensive health care case management program for women who have been recently released from jail. The program, a nurse-led intervention, is intended to help participants establish long-lasting relationships with health professionals, set short- and long-term health goals, and develop plans to reach those goals.
Incarcerated women have high rates of infectious disease and mental illness and are more likely to have experienced violence and substance use and abuse in their lives. These women are often able to take care of their health when they are behind bars because they receive support from health professionals. But many struggle to maintain care for their health when they re-enter society. Colbert’s work will shed light on ways that nurses that can help women stay healthy, happy and sober when they return to their communities. .
“Leaving jail is a very tumultuous—and often dangerous—time for many women,” Colbert said. “I hope to help these women maximize their chances for success in the outside world.”
Two Duquesne University faculty members will serve as Colbert’s mentors: L. Kathleen Sekula, Ph.D., A.P.R.N., B.C., an associate professor at the School of Nursing; and Tammy Hughes, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Counseling, Psychology and Special Education in the School of Education.
“Social service researchers devote a considerable amount of attention to the period when incarcerated women re-enter society, but health researchers also have a vested interest in this critical time,” Sekula said. “Dr. Colbert’s study will shed important new light on how nurses can help incarcerated women help themselves when they re-enter society.”
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Nurse Faculty Scholars program aims to strengthen the academic productivity and overall excellence of nursing schools by developing the next generation of national leaders in academic nursing. Supporting junior nurse faculty will help curb a shortage of nurse educators that could undermine the health and health care of all Americans. The Patient Protection and 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 and faculty to educate them. Right now, many schools of nursing are turning away qualified applicants because they lack the faculty to teach them.
The Nurse Faculty Scholars program is helping to curb the shortage by helping more junior faculty succeed in, and commit to, academic careers. The program provides talented junior faculty 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, while continuing to teach and provide institutional, professional and community service at their universities.
The program will also enhance the stature of the scholars’ academic institutions, which will benefit fellow nurse educators seeking professional development opportunities.
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.
Several Nurse Faculty Scholars have been recognized for outstanding work since they were accepted into the program. In 2009, 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.
Earlier this year, Nurse Faculty Scholar Joachim Voss, Ph.D., R.N., A.C.R.N., an assistant professor of nursing at the University of Washington, received the 2010 Undergraduate Research Mentor Award. Voss was among only five faculty to receive this year’s award and the first professor from the School of Nursing ever to receive the honor. The Award is open to all faculty members at the University of Washington, which has 3,600 instructional faculty.
Three Nurse Faculty Scholars—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. 
The Nurse Faculty Scholars program is funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and administered through the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing. It is directed by Jacquelyn Campbell, Ph.D., R.N., F.A.A.N., who is the Anna D. Wolf chair and professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing.
To learn more about the program, visit www.rwjfnursefacultyscholars.org.
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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, we work with a diverse group of organizations and individuals to identify solutions and achieve comprehensive, meaningful and timely change. For more than 35 years we’ve brought experience, commitment and a rigorous, balanced approach to the problems that affect the health and health care of those we serve. When it comes to helping Americans lead healthier lives and get the care they need, we expect to make a difference in your lifetime.