This site is an archive of a closed Robert Wood Johnson Foundation program, provided for educational and historical purposes. Please note that this content is not routinely updated and that contact information and social links may not work.

University of Arizona’s Taylor-Piliae Named Robert Wood Johnson Foundation ‘Nurse Faculty Scholar’


NEWS RELEASE                                                     Contact: Gretchen Wright or Johanna Diaz September 24, 2009                                                                   202/371-1999

University of Arizona’s Taylor-Piliae Named
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation ‘Nurse Faculty Scholar’
Cardiovascular Nurse Scientist Working with Stroke Survivors is Selected for Prestigious
Program to Advance Careers of Nation’s Most Promising Junior Nurse Faculty
Tucson, A.Z.—Ruth Taylor-Piliae, Ph.D., R.N., an assistant professor at the College of Nursing at the University of Arizona, has won a competitive grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) to study the health effects of tai chi in stroke survivors. Taylor-Piliae is one of just 15 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 this month.
“The generous support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation will enable me to determine whether this ancient Chinese art has health benefits for modern-day stroke survivors in America,” Taylor-Piliae said.
For her research, Taylor-Piliae will develop a tai chi exercise program for stroke survivors and compare the results to other types of rehabilitation care. If she finds that the benefits of tai chi are equal to or better than standard practices, she hopes that health care providers will respond by recommending the exercise to those who have survived strokes.
Melissa Spezia Faulkner, D.S.N., R.N., F.A.A.N., the Gladys E. Sorensen Endowed Professor in the College of Nursing at the University of Arizona, and Bruce M. Coull, M.D., the William M. Feinberg M.D. Endowed Chair in Stroke Research, Professor of Neurology and Medicine, and Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs in the College of Medicine at the University of Arizona, will serve as her mentors.
“Health researchers have not paid much attention to the benefits of tai chi for this population, even though it makes a lot of sense,” said Faulkner. “It is a low-impact, low-cost exercise that can be practiced indoors or outside. It is also taught in groups, which gives participants—especially older adults—the added benefits of socialization.”
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s“Nurse Faculty Scholar” award 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 severe shortage of nurse educators that threatens to undermine the health and health care of all Americans. Many nursing schools lack the resources needed to hire and support enough faculty to train the next generation of nurses. As a result, nursing schools are turning away thousands of qualified applicants—rejecting the very people who can help reverse a serious looming nurse shortage. As the supply of nurses shrinks and the demand for their services grows, patient care will suffer.
The Foundation’s “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 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 in 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.
The 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
# # # #
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.