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University of Rochester’s Schiavenato Named Robert Wood Johnson Foundation ‘Nurse Faculty Scholar’


NEWS RELEASE                                                     Contact: Gretchen Wright or Johanna Diaz
September 30, 2009                                                                   202/371-1999
University of Rochester’s Schiavenato Named
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation ‘Nurse Faculty Scholar’
Pain Detection Researcher Working with Infants is Selected for Prestigious Program
to Advance Careers of Nation’s Most Promising Junior Nurse Faculty
Rochester, N.Y.—Martin Schiavenato, Ph.D., R.N., an assistant professor at the University of Rochester School of Nursing, has won a competitive grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) to conduct groundbreaking research in the emerging field of pain detection. Schiavenato 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 develop an innovative pain-detection machine. The tool can be used to help health care providers more accurately assess pain in infants, young children and people with dementia or other mental disorders,” Schiavenato said.
For his research, Schiavenato will develop a computerized tool that translates behavioral and physiological signs of pain in infants—such as facial expressions, hand gestures and changes in heart rate—into a “real time” display of pain levels. The display—a glass orb that changes color depending on the subject’s pain levels—will give providers an immediate, objective readout of infant pain levels.
Harriet Kitzman, Ph.D., R.N., F.A.A.N., associate dean of research at the University of Rochester School of Nursing, and Laurel Carney, Ph.D., a professor of biomedical engineering and neurobiology and anatomy at the University of Rochester, will serve as his mentors.
“This machine will give a voice to those who cannot articulate their pain,” Kitzman said. “It can be used to alleviate suffering and could have long-term developmental and cognitive health benefits for patients.”
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
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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.