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.

Tsui-Sui Kao, Ph.D., R.N., F.N.P.-B.C.


NEWS RELEASE                                                     Contact: Gretchen Wright or Johanna Diaz
August 31, 2011                                                                        202/371-1999
University of Michigan’s Kao Named a
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation ‘Nurse Faculty Scholar’
Nurse Researcher Studying Role of Families in Adolescent Risk Behavior is Selected for Prestigious Program to Advance Careers of Nation’s Most Promising Junior Nurse Faculty
Ann Arbor, Mich.—Tsui-Sui Annie Kao, Ph.D., FNP-BC.,an assistant professor at the University of Michigan School of Nursing, has won a competitive grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) to study how adolescent risk behavior may be related to parental expectations and family strengths. Kao 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.
“Being named a Nurse Faculty Scholar is very meaningful. I am looking forward to moving my research forward as well as the opportunity to develop myself further as a leader. As a Nurse Faculty Scholar I look forward to learning from my colleagues and national experts, and am honored to have this opportunity to grow professionally and make a difference,” Kao said.
For her research project, Kao will develop a mixed-method approach to understand how adolescents perceive their parents, how parent-youth interactions can influence risky behaviors, and how family strength can prevent risky behaviors. The study will focus on African American, Asian American and Caucasian middle school youth ages 12 to 14 and their parents, and will also assess whether cultural differences play a role.  
Compared to peer influence, parental influence established via constant, prolonged interactions between parents and children is recognized as the primary influence on adolescents’ health attitudes and behaviors. Kao’s study will provide much-needed insight to explain potential reservoirs of family strength that are not yet fully understood.
“The ultimate goal of my research is to help parents and children have stronger relationships so that they are able to foster a protective environment and create barriers to the lure of risky behaviors. Studies suggest there is a correlation; I’d like to be able to pinpoint the reservoirs of family strength that are not yet fully understood, to better serve parents and adolescents,” Kao said.
Kao’s selection comes as the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is embarking on a collaborative campaign to transform the nursing profession to improve health and health care. Based on the recommendations from a groundbreaking Institute of Medicine nursing report released last year—The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health, RWJF is spearheading the Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action to engage nurses and non-nurses in a nationwide effort to overhaul the nursing profession. The campaign is working to implement solutions to the challenges facing the nursing profession and to build upon nurse-based approaches to improving quality and transforming the way Americans receive health care.
Her mentors are: Carolyn Sampselle, Ph.D., A.N.P., F.A.A.N., a professor in the School of Nursing, and Cleopatra Caldwell, Ph.D., an associate professor of Health Behavior & Health Education in the School of Public Health.
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 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 RWJF 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.
This is the fourth cohort of Nurse Faculty Scholars. Many members of the first three cohorts have been published and recognized for outstanding work since they were accepted into the program.
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
# # # #
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 health and health care, the Foundation works with a diverse group of organizations and individuals to identify solutions and achieve comprehensive, measurable and timely change. For nearly 40 years the Foundation has brought experience, commitment, and a rigorous, balanced approach to the problems that affect the health and health care of those it serves. When it comes to helping Americans lead healthier lives and get the care they need, the Foundation expects to make a difference in your lifetime. For more information, visit