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Elizabeth Cohn, D.N.Sc., R.N. Selected as a 2012 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Nurse Faculty Scholar

NEWS RELEASE                                                                      
August 28, 2012                                                                                               
Columbia University’s Elizabeth Cohn Selected as a 2012
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation ‘Nurse Faculty Scholar’
Cohn is Chosen for Prestigious Program to Advance Careers of
Promising Junior Nurse Faculty, Plans to Study Health Disparities
Associated with Genetic and Genomic Research
Elizabeth Gross Cohn, RN, DNS, an assistant professor of Nursing at Columbia University, is one of just 12 outstanding nursing educators to win a competitive grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Nurse Faculty Scholars program this year. Cohn will receive a three-year, $350,000 award to promote her academic career and support her research. The Nurse Faculty Scholar award is given to junior faculty who show outstanding promise as future leaders in academic nursing.
“The goal of my study is to help researchers achieve greater equity in the enrollment of minorities in genetic and genomic research” Cohn said. Biobank repositories store genetic samples for use in research. Cohn’s study begins by conducting a national survey of these repositories and further focuses on the individual and structural factors that influence equitable representation of minorities in biobank enrollment. She will identify barriers and facilitators to minority participation through focus groups involving members of minority communities, as well as by identifying the types of information potential participants deem important in making their decisions.
Cohn’s ongoing research addresses the health of at-risk, vulnerable and underserved populations, on both the policy level and in communities. She is working toward health equity in Harlem through her association with the Abyssinian Baptist Church, where she is funded to address health disparities in cardiovascular disease in women of color; through the Communities of Harlem Health Revival; and through the Hip Hop Public Education Center. She is also a co-investigator on a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to promote a diverse workforce across the health professions.
Dr. Cohn’s two mentors on her grant are Elaine L. Larson, RN, PhD, FAAN, Professor of Therapeutic and Pharmaceutical Research and Associate Dean of Research at the Columbia University School of Nursing; and Paul Appelbaum, M.D., the Elizabeth K. Dollard Professor of Psychiatry, Medicine & Law, and Director, Division of Law, Ethics and Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons.
The RWJF Nurse Faculty Scholars program is strengthening the academic productivity and overall excellence of nursing schools by developing the next generation of leaders in academic nursing. It is providing $28 million to five cohorts of outstanding junior nursing faculty. Cohn is part of the fifth cohort.
The new Nurse Faculty Scholars also will support the Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action, which is engaging nurses and others in a nationwide effort to implement recommendations from the groundbreaking Institute of Medicine report, The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health.
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 as well as faculty to educate them. Right now, many schools of nursing are turning away qualified applicants because they do not have the faculty to teach them. The RWJF Nurse Faculty Scholars program is helping more junior faculty succeed in, and commit to, academic careers. 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 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, PhD, RN, FAAN, 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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