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Candace Burton, Ph.D., R.N., F.N.E. Selected as a 2013 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Nurse Faculty Scholar

NEWS  RELEASE                                                                                                                     Contact: Gretchen Wright September 11, 2012                                                                                                                                 202/371-1999

                                                 Virginia Commonwealth University’s Candace Burton Named a 2013                                                          Robert Wood Johnson Foundation ‘Nurse Faculty Scholar’

                                                         Dating Violence Researcher Selected for Prestigious Program that                                                                   Advances Careers of Talented Junior Nurse Faculty

Candace W. Burton, PhD, RN, FNE, an assistant professor at the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Nursing, is one of just 12 nursing educators from across the United States to win a highly competitive grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Nurse Faculty Scholars program this year. Burton 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.

“This award from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation provides a wonderful opportunity for me to grow as a nurse leader and scientist, as well as to explore the intersections of nursing science, epigenetics, and the health impact of teen dating violence,” Burton said.   For her research project, Burton plans to combine epigenetic science with her passion for reducing the effects of intimate partner violence. Epigenetics is the study of changes that can occur in an individual’s genome as a result of outside influence—such as acute stress. In this case, the stress is that of experiencing teen dating violence, and Burton’s study will be the first to examine these changes in affected young women.

“The importance here is the fact that some of these changes have been shown in adult women following intimate partner violence, and in those women we see increases in problems like chronic pain, sleep disturbance, and cardiovascular disease,” Burton said. “If we can identify these changes in younger women, we may be able to reduce or prevent their progression to chronic illness. By reducing the burden of chronic illness, Burton hopes her work will ultimately contribute to an overall reduction in health disparities among at-risk women.

“Current statistics suggest that as many as 65 percent of young women are affected by teen dating violence,” she added. “By learning more about what those experiences leave behind at the cellular level, we have a tremendous opportunity to enhance nursing practice and to better serve and support women’s health throughout the lifespan.”    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. Burton is part of the program’s sixth cohort. 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 is vastly increasing 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 also enhances 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 also support the Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action, which is engaging nurses and nurse champions in a nationwide effort to improve health care by implementing recommendations from the groundbreaking Institute of Medicine report, The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health. The Campaign for Action is backed by RWJF and AARP, and has Action Coalitions working in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.  

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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