Jennifer Runquist, Ph.D., R.N. Selected as a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Nurse Faculty Scholar


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Laura Glawe
Director of Communication and Media Relations University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Phone: 414-229-6444 
Nurse Faculty Scholars National Program Office
Phone: (877) 738-0737
Jennifer Runquist Named a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Nurse Faculty Scholar
New national program seeks to advance careers of talented junior nursing faculty
Milwaukee, WI (July 30, 2008) ─ Jennifer Runquist, R.N., Ph.D., an assistant professor in the College of Nursing at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, was one of 15 junior faculty nationwide to receive an inaugural Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Nurse Faculty Scholar award. The three-year, $350,000 grant will begin September 1.
The award will support her research to study how sleep deprivation affects depression in urban women after childbirth. Depression is the number one complication of childbirth that affects at least 600,000 women in the United States each year. More than half of women with depression are never diagnosed, and only 20 percent of those who are diagnosed will receive appropriate treatment. The effects of untreated depression on infants can be serious and affect infants as they grow into adulthood. The months after childbirth are often fraught with a lack of sleep and exhaustion. This may be especially true for women who have fewer economic resources and social support. The mental effects of sleep deprivation build up over time and may increase women’s likelihood of depression.
This study will measure sleep patterns and depression in urban women for the first three months after childbirth to identify which sleep-related factors are most important to a mother’s mental health. The award will also support Runquist’s participation in a training program that will help prepare her for academic leadership and translating evidence into policy and practice initiatives.
“I hope to use this generous support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to make concrete improvements in the health of some of our nation’s more vulnerable mothers and infants,” said Runquist.
Her faculty mentors for this research are Christine Kovach, R.N., Ph.D., F.A.A.N., professor at the UW-Milwaukee College of Nursing, and Michael Fendrich, Ph.D., professor at the UW-Milwaukee Helen Bader School of Social Welfare.
“We are very proud that Dr. Runquist has been selected for this prestigious appointment,” said. Sally Lundeen, dean at the UW-Milwaukee College of Nursing. “Her area of research has the potential to improve the quality of life for urban families and is totally consistent with the urban mission of the UW-Milwaukee College of Nursing.”
Runquist received the 2007 New Investigator Award for the Childbearing Nursing Research Section of the Midwest Nursing Research Society and the 2008 University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee College of Nursing New Investigator Award.
The goal of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Nurse Faculty Scholars program is to develop the next generation of national leaders in academic nursing through career development awards for outstanding junior nursing faculty. The program aims to strengthen the academic productivity and overall excellence of nursing schools by providing mentorship, leadership training, salary, and research support to young faculty.
Despite a rise in applicants, U.S. nursing schools turn away thousands of prospective students from baccalaureate and masters programs because of an acute shortage of faculty and clinical preceptors, training sites, space and funding constraints. Since the stature of nursing schools and the promotion of nursing faculty are dependent on the quality of the nursing faculty’s scholarly and/or research pursuits, the Nurse Faculty Scholars program seeks to strengthen the link between institutional reputation and faculty success by providing career development and other opportunities to junior faculty.
With a large number of faculty nurses set to retire soon, the Nurse Faculty Scholars program also aims to encourage junior nurse faculty to continue on in their roles as educators.
The program is run out of the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing. Jacquelyn C. Campbell, Ph.D., R.N., F.A.A.N., Anna D. Wolf chair and professor in the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing directs the program. For more information, go to:
The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee's College of Nursing, a premier urban institution, prepares diverse students to be science-based, compassionate nurse leaders for all settings and levels of practice.  The largest nursing school in Wisconsin, UWM is consistently nationally ranked by U.S. News & World Report in the top 10% of those with graduate programs. Faculty meet emerging health needs locally and globally through innovative, quality educational programs, including one of the first on-line Ph.D. programs in the nation. Faculty research is focused on translational interventions and evolving models of nursing practice that improve the health of urban populations. UWM nursing faculty provide leadership to enhance health through innovative approaches to research, education, clinical practice, interdisciplinary collaboration, and policy development.
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, the Foundation works with a diverse group of organizations and individuals to identify solutions and achieve comprehensive, meaningful and timely change. For more than 35 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