Anna Beeber, Ph.D., R.N. Selected as Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Nurse Faculty Scholar

NEWS RELEASE Contact: Gretchen Wright or Johanna Diaz August 31, 2011 202/371-1999

University of North Carolina’s Beeber Named a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation ‘Nurse Faculty Scholar’

Health Services Researcher Studying Assisted Living Communities is Selected for Prestigious Program to Advance Careers of Nation’s Most Promising Junior Nurse Faculty

Chapel Hill, N.C.—Anna Beeber, Ph.D., R.N., an assistant professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Nursing and a Research Fellow at the Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research, has won a competitive grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) to inform best practices for assisted living. Beeber 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.

“The generous support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation will enable me to describe staffing practices in assisted living communities and understand how organizations that provide these services can make the best use of their resources, including nurses and other health care employees,” Beeber said. “This information will help ensure that assisted living residents receive optimal long-term care.”

For her research project, Beeber will interview health care supervisors in roughly 100 assisted living communities throughout the United States and will collect data on how these communities are staffed, what types of services they provide, and how staffing and services relate to use of emergency departments, hospitals, and nursing homes. Beeber will also work with a panel of experts to interpret the study findings and develop quality of care standards that can help assisted living communities decide how best to meet resident needs. .

Beeber’s research follows a large study funded by the National Institutes of Health that examined medical care in assisted living communities. In her research, Beeber will be collecting follow-up data on nursing and other staff services as well as assisted living resident outcomes that weren’t covered in the initial study on medical care.

Assisted living communities provide older adults with housing, meals, medication assistance and other supportive services, as well as 24-hour supervision. The industry grew rapidly over the last decades due to the demands of an aging population. At the same time, it has not gotten as much scientific or government attention as have nursing homes.

“I hope to shed light on a booming—but not well understood—industry,” Beeber said.

Beeber’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: Linda Cronenwett, Ph.D., R.N., F.A.A.N., a professor in the School of Nursing at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and co-director of the RWJF Executive Nurse Fellows program; and Sheryl Zimmerman, Ph.D., the Kenan Distinguished Professor in the School of Social Work at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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 www.nursefacultyscholars.org. # # # #

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 www.rwjf.org.