Matthew McHugh, Ph.D., J.D., M.P.H., R.N., C.R.N.P.


NEWS RELEASE                                                     Contact: Gretchen Wright or Johanna Diaz
August 31, 2011                                                                        202/371-1999
University of Pennsylvania’s McHugh Named a
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation ‘Nurse Faculty Scholar’
Public Health Policy Researcher Studying the Impact of Hospital Locations on Patient Outcomes is Selected for Prestigious Program to Advance Careers of Nation’s Most Promising Junior Nurse Faculty
Philadelphia, Pa.—Matthew D. McHugh, Ph.D., J.D., M.P.H., R.N., C.R.N.P., an assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, has won a competitive grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) to study the relationship between where people live, where they receive hospital care, and the outcomes of that care. McHugh 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 RWJF Nurse Faculty Scholar program will provide a great opportunity for me to grow as a nurse scientist and become a leading nursing outcomes and policy researcher,” McHugh said. “I look forward to learning from and developing relationships with other scholars, my mentors, and nursing leaders around the country.”
For his research project, McHugh will investigate how people’s neighborhoods and the location of the hospitals at which they receive health care affect hospital readmission or death due to common conditions like heart attacks, pneumonia or heart failure. The project will help identify the actions that hospital administrators and other leaders can take to ensure that nurses play a part in reducing disparities in care and targeting interventions.
The study is designed to determine whether people in lower income brackets are largely served by hospitals that provide a lower quality of care, whether these differences affect patient outcomes, and whether differences in nurse practice environments and staffing levels across hospitals account for this relationship. The project will also identify ways to improve that care and ensure that all patients get high-quality nursing care regardless of where they happen to live.
“This prestigious program will allow me to conduct research that can inform efforts to improve the care environment, and target resources and policies to the hospitals and communities that could most benefit from them,” McHugh said. “There is a great deal of work to be done to make the hospital environment safe and effective for all patients and nursing will play a critical role.”
McHugh’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.
His mentors are: Linda Aiken, Ph.D., R.N., F.A.A.N., Claire M. Fagin Leadership professor in nursing, professor of sociology and director of the Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research; and Herbert Smith, Ph.D., professor of sociology.
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
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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