LuAnn Etcher, Ph.D., G.N.P.-B.C. Selected as a 2012 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Nurse Faculty Scholar

NEWS RELEASE                                                                            
August 30, 2012                                   
Contact: Gretchen Wright 
Wayne State University College of Nursing’s Etcher Selected as a 2012
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation ‘Nurse Faculty Scholar’
Etcher is Chosen for Prestigious Program to Advance Careers of Promising Junior Nurse Faculty, Plans to Study Ways to Help Patients with Dementia and Their Caregivers
LuAnn Etcher, PhD, RN, assistant professor at Wayne State University College of Nursing, 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. Etcher 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 generous support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation will enable me to build upon my previous research, allowing me to advance my research on circadian based symptoms associated with dementia,” Etcher said. “The ultimate goal for my program of research is to find ways to ameliorate these symptoms, therefore improving the quality of life of individuals living with dementia and their caregivers.”
For her research project, Etcher plans to characterize parameters of circadian rhythmicity, physiologic plasticity, sleep, and global function in a cohort of 40 women with Alzheimer’s disease (AD), and to determine effect and duration of effect of a therapeutic light intervention on those parameters. Women are nearly twice as likely as men to develop AD. Etcher’s study will include older women who are Black, since Blacks are about twice as likely to develop dementia as Whites and are understudied with respect to AD and dementia. 
Etcher’s study has potential to inform care for people with Alzheimer’s disease, where the inability to maintain stable rest-activity patterns due to circadian dysfunction has been shown to contribute to sleep, cognitive, and behavioral disturbances.  Results from this study have potential to expand the science that underpins nursing practice, interdisciplinary knowledge, and health within the context of symptom management and care for individuals with dementia and circadian based symptoms across culturally diverse populations.
Her mentors for the work will be Jean Davis, PhD, RN, associate dean for academic & clinical affairs at Wayne State University’s College of Nursing; and Peter LeWitt, MD, director of the Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Program, Henry Ford Health Systems in West Bloomfield, Michigan.
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. Etcher 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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About the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation 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 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 Follow the Foundation on Twitter or Facebook