M. Danet Lapiz Bluhm, Ph.D., R.N. Selected as 2013 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Nurse Faculty Scholar

NEWS  RELEASE                                                                                    Contact: Gretchen Wright October 3, 2013                                                                                                      202/371-1999

                        University of Texas Health Science Center’ Lapiz-Bluhm Named a                           2013 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation ‘Nurse Faculty Scholar’

Lapiz-Bluhm Selected for Prestigious Program that Advances Careers of Talented Junior Nurse Faculty, Plans to Study Biomarkers for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

M. Danet Lapiz, PhD, RN, an assistant professor at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, 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. Lapiz-Bluhm 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 to conduct research on cognitive and neurotrophic markers for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and response to treatment,” Lapiz-Bluhm said. “I will focus on understanding the role of cognitive flexibility, brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and a single nucleotide polymorphism of the BDNF gene on PTSD and the speed of response following cognitive processing therapy (CPT). Knowledge of the cognitive and neurotrophic mechanisms associated with the speed of response to CPT will potentially inform the development of more effective strategies to treat or prevent PTSD, especially among military personnel who return from combat deployment.”

For her research project, Lapiz-Bluhm will collaborate with the South Texas Research Organizational Network Guiding Studies on Trauma and Resilience (STRONG-STAR), a multidisciplinary and multi-institutional research consortium funded by the U.S. Departments of Defense (DoD) and Veterans Affairs (VA) to develop and evaluate the most effective early interventions possible for the detection, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of combat-related PTSD in active-duty military personnel and recently discharged veterans. Specifically, her research will piggy-back on a clinical trial that aims to provide a personalized variable length CPT to active-duty military personnel with PTSD until they reach good end-state functioning. This clinical trial challenges the “one-size fits all” concept of the standardized 12-session CPT. The proposed personalized approach has potential to improve the success rate of the intervention.

The National Center for PTSD reports that, using the PTSD Checklist (PCL), the prevalence of PTSD among previously deployed Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom service members was 13.8 percent. This rate is higher compared to the lifetime prevalence of PTSD which has been estimated at 7.8 percent in the general population.

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. Lapiz-Bluhm 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 www.nursefacultyscholars.org.

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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 more than 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. Follow the Foundation on Twitter at www.rwjf.org/twitter or on Facebook at www.rwjf.org/facebook.