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School of Nursing assistant professor named Nurse Faculty Scholar

Posted: Oct. 1, 2014

Dr. Karen Johnson

Karen Johnson, assistant professor at The University of Texas at Austin School of Nursing, has been named a Nurse Faculty Scholar by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). Johnson is one of only 12 nursing faculty in the nation to be included in the foundation’s final cohort of scholars.

The award includes a three-year $350,000 grant, which will fund her research efforts, partial salary and travel costs. Her mentors include UT Austin nursing professor Dr. Lynn Rew, UT Austin sociology professor Dr. Robert Crosnoe and Dr. Deborah Koniak-Griffin, UCLA School of Nursing.

Johnson is an adolescent health and public health nursing researcher. Her project for the RWJF program involves surveying staff in alternative high schools about school health policies and students about high-risk behaviors and factors that protect them against involvement in such behaviors. Her goal is to address the many health and social disparities that afflict a population at risk for dropping out of school.

“This award from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation provides a remarkable opportunity to lay the groundwork for, and ultimately impact, the health, social and educational disparities we see in the population of high-risk, yet resilient, youth in alternative high schools,” Johnson said. “I am incredibly honored to be selected as part of this phenomenal cohort. I look forward to the opportunities the RWJF Nurse Faculty Scholars program will provide to help me grow into a leader in academic nursing and adolescent health.”

In addition to funding Johnson’s research, the award will support her efforts to develop expert teaching methods around health and social disparities and outreach activities that can introduce students in alternative schools to possibilities in post-secondary education, including nursing.

“This award will not only launch a bright young academic’s career, but by supporting Karen’s important work with at-risk adolescents, it is bound to alter the way we reach out to help this population,” said Dean Alexa Stuifbergen. “We couldn’t be more proud of her and hopeful for the future.”

As the nation’s largest philanthropy devoted solely to the public’s health, RWJF has worked to improve the health and health care of all Americans. The Nurse Faculty Scholar program aims to strengthen the academic productivity and overall excellence of nursing schools by providing mentorship, leadership training, and research support to young faculty.

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