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Assistant Professor Tatiana Sadak Named a Robert Wood Johnson Nurse Faculty Scholar


Date: September 18, 2013
Media Contact: Ashley Wiggin,, 206-221-2456

Tatiana SadakTatiana SadakTatiana Sadak, PhD, PMHNP, RN, an assistant professor at the University of Washington School of Nursing, is one of just 12 outstanding nurse educators to win a competitive grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Nurse Faculty Scholars program this year.  Dr. Sadak 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 grant period begins this month.

“This fellowship is a very timely, incredible opportunity,” said Sadak, who works in the department of psychosocial and community health nursing. “Support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation will allow me to complete the development of Caregiver Activation for Dementia Dyad Interventions Questionnaire (CADDI-Q), an index that assesses the knowledge and the readiness of dementia family caregivers to take on active caregiving roles and allows clinicians to identify how to best partner with caregivers to maintain dementia patient/caregiver health, safety and quality of life.”

Almost half of all caregivers regularly perform medical or nursing tasks for care recipients who have multiple chronic physical, cognitive, and neuropsychiatric conditions. Caregivers have different degrees of knowledge, readiness and willingness to perform caregiving tasks and do so with various degrees of success. Sadak notes that the CADDI-Q index will enable caregivers to better understand their evolving caregiving roles while helping clinicians identify the needs of each caregiver. Clinicians need strategies to sustain ongoing partnership with dementia patient/caregiver dyads, to assess and to nourish caregivers’ capacity for comprehensive home management of the dementia patient’s health, Sadak explains.

“One of the greatest recent innovations in healthcare involves focus on improving patient’s knowledge, skills, and confidence in mastering self-management and partnering with clinicians,” said Sadak. “Patient activation has shown better chronic disease outcomes, reduced emergency department visits, stress, and hospitalizations, as well as increased medication adherence and quality of life.”

Sadak’s project will focus on operationalizing the concept of “caregiver activation,” the process of engaging caregivers to become ready for, and then progressively assume the multiple roles involved in managing the needs of a loved one with dementia while caring for themselves.  The CADDI-Q is an index for assessing caregiver activation, offering a method to systematically assess caregiver’s needs, tailor activation interventions, and monitor progress in caregiving through partnership with clinical teams.  The RWJF funding will help Sadak and her team test the CADDI-Q with 350 + dementia family caregivers from diverse ethnical, cultural and socio-demographic backgrounds and pilot a CADDI-Q – based intervention designed to increase dementia caregiver activation through relevant information, systematic behavioral coaching and support. Sadak notes that activated caregivers will be better equipped to manage the complexities of providing care to their care recipients and to partner with clinicians to meet shared patient-centered goals.

“Dr. Sadak has an exciting and compelling combination of commitment, compassion, and competence coupled with a current research focus on a problem with enormous public policy implications,” said Dean Azita Emami, PhD, MSN, RNT, RN, FAAN, who is also serving as Sadak’s nursing mentor.

Early funding from the John A Hartford Foundation enabled Sadak to begin work on the CADDI-Q, and helped launch her academic career. She completed a pre and post-doctoral fellowship through the foundation, with the support of mentors Barbara Cochrane, PhD, RN, FAAN, a professor in the department of family and child nursing, Soo Borson, MD, professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Cornelia Beck, PhD, RN, FAAN, professor at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. During the RWJF fellowship term, Sadak will receive ongoing mentorship and support from Borson along with Dean Azita Emami and a national mentor Kathleen Buckwalter PhD, RN, FAAN from the University of Iowa. Sadak is especially thankful for her dedicated, multidisciplinary mentors, such as Borson, who has mentored her in clinical and research training since her undergraduate education and first introduced her to the concept of patient and caregiver activation.

“Dr. Sadak has superior interpersonal skills and leadership ability, and shows great promise to emerge as a compelling voice in national policy for expanding nurse-led, team-delivered geriatric care,” said Borson.

Sadak has been a faculty member in the department of Psychosocial and Community Health since 2011. A licensed Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner for the past 6 years, Tatiana has focused her practice on working with dementia patients and their caregivers, specifically focusing on older adults with multiple medical and psychiatric conditions. She notes that nurses, who obtain additional training in geriatric neurodegenerative disorders, such as dementia, are uniquely suited for providing comprehensive dementia care, because of their focus on addressing the needs of the “whole person” and treating patient/caregiver dyad as an unit of care.

Sadak is part of the sixth cohort of Nurse Faculty Scholars. Many members of the first five cohorts have been published and recognized for outstanding work since they were accepted into the program. Andrea, Landis, Joachim Voss, and Betty Bekemeier, also assistant professors in the School of Nursing and former RWJF Nurse Faculty Scholars, have received numerous grants and awards since being selected for the program. In 2010, Voss, whose promotion to associate professor is effective Sept. 16, received the one of only five UW Undergraduate Research Mentor Awards, the first professor from School of Nursing ever to receive this honor. Bekemeier received a two-year grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to study how budget cuts in local health departments impact the health of communities. Landis is in her final year of the NFS program.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation 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. 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 educate them.

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.

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 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 Follow the Foundation on Twitter at or on Facebook at