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Three time UW Alumnus Steven Palazzo named Robert Wood Johnson Nurse Faculty Scholar

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Date: September 18, 2013
Media Contact: Ashley Wiggin, aaw4@uw.edu, 206-221-2456

Steven PalazzoSteven PalazzoSteven J. Palazzo, PhD '11, MN '06, RN, an assistant professor at the Seattle University College of Nursing, 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. Palazzo will receive a three-year, $350,000 award to promote his academic career and support his research. The Nurse Faculty Scholar award is given to junior faculty who show outstanding promise as future leaders in academic nursing. Palazzo also received is BSN degree from UW Bothell in 2005.

“This award from Robert Wood Johnson Foundation will fund an innovative research program aimed at one of the country’s greatest health care challenges—cardiovascular disease,” said Palazzo. “Teen Take Heart combines science education and behavior change and presents it to the population for whom it can make the most difference: teenagers in underserved communities.”

“Almost one-quarter Washington State teenagers are obese or overweight,” Palazzo added. “Teen Take Heart seeks to engage them and encourage them to change behaviors that place them at increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Economically depressed communities in Washington lack funding to support in-class activities aimed at reducing risk-factors for cardiovascular disease. Support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation will significantly contribute to the expansion and evaluation of the program. I am honored to be selected for this prestigious award.”

For his research project, Palazzo will use a series of interactive in-class instructional and hands-on, kit-based modules to improve knowledge and increase awareness of how behaviors and attitudes affect cardiovascular health. Teen Take Heart has been designed to incorporate anatomy, physiology, disease pathology, nutrition, exercise, and research into engaging and interactive learning sessions to promote heart-healthy lifestyle choices.

An additional feature of the program is that it exposes teens to options for health care careers that rely on science. “Teen Take Heart is an experiment in progress,” said Palazzo. He will be measuring results over time to see if there are sustained changes in the cardiovascular knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors of high school students both short- and long-term.

“One of the research goals is to expand our understanding of how to initiate and sustain behavior change in economically and ethnically diverse populations,” Palazzo added.  

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. Palazzo 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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The University of Washington School of Nursing is consistently a top-rated nursing school, according to U.S. News & World Report. Ranked No. 3 in research funding from the National Institutes of Health, the UW School of Nursing is a national and international leader in improving the health and well-being of individuals, families and communities. The school addresses society’s most pressing challenges in health care through innovative teaching, award winning research and community service. For more information, visit www.nursing.uw.edu.

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.