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University of Washington’s Andrea M. Landis Named a Robert Wood Johnson Nurse Faculty Scholar

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Date: August 27, 2012
Media Contact: Ashley Wiggin, aaw4@uw.edu, 206-221-2456 or Phillippa Kassover, kassover@uw.edu, 206-616-2462

Adolescent Sleep and Obesity Researcher is Selected for Prestigious Program to Advance Careers of Nation’s Most Promising Junior Nurse Faculty

Andrea LandisAndrea Landis

Seattle, WA -- Andrea M. Landis, PhD, RN, FNP-BC, 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.  Landis 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 next month.

“This is truly a great opportunity for me,” said Landis, who works in the department of Family and Child Nursing. “Support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation will allow me to study adolescent sleep patterns to understand how they alter selected endocrine systems and metabolic pathways that can influence hunger and satiety, promote excessive eating, and lead to obesity and type 2 diabetes. With type 2 diabetes rates on the rise in the US and especially in adolescents, this is a pressing health concern.”

For her research project, Landis will study the connection between sleep deprivation and hunger signals in a group of healthy adolescents age 13-18, as well as the hormones, such as leptin and ghrelin, that affect appetite and food consumption and possibly drive the body to crave certain types of foods. While the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) recommends that adolescents get 8.5-9.25 hours of sleep per night, a NSF 2006 Sleep in America poll indicates that most teens are getting far less than that.

“Recent studies indicate a strong correlation between lack of sleep and weight gain, however the biological mechanisms are not well understood, especially in adolescents,” said Landis. “This is an area that needs additional research, and the RWJF will help me achieve that.”

Landis will study 100 adolescents, including both male and female and obese and nonobese. The study will track several health measures, including appetite hormones, body composition, diet and exercise, food cravings, and risk for type 2 diabetes to understand the impact of inadequate sleep.

"We are extremely proud that Dr. Landis has been selected as a Nurse Faculty Scholar,” said Pamela Mitchell, Robert G. and Jean A. Reid Dean in Nursing (interim). “Her innovative research will have a major impact on understanding the role of sleep in adolescent obesity. Dr. Landis and the other Nurse Faculty Scholars will be part of nursing's next generation of researchers and educators. As increasing numbers of nursing faculty retire, it is critical that we develop nursing's next leaders, and Dr. Landis is one of them."

Landis has been a faculty member in the department of Family and Child Nursing since 2010. A licensed Family Nurse Practitioner for the past 13 years, Landis has focused her practice on working with families and has a special interest in adolescents. She notes that nurses have a unique perspective in approaching these concerns, as holistic medicine is an integral part of nursing.

“Adolescents are already undergoing many changes, so sleep is especially important to their health,” said Landis. “They are dealing with changes in their bodies, rigorous school schedules, as well as social pressures that can negatively affect their health. Also their sleep patterns are getting worse as more social media is introduced. It’s a challenge for researchers to address the unique concerns of adolescents.”

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. Landis 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.

Landis’ primary and research mentors are: Gail Kieckhefer, ARNP, PNP-BC, PhD, the Joanne Montgomery Endowed Professor at the University of Washington School of Nursing in the department of Family and Child Nursing and Catherine Pihoker, MD, chief of the Division of Endocrinology and Diabetes, attending physician at Seattle Children’s Hospital, and Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Washington School of Medicine.  

“Dr. Landis has focused her research career on stemming the tide of rising obesity rates in US adolescents by examining modifiable factors such as adequate sleep, healthy nutrition, and sufficient physical activity,” said Kieckhefer. “Her life-course, bio-psychosocial approach lays the foundation for the development of future interventions that could be offered by primary care nursing providers to pre-and early adolescent youth.   Her preparation as a family nurse practitioner provides real world grounding for her creative program of research and a solid base for her education of the next generation primary care advanced practice nurses.”

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Nurse Faculty Scholars program aims to strengthen the academic productivity and overall excellence of nursing schools by developing the next generation of national 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 teach them.

The RWJF Nurse Faculty Scholars program is helping to curb the shortage by helping more junior faculty succeed in, and commit to, academic careers. The program provides talented junior faculty with salary and research support as well as the chance to participate in institutional and national mentoring activities, leadership training, and networking events with colleagues in nursing and other fields, while continuing to teach and provide institutional, professional and community service at their universities.

This is the fifth cohort of Nurse Faculty Scholars. Many members of the first four cohorts have been published and recognized for outstanding work since they were accepted into the program. Joachim Voss, and Betty Bekemeier, both 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. Earlier this year, 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. Bekemeier is in her final year of the NFS program.

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, Ph.D., R.N., F.A.A.N., 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. 

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