College of Nursing improves annual NIH funding ranking

February 26, 2020

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Blue Ridge Institute for Medical Research, a non-profit organization that publishes an annual analysis of National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding, recently released the 2019 School of Nursing rankings based on total NIH funding award amounts. 

The Penn State College of Nursing improved their annual ranking, moving from No. 39 in 2018 to No. 33 in 2019. This past year, the college was awarded a total of $1,945,620 from the NIH. This funding enables research to be conducted across the college’s different nursing focuses, such as gerontology, child maltreatment, mental health, substance abuse, sexual assault, palliative and end-of-life care, and health care disparities. 

“We are excited about our 2019 ranking," said Judith Hupcey, the college’s newly appointed associate dean for research and innovation. "Although we have a small number of research faculty, they are very productive and always on the cutting edge of research.

The NIH supports many of the college’s faculty, with some receiving nearly $500,000 to $1 million in research funding across the course of a few years, with most spanning a two- to five-year period. The college’s research funding award amounts are widespread, with some receiving smaller grants and others receiving larger grants that can reach up to $500,000 or more a year.

Lisa Kitko, associate dean for graduate education and associate professor in nursing, was awarded funding in the 2019 fiscal year in the amount of $122,427 for her research and impact on improving access to research and training for students from underrepresented backgrounds. The program aims to address the low numbers of racial and ethnic minorities in biomedical, behavioral, clinical and social sciences graduate educational programs. The total funding amount awarded was $615,375 and will continue through 2024. To read more about Kitko's research fingerprint, click here.

Susan Loeb, associate professor of nursing, was awarded funding in the 2019 fiscal year in the amount of $225,000 for her research on enhancing geriatric and end-of-life care in prisons with online training for inmate peer caregivers. Loeb’s many research projects and interests focus around the promotion and development of healthcare for incarcerated persons. To read more about her research fingerprint, click here.

Ying-Ling Jao, assistant professor of nursing, was awarded funding in the 2019 fiscal year in the amount of $248,985 for her research on apathy in nursing home residents with dementia and the impact that caregiver communication can have on those residents. Nursing homes and caregivers lacking apathy with the residents are associated with cognitive and functional decline, poor quality of life and increased illness. The total funding amount awarded was $443,206 and will continue through 2021. To read more about Jao's research fingerprint, click here.

Nikki Hill, associate director of education for the Center of Geriatric Nursing Excellence and assistant professor of nursing, was awarded funding in the 2019 fiscal year in the amount of $469,012 for her research on Alzheimer’s disease risk factors as mediators of subjective memory impairment (SMI) and objective memory decline. It has been observed that older adults with SMI are put at a much greater risk of Alzheimer’s disease, depressive and anxiety symptoms, and reduced activity participation. The research will identify individuals at the highest risk for SMI and develop assessment tools to help mitigate these negative outcomes. The total funding amount awarded was $1,869,820 and will continue through 2021. To read more about Hill's research fingerprint, click here.

Marie Boltz, Elouise Ross Eberly and Robert Eberly Endowed Chair and professor of nursing, was awarded funding in the 2019 fiscal year in the amount of $535,561 for her research on reducing disability for acutely ill persons with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia (ADRD). Individuals with ADRD are at greater risk for functional decline and increased care dependency after discharge, so the research aims to better focus acute medical care attention on functional recovery. The total funding amount awarded was $2,366,343 and will continue through 2022. To read more about Boltz's research fingerprint, click here.

The funding awarded to the Penn State College of Nursing by the NIH has given the University incredible reach that currently affects millions of people across our state and nation, according to Hupcey.

“Our faculty have great impact beyond these NIH grants awarded to the College of Nursing. Our reach extends to NIH grants throughout the University to grants awarded to other institutions such as the University of Maryland, Brown, and Harvard," said Hupcey. "Our strong cadre of researchers are making a difference in the health and lives of individuals throughout the U.S. and the world."

In her new position as associate dean for research and innovation, Hupcey, formerly the associate dean for graduate education and research, said she will be focusing primarily on obtaining more research funding for the college and the faculty. She also plans to explore new research projects and programs for the college to pursue and become research leaders in.

Overall, the college ranked third in NIH award funding across the state of Pennsylvania. The University of Pittsburgh ranked sixth with $9,020,080 and the University of Pennsylvania ranked first with  $11,331,260. 

The research awards above are just a select few of all research awards that the College of Nursing has received from the NIH and others. To read more about the college's research awards, click here. 

Last Updated March 02, 2020