Category: School of Nursing

An image of a woman standing at a podium receiving a prestigious award
Lt. Gov. Bethany Hall-Long, professor in the School of Nursing in the College of Health Sciences, received the Nell J. Watts Lifetime Achievement in Nursing Award from the Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing.

December College of Health Sciences For the Record

January 02, 2024 Written by CHS Staff | Photo by CHS Staff

For the Record provides information about recent professional activities and honors of University of Delaware faculty, staff, students and alumni.

Recent appointments, presentations, publications and honors in the College of Health Sciences include the following:

Awards

Lt. Gov. Bethany Hall-Long, professor in the School of Nursing in the College of Health Sciences, recently received the Nell J. Watts Lifetime Achievement in Nursing Award from the Sigma Theta Tau International (STTI) Honor Society of Nursing. The award is one of the most prestigious honors bestowed by the organization’s Board of Directors and is given to a Sigma member who has demonstrated exemplary achievements in nursing throughout their lifetime. Hall-Long humbly accepted the award at Sigma’s 47th Biennial Convention in San Antonio, Texas, in November. 

“Sigma Theta Tau has been a remarkable global organization that represents the best of the nursing profession and has promoted not only my personal but our professional scholarship,” Hall-Long said. “We are extremely fortunate to have a local STTI chapter here at the University of Delaware, Beta Xi.

"I'm also fortunate to have had an incredible career in nursing and in developing forward-thinking, evidence-based health policy. I also have been blessed to serve vulnerable populations throughout Delaware both clinically and in my roles as a state representative, senator and now lieutenant governor. To be recognized by STTI is an honor that is beyond words and is something I will cherish for years."

Anna Hernandez, a senior medical laboratory science major, received a scholarship to attend the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) National Diversity in STEM Conference in Portland, Oregon, in late October.

“The mission of SACNAS is to advance undergraduate and graduate students in STEM by promoting leadership and inclusivity in the field,” Hernandez said. “It was an exciting opportunity to learn about collaborations between students from underrepresented backgrounds who look like you. It was also a valuable networking opportunity.”

Hernandez, who’s the vice president of UD’s SACNAS Chapter, is enrolled in the 4+1 BC/MS Program in UD’s Department of Medical and Molecular Sciences in the College of Health Sciences. She aims to spend her graduate career studying infectious diseases. She hopes to present research at the SACNAS conference in the future.

“The dedication and passion of the researchers was really inspiring,” Hernandez said. “I remember sitting there and thinking that this could be me one day – so that was motivating.”

Jennifer Saylor, associate dean of faculty and student affairs for the School of Nursing, was elected to the Sigma Theta Tau International Nursing Honor Society Board of Directors. In this role, Saylor serves as a liaison to the various committees within Sigma Theta Tau, as well as a leader in governance and updating policies and procedures with the remaining Board of Directors. Saylor will be involved in ensuring that the organization operates in accordance with its mission, values, and applicable laws and regulations as well as collaborating on healthcare initiatives that benefit the nursing profession. She has been a proud member since 2000, serving on the Charter Review Task Force for almost 10 years, chairing the International Governance Committee over the past four years which included a major overhaul of the International Bylaws, and committing to the Beta Xi Chapter and Tri-State Consortium regionally.

Additionally, Jennifer Graber, associate dean of academic affairs and practice initiatives, was elected to Sigma Theta Tau as Regional Chapters Coordinating Committee Chair. Graber oversees international and national coordination between the 15 North American chapter regions as well as across Asia, Africa, Europe, Oceania, Latin America and Caribbean, and the Middle East. As chair of the committee she is responsible for leading 21 elected regional coordinators by advancing initiatives that meet the needs of the global chapters and fulfills the mission and vision of Sigma. She has been a dedicated member since 2006 and served various roles across chapter, regional, and international levels, including most recently as regional coordinator for Delaware, D.C., northeastern Maryland, southeastern Pennsylvania, and northeastern Virginia.

The Delaware Center for Cognitive Aging Research (DECCAR) has received a $575,000 award from the Paul H. Boerger Fund of the Delaware Community Foundation to advance Alzheimer’s research in the state. With more than 600,000 people living with Alzheimer’s in the region, this funding will support a one-year initiative to identify essential mechanisms linking modifiable lifestyle factors to accelerated dementia risk.

"We are thrilled to receive this funding from the Paul H. Boerger Fund of the Delaware Community Foundation,” said Christopher Martens, director of DECCAR and associate professor of kinesiology and applied physiology. “This grant will support an innovative, interdisciplinary team of researchers in physiology, biomedical engineering, neuropsychology, machine learning, and biostatistics whose work will help identify new candidate targets for interventions aimed at slowing, stopping, or reversing Alzheimer’s disease.”

Martens will co-lead this project with Curtis Johnson, associate professor of biomedical engineering and member of the DECCAR executive committee. The team also includes an interdisciplinary group of co-investigators from the College of Health Sciences and the College of Engineering, including Austin Brockmeier, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, Ryan Pohlig, associate professor of epidemiology, and Matthew Cohen, associate professor of communication sciences and disorders.

DECCAR, a first-of-its-kind initiative in the region, was founded at UD in 2022 in response to a dire community need. The center was established with $150,000 in seed funding from the College of Health Sciences and has since generated over $850,000 in external support.

Dave Edwards, professor and chair of the Department of Kinesiology and Applied Physiology (KAAP) in the College of Health Sciences, has received the American Heart Association Institutional Award for Undergraduate Student Training.

The $165,000 award, over three years, will fund summer undergraduate research opportunities for rising juniors and seniors, with a focus on prioritizing underrepresented minorities. Each summer, five students will have the opportunity to conduct innovative cardiovascular health-related research, working alongside faculty mentors, including Edwards, Christopher Martens, associate professor in KAAP; Shannon Lennon, professor in KAAP; Megan Wenner, associate professor in KAAP; Melissa Witman, associate professor in KAAP; and Shannon Robson, associate professor of health behavior and nutrition sciences.

“As a tier one research institution, the University of Delaware is uniquely positioned to expose students to meaningful and impactful research that centers around the American Heart Association’s mission to support all aspects of cardiovascular, cerebrovascular, and brain health research with a focus on overall health and well-being across the lifespan,” Edwards said. “This is a wonderful opportunity for undergraduate students to get hands-on research experience working in our labs.”

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