The Graduate Center Awarded a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Future of Nursing Scholars Grant

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The Graduate Center Awarded a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Future of Nursing Scholars Grant to Prepare Ph.D. Nurses


The grant aims to advance the Institute of Medicine’s goal of building the next generation of nursing leaders and improving the delivery of healthcare

NEW YORK, (Feb. 6, 2017) – The Graduate Center of the City University of New York is one of only 28 nursing programs nationwide to receive a 2017 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Future of Nursing Scholars grant. The prestigious grant is aimed at increasing the number of nurses holding Ph.D.s, and the funding is part of an array of support services—which also include mentoring and leadership development—available to nurses selected for the scholarship.

Now in its fourth year, the scholarship program is preparing nurses to serve as leaders in the fields of research, education and patient-care innovation. Increasing leadership in these areas is crucial to meeting the country’s escalating healthcare needs and improving patient outcome, but less than 1 percent of nurses currently hold Ph.D.s in nursing or a related field. 

In its landmark nursing report, the Institute of Medicine recommended that the U.S. double the number of nurses with doctorates, which will enable nurses to lead the charge toward advancing healthcare, promoting nurse-led science and discovery, and putting more educators in place to prepare the next generation of nurses. The Future of Nursing Scholars program is intended to help address that recommendation.

“New York City has the largest public healthcare system in the nation, so our nursing professionals are among the first to experience the growing demands being placed on the nation’s healthcare system as a result of an aging, longer-living population and advances in medicine and technology,” said Donna Nickitas, RN, CNE, NEA-BC, FNAP, FAAN, professor and Executive Officer of the Graduate Center’s Nursing Ph.D. program. “The Graduate Center is committed to producing nursing leaders who create solutions that improve delivery of care and patient outcomes, and the Future of Nursing Scholars grant will help us fulfill this commitment.” 

The Graduate Center is receiving its grant from the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). The Nursing program will select a Ph.D. candidate to receive the scholarship in April. The recipient will begin the Future of Nursing Scholars program this summer and start Ph.D. studies in fall 2017. 

“The Future of Nursing Scholars program is making an incredible impact in real time,” said Julie Fairman, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, Future of Nursing Scholars program co-director and the Nightingale professor of nursing and the chair of the Department of Biobehavioral Health Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing. “These nurses will complete their Ph.D.s in three years, a much quicker progression than is typically seen in nursing Ph.D. programs.” 
The scholarship program’s current round of grants will support up to 51 nurses, who will receive $75,000 each toward their Ph.D. studies. Johnson & Johnson, Northwell Health, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Sharp HealthCare, Rush University Medical Center, Care Institute Group, and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center are joining RWJF in providing grants to the 28 nursing schools receiving funding this year. 

“We were pleased to see that enrollment in doctorate of nursing practice programs has increased 160 percent from 2010 to 2014,” said Susan Hassmiller, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, co-director of the program and RWJF’s senior adviser for nursing. “However, we want to ensure that we also have Ph.D.-prepared nurse leaders in faculty and research roles. In the same time period, Ph.D. enrollment has only increased by 14.6 percent. The nurses funded through the Future of Nursing Scholars program will make important contributions to the field and be well-prepared to mentor other nurses.” 
The 51 nurses supported by this year’s grants will join 109 nursing Ph.D. candidates across three previous groups of scholarship recipients. The program plans to add a fifth group, bringing the number of funded scholars to more than 200 nurses.

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About the Graduate Center, CUNY 
The Graduate Center (GC) is the focal point for advanced teaching and research at the City University of New York (CUNY), the nation's largest urban public university. Devoted exclusively to graduate education, the GC fosters pioneering research and scholarship in the arts and sciences, and trains students for careers in universities and the private, nonprofit, and government sectors. With over 35 doctoral and master’s programs of the highest caliber, and 30 research centers, institutes, and initiatives, the GC benefits from highly ambitious and diverse students and alumni—who in turn teach hundreds of thousands of undergraduates every year. Through its public programs, the GC enhances New York City’s intellectual and cultural life.

About the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
For more than 40 years the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has worked to improve the health and health care of all Americans. We are striving to build a national Culture of Health that will enable all to live longer, healthier lives now and for generations to come. For more information, visit Follow the Foundation on Twitter at or on Facebook at


Submitted on: FEB 6, 2017

Category: Nursing Science | Press Room