Heidi Donovan and Cross-Collaborative Team from Pitt Chosen to Lead New Research and Training Center on Family Support

A team of Pitt and UPMC faculty, including Nursing Professor Heidi Donovan, will create the new National Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Family Support through a $4.3-million grant from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR).

Donovan will direct this center, which will serve as a national hub for the rapid translation of evidence-based family support interventions into community practice and policy. The center will also train key professional, non-profit, patient and family stakeholders on family support.

The new center is joint effort between Pitt’s Health Policy Institute, University Center for Social and Urban Research and the Schools of Nursing, Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, Medicine and Public Health. The goal is to leverage state of the science research to improve the care, health and quality of life of all persons with disabilities and the families who support them.

This five-year grant builds on 30-plus years of multidisciplinary research in caregiving led by Dr. Rich Schulz, director of Pitt’s Center for Caregiving Research, Education and Policy.

A central theme of the Center on Family Support will be a focus on disability and family support over the life cycle. The four initial Center research projects include:

  1. Implementation of a “Smart Rehab” program for persons with cancer-related disabilities and their family caregivers (Drs. Grace Campbell and Heidi Donovan).
  2.  Analysis of national datasets spanning the life course to identify at-risk family caregivers to inform intervention research and policy (Drs. Scott Beach and Rich Schulz).
  3.  Development of mobile health interventions for family caregivers and persons with spinal cord injuries, spina bifida and cerebral palsy (Drs. Bambang Parmanto and Brad Dicianno).
  4. Implementation study of the “Community Aging in Place, Advancing Better Living for Elders (CAPABLE) Intervention” with local Area Agencies on Aging (Drs. Pamela Toto and Beth Fields).


Faculty Member Selected for Inaugural National Recognition

Nurse researcher and faculty member Grace Campbell (BSN ’94, PhD ’13) was among an elite group of nurses included in the inaugural cohort of fellows of the Association of Rehabilitation Nurses.

Campbell was one of fewer than 20 nurses from across the United States who were selected for this inaugural cohort of fellows. Nurses were selected based on their leadership in rehabilitation nursing, as well as contributions, service, and commitment to the specialty and the Association of Rehabilitation Nurses.

Campbell’s research focuses on the impact of chronic disorders on physical function, and developing behavioral interventions to improve physical function. She is specifically interested in fall risk and fall prevention in individuals who are chronically ill, including those who are stroke and cancer patients.



Pitt Nursing Faculty Stand Out in Statewide Awards

Three Pitt Nursing faculty were recognized earlier this month at the 30th annual gala and celebration of the Nightingale Awards of Pennsylvania.

Brenda Cassidy (MSN ’86, MSN ’97, DNP ’11), assistant professor, won the Doctorate of Nursing Practice award; Jennifer Lingler (MSN ’98, PhD ’04), professor, won the Nursing Research award; and Patricia Tuite (BSN ’85, MSN ’92), assistant professor, won the Nursing Education – Academia award.

Alumnae Tamra Minnier (BSN ’84, MSN ’85) and Rita Trofino (BSN ’76, MNEd ’81) were award finalists for Nursing Administration – Executive and Nursing Education – Academia, respectively.

The Nightingale Awards are a statewide program designed to recognize excellence in nursing. Over the past 30 years, more than 100 nursing professionals have been honored at the awards ceremony.



Cameos of Caring Celebrate the Best of Nursing

Earlier this month, the health care community in western Pennsylvania, and beyond, came together to celebrate and recognize the 21st group of Cameos of Caring winners. Congratulations to all of our winners, including the School of Nursing's own Marie Fioravanti, associate professor and director of Nursing, University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing, Greensburg campus.

Alumni and current students who were honored with Cameos of Caring were:

  • Jeffrey J. Alvarez, Jr., BSN ’00
  • Mary Bailey, MN ’81
  • Tammy Eaton, PhD Student
  • Marie Fioravanti, DNP ’12
  • Jennifer Fleegle-Vitsas, BSN ’03, MSN ’07
  • Lauren Gorman, BSN ’88
  • Susan Hellier, MSN ’98
  • Renee Ingel, BSN ’91, PhD ’13
  • Mary Kay Loughran, BSN ’77, MHA’87
  • Marianne McConnell, MN ’78
  • Nicole McCune, BSN ’97
  • Patrice Michalski, MSN ’89 &’98
  • \Topias Munde, BSN ’06
  • Courtney Nyoh, BSN ’11
  • Jessica Sarno, MSN ’13
  • Michelle Shields, MSN ’99
  • Marcia Tharp, BSN ’94
  • Kimberly Wysocki, MSN ’11
  • Brandi L. Yoder, BSN ’07


Students Participate in ‘World Happiness Celebration’ Honoring Fred Rogers

Like a good chunk of the nation, the School of Nursing community has been enjoying the remembrance of Fred Rogers and his legacy—and we’ve also cooed at the pictures from one of our clinical sites of newborns dressed in handmade red sweaters, being admired by Joanne Rogers, Fred Rogers’ widow. BSN students Darien Boerger, Grace Antol, and Brendan Gunde were at UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital for that event, and got their very own versions of the red sweaters.





Don’t Miss the February 15 Graduate School Application Deadline

Are you thinking about going back to school to increase the depth of your practice? Start preparing your application materials for the February 15 deadline for the School of Nursing’s Master of Science in Nursing and Doctor of Nursing Practice programs.

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) areas of concentration

  • Nursing Informatics
  • Clinical Nurse Leader

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) areas of concentration

  • Nurse Anesthesia
  • Nurse Practitioner (multiple areas of specialization)
  • Nurse-Midwife
  • Health Systems Executive Leadership

Note that applications for the PhD program are due February 1. 

Ready to go? Get your application started today