Marci Lee Nilsen named Betty Irene Moore Fellow

A Pitt Nursing assistant professor was selected to join a very distinguished national fellowship. 

Marci Lee Nilsen, PhD, RN, CHPN, is one of 16 nurse scientists accepted to the fourth cohort of the Betty Irene Moore Fellowship for Nurse Leaders and Innovators. This fellowship program, funded by an initial $37.5 million grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and an additional $7.5 million grant awarded this year to expand the program’s capacity, recognizes early- to mid-career nursing scholars and innovators with a high potential to accelerate leadership in nursing research, practice, education, policy and entrepreneurship. 

“I am truly honored to be selected for the Betty Irene Moore fellowship,” said Nilsen. “Head and neck cancer survivors, especially those in rural areas, face barriers to high-quality cancer care, including disparities in access to care and insufficient resources. We must make these programs equitable and accessible regardless of clinic locations. This fellowship will provide me with training, networking, and other activities essential to further my research and advocate for policy changes to achieve equitable, person-centered cancer care.” 

As part of the fellowship program, fellows receive $450,000 to conduct an innovative project or study with the potential to address a gap in knowledge, meet a vital need, alter care delivery, or design a new solution to advance health. Nilsen’s project focuses on improving symptom management during cancer treatment in under-resourced and diverse settings. 

“As the recipient of this highly competitive, prestigious national fellowship, Dr. Nilsen has distinguished herself as one of our most successful and promising alumna and junior researchers to date within the School of Nursing and within the larger University community,” said Christine E. Kasper, dean and professor, Pitt Nursing. “With this fellowship, I am confident that she will make major life-long contributions to the fields of nursing and cancer survivorship, particularly for vulnerable, underserved individuals, families and communities.”

In addition to the project, the fellowship program features a hybrid online and classroom curriculum designed and taught in partnership with the UC Davis Graduate School of Management and national experts to enhance leadership and innovation capacity, strengthen strategic thinking and collaborative skills, expand professional networks, develop entrepreneurial skills, and propel innovative ideas to fruition. A mentor selected by the fellow and an additional mentor provided by the national program office round out the educational experience.  

“Our fellows go on a unique journey of self-discovery during their three years in the fellowship program in which they delve deeper into their roles as leaders and discover methods for spearheading change and promoting more equitable health care practices for their populations of interest,” said Heather M. Young, national program director for the fellowship and Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis dean emerita. “These fellows are the next generation of nursing leaders, and they have immense potential to transform the nursing profession and improve health equity and health care services.” 

The fellowship program is made possible by Betty Irene Moore’s passion to advance nursing with the goal of better outcomes for individuals, families and communities. The foundation seeks to prepare nurses as collaborative leaders with the skills and confidence to inspire others, enact change and challenge the status quo. With the creation of the Betty Irene Moore Fellowship for Nurse Leaders and Innovators, the foundation supports nurse leaders who take ideas to scale that advance high-quality, high-value care and optimal health outcomes. 

Applications for the 2024 cohort of Betty Irene Moore Fellows open Sept. 22 with a submission deadline of 5 p.m. PST Dec. 1. To learn more, visit the School of Nursing website.