February 13, 2019

Research has shown that registered nurses suffer from depression at nearly twice the rate of folks in other professions.

February 11, 2019
Partnership using national Million Hearts® initiative strategies aims to help at-risk faculty and staff at Ohio State live healthier lives

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Partners from several of The Ohio State University’s health sciences colleges and the Richard M. Ross Heart Hospital cut a ceremonial ribbon today to officially open a first-in-the-nation clinic that features an innovative, evidence-based, interdisciplinary model aimed at decreasing risks for cardiovascular disease in at-risk faculty and staff at Ohio State.

The Million Hearts® Clinic at Ohio State uses evidence-based interventions and education espoused by the national Million Hearts® initiative, an effort co-led by the Centers for Disease Control and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services with the explicit goal to prevent one million heart attacks and strokes in the United States by 2022. That includes preventive lifestyle modifications guided by focusing on what the Million Hearts® initiative calls the “ABCS” of care: aspirin therapy, blood pressure control, cholesterol management and smoking cessation. The Ohio State clinic has added a focus on stress reduction to that list because of the known adverse effects of chronic stress on the cardiovascular system. Research shows that focusing on these elements of cardiovascular disease prevention can reduced risk by as much as 80 percent and save more than 100,000 lives every year.

“We are thrilled to pioneer this innovative interprofessional approach to preventive wellness care that we hope can serve as a model nationwide,” said Vice President for Health Promotion, University Chief Wellness Officer, and dean of the College of Nursing Bernadette Mazurek Melnyk, PhD, RN, APRN-CNP, FAANP, FNAP, FAAN. “The Colleges of Nursing, Medicine, Pharmacy, and Education and Human Ecology along with the Ross Heart Hospital are coming together to dream, discover, and deliver a brighter and healthier future to improve heart health in our Buckeye family.”

“Since its launch, the Million Hearts® initiative has aimed to galvanize and mobilize partners in pursuit of the audacious yet attainable goal of preventing one million heart attacks and strokes,” said Janet S. Wright MD, FACC, executive director of the Million Hearts® initiative. “We know that when communities and their health care systems work together, millions of Americans across the country can live longer, healthier lives, free of heart disease and stroke. Finding those at risk and connecting them to care and community resources can take down the nation’s number one killer.

“This is what makes the efforts of the partners at The Ohio State University so exciting,” Wright continued. “By putting into practice many of the priorities, tools and practices advanced by the Million Hearts® initiative, Ohio State is demonstrating true leadership in cardiovascular disease prevention and a very real commitment to improving health of the university community.”

For the pilot, this clinic seeks to engage faculty and staff from Ohio State between the ages of 21-75. Participants can be either employees or spouses of employees and must have at least one of the following risk factors:

  • Overweight/obesity
  • Pre-hypertension or hypertension
  • Pre-diabetes
  • Nicotine addiction
  • Elevated cholesterol
  • A first-degree relative who had an early heart attack or stroke (under the age of 55)

Participants will first take a brief pre-survey about their health, health behaviors and health beliefs. Advanced practice nursing students, who will be overseen by nursing faculty, will then conduct a cardiovascular assessment. Patients will get individualized counseling on ways to reduce their cardiovascular risk according to the Million Hearts® initiative’s goals. Participants will self-identify key areas in their life that they want to improve and will receive prescriptions for lifestyle modifications such as exercise, diet, smoking cessation and stress reduction. The participants will then be referred to the other health sciences colleges for individualized coaching in these areas. Follow-up screenings at three- and six-month intervals will allow for comparison of the interventions over time.

“This clinic furthers our focus on proactive well-care rather than reactive sick care,” said Kate Gawlik, DNP, RN, APRN-CNP, FAANP, assistant professor of clinical nursing and project manager of the Million Hearts® initiative at Ohio State’s College of Nursing. “We are very excited about its potential and about the partnerships, professionals and students involved who will truly help our faculty and staff live healthier lives.”

The Million Hearts® Clinic at Ohio State will be offered in two locations (the College of Nursing’s Newton Hall and the Physical Activity and Education Services building) on the Columbus campus. The clinic will be offered 1-2 times per month throughout the 2019-2021 academic years.

In 2013, Dr. Bernadette Melnyk founded The National Interprofessional Education and Practice Consortium to Advance Million Hearts®, which now consists of more than 170 universities and organizations who are working together to improve cardiovascular health and well-being under the Million Hearts® initiative philosophy. An educational module built by the Colleges of Nursing, Medicine, and Pharmacy has led to the cardiovascular screening and education of more than 70,000 people nationwide.

“The Million Hearts® word and logo marks, and the Be One in a Million Hearts® slogan and logo marks and associated trade dress are owned by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Use of these marks does not imply endorsement by HHS. Use of the marks also does not necessarily imply that the materials have been reviewed or approved by HHS.”

By the Numbers:
  • Nearly half of all American adults – an estimated 121 million adults – have some form of cardiovascular disease (American Heart Association)
  • Goal of Million Hearts® initiative: prevent one million heart attacks and strokes in the U.S. by 2022

Phil Saken, The Ohio State University

November 26, 2018

Bernadette Melnyk, PhD, RN, APRN-CNP, FAANP, FNAP, FAAN, vice president for health promotion, university chief wellness officer, dean and professor in the College of Nursing was elected to the Board of Directors for the National Forum for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention. The mission of the National Forum is to harness, lead and encourage collaborative action among stakeholders committed to heart disease and stroke prevention.

“I am humbled and delighted to be elected to the Board of Directors of the National Forum for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention,” Melnyk said. “Having experienced the trauma of being alone with my mother when she sneezed and died from a hemorrhagic stroke in front of me at 15 years old, I am deeply committed to the forum’s cause in preventing heart attacks and strokes.”

In her role on the board of directors of the National Forum, Melnyk will work with their many partners to create a dialogue leading to improved cardiovascular health of Americans. 

The National Forum focuses on advancing health equity and the implementation of the ABCS (appropriate Aspirin use, Blood pressure management, Cholesterol control and Smoking cessation) to prevent heart disease and stroke. The overarching goal of the National Forum is to eliminate cardiovascular health disparities and achieve health equity.  

Founded in 2002, the National Forum brings together diverse and dynamic organizations to share successful strategies, practices and lessons learned in order to develop, pilot and scale innovative approaches to prevent stroke and cardiovascular disease.

October 19, 2018

This fall, The Ohio State University College of Nursing received a total of over $9 million in new grant funding for research from a variety of prestigious institutions, including the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the American Cancer Society, the Rita & Alex Hillman Foundation, the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners, and others.

“Three of these awards are particularly significant as the proposed studies are part of exciting and important interdisciplinary work led by College of Nursing faculty who are early stage investigators, which means that they are receiving their first R01 or equivalent research grant. The future looks bright for nursing and transdisciplinary science in our college,” stated Mary Beth Happ, PhD, RN, FGSA, FAAN, associate dean for research and innovation in The Ohio State University College of Nursing.

NIH funds College of Nursing research

The National Institutes of Health/National Institute of Nursing Research (NIH/NINR) awarded a $191 K grant to Tondi Harrison, PhD, RN,FAAN, (PI) to fund an administrative supplement to the study, “Behavioral and physiological responses to oral feeding in infants with complex congenital heart disease.” The supplement, from NIH’s INCLUDE program (INvestigation of Co-occurring conditions across the Lifespan to Understand Down SyndromE), will support the addition of infants who have both Down syndrome and congenital heart disease to the study. Harrison is an associate professor in the College of Nursing.

The NIH/NINR also awarded a $423 K, three-year career development grant to Shannon Gillespie, PhD, RN, assistant professor, Martha S. Pitzer Center for Women, Children & Youth. Her study, “Maternal Immune Responsiveness as Clinical Target for Preterm Birth Prevention” (The MIRACL Study) will test a novel method of identifying women at risk for inflammatory preterm birth and determining whether specific preventive interventions are likely to offer benefit during the pregnancy.

Recent grants from the NIH also include a $3.3 million NIH/NIA R01 to Todd Monroe, PhD, RN-BC, FNAP, FGSA, FAAN, (PI); a $2.8 million NIH/NIA R01 to Jodi McDaniel, PhD, RN, (PI) and colleagues, and a $1.8 million NIH/NINR R01 to Carmen Giurgescu, PhD, RN, WHNP, and colleagues at Wayne State University.

“All of our new NIH funding provides evidence of the fantastic cutting-edge research being conducted by our nationally renowned faculty and the terrific research infrastructure that is provided by our college so that our faculty can achieve their dreams and produce major positive impact through their work,” stated Bernadette Mazurek Melnyk, PhD, RN, APRN-CNP, FAANP, FNAP, FAAN, vice president for health promotion, university chief wellness officer and dean and professor in the College of Nursing.

Other prestigious institutions support College of Nursing research

The American Cancer Society awarded a five-year, $1.7 million grant to Jennifer Kue, PhD, for the Intergenerational Refugee and Immigrant Cancer Screening Project.

The National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners awarded a foundation grant to Assistant Professor Lisa Kinsella Militello, PhD, MPH, RN, CPNP, to fund the study, “A Solution-Focused Approach: What Low-Income Parents with Young Children Need from Stress-Regulation Smartphone Apps.” IT Project Scientist Emre Sezgin, PhD, of Nationwide Children’s Hospital is a co-investigator on the project.

The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation awarded a grant to Pam Lusk, DNP, RN, FAANP, clinical associate professor, for the study, “Integrating Adolescent Substance Abuse Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) throughout Social Work and Nursing Education.”

The Rita & Alex Hillman Foundation awarded grants to  Bernadette Melnyk, PhD, RN, APRN-CNP, FAANP, FNAP, FAAN, (PI) and colleagues and  Laureen Smith, PhD, RN, FAAN, (PI) and colleagues.

October 01, 2018

COLUMBUS, Ohio – On Friday, September 28, The Ohio State University College of Nursing announced new funding for the Community Health Worker Training Program. The Franklin County commissioners will provide $180,000 of funding for three cohorts of trainees, totaling 75 newly trained community health workers. In collaboration with CelebrateOne, many community health workers will be hired to help combat the area’s high infant mortality rate.

“Research shows when you have community health workers, rates of infant mortality drop, blood pressure in people is more controlled and diabetes is prevented,” Bernadette Melnyk, Ohio State’s Chief Wellness Officer and Dean of the College of Nursing, said at the press conference on Friday. “I have no doubt with this investment that in two years we will have an awesome story to tell about how the program has dropped the infant mortality rate here in Franklin County.”

The American Public Health Association defines a community health worker as “a front line public health worker who is a trusted member of and/or has an unusually close understanding of the community served.”

The Community Health Worker Training Program at Ohio State is a 12-week certificate program that creates an entry path for paraprofessional training within a community-based health workforce model. The aim of the program is to provide workforce training for residents from high poverty communities to prepare them for roles as community health workers.

“The Community Health Worker Training Program was a life changing experience for me,” Virginia Nunes Gutierrez, a trainee of the program, said. “The program trains community members to identify the root causes of poor health outcomes in our underserved populations and then gives them the tools to address those things. It trains them to be true advocates for their communities inside of the healthcare and social service system. It’s a solution for the community that comes from the community and that’s why it’s so effective.” 

The program includes 104 hours of classroom and 130 hours of practicum. The practicum hours are to be completed in weeks 6 – 12. If you would like more information on Ohio State’s community health worker program, please visit our website.


Chelsea Schmitz
Senior Strategist, Marketing and Communications

June 13, 2018

Bernadette MelnykPhD, RN, APRN-CNP, FAANP, FNAP, FAAN, College of Nursing dean, vice president for health promotion and chief wellness officer, has been selected to be a member of Women of Impact, a group of high-profile female executives representing all sectors of the healthcare industry across the United States who share the goal of realigning the healthcare system to meet the needs of all Americans. Melnyk will join the third cohort of members.

New members are nominated by someone in the group and selected because of their influence and commitment to making a lasting difference. Prior to acceptance, all participants are interviewed to determine their commitment to the process, as well as commitment to creating a measurable impact. “Membership is by invitation because it is not about being bigger, but creating a group that can both support each other and together effect real change in healthcare,” said Joanne Conroy, MD, CEO and president of Dartmouth-Hitchcock and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health and Women of Impact founder.

“It is an honor and privilege to have been selected to join this esteemed group of highly influential women who are healthcare leaders across the country,” said Melnyk. “They are truly ‘movers and shakers’ who have had a profound positive impact on healthcare.”

Each member participates in a forum to define her individual desired legacy and commit to having an impact as an individual. “This legacy work is the glue that holds the individual cohort and group together. It is what energizes us and refocuses us when we convene annually in D.C. It is transformative even for the most experienced leaders. For experienced women in healthcare, this is a time to begin to do things with purpose and for a purpose,” Conroy said.  

Founded in 2013, the group seeks to apply the concept of collective impact to advance those legacies in addressing complex problems in healthcare and critical concerns prominent in the national conversation.

September 27, 2017

Bernadette Mazurek Melnyk, PhD, RN, CPNP/PMHNP, FAANP, FNAP, FAAN, has been awarded a $3.3 million, 4.5-year R01 grant from the National Institutes of Health/National Institute for Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIH/NIMHD) for a study entitled, “Healthy Lifestyle Intervention for High-Risk Minority Pregnant Women: A Randomized Controlled Trial.” Melnyk is vice president for health promotion, university chief wellness officer, dean and professor of the College of Nursing, professor of pediatrics and psychiatry in the College of Medicine and executive director of the Helene Fuld Health Trust National Institute for EBP at The Ohio State University. Co-PI Susan Gennaro, PhD, RN, FAAN, is dean and professor of the William F. Connell School of Nursing at Boston College.


Citing the public health mandate issued by the United States Department of Health and Human Services to decrease disparities in birth outcomes based on race and ethnicity, the study proposes to test a cognitive behavioral skills building (CBSB) prenatal care intervention for pregnant minority women experiencing emotional distress. If successful, it could be widely scaled to improve pregnancy, birth and post-natal outcomes nationally. The randomized, controlled trial (RCT) will test the efficacy of a CBSB health promotion intervention adapted from Melnyk’s other evidence-based CBSB interventions.


Melnyk emphasizes that “while screening for depression in all pregnant women is a recent public health directive, screening alone without scalable, evidence-based interventions to improve mental health will not produce positive outcomes. Given the well-established link between emotional distress, poor health and birth outcomes and the prevalence of emotional distress in minority women, prenatal care interventions designed to improve mental and physical health outcomes for these women are vital.”


The RCT, to be conducted in New York and Ohio, will extend Melnyk’s research on cognitive behavioral interventions to promote healthy lifestyle behaviors, physical health and psychosocial wellness and Gennaro’s research on the consequences of stress and health behaviors in pregnant minority women. It will be the first clinical trial to test a CBSB health promotion intervention embedded into prenatal care for emotionally distressed minority pregnant women.

June 19, 2017

Bernadette Melnyk, PhD, RN, CPNP/PMHNP, FAANP, FAAN, FNAP, of Columbus, Ohio, will be honored with the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) 2017 Sharp Cutting Edge Award at an awards ceremony and reception held during the AANP 2017 National Conference June 20-25, 2017, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Melnyk is vice president for health promotion, university chief wellness officer, and dean and professor of the College of Nursing at The Ohio State University.

The Sharp Cutting Edge Award was created in 1996 in honor of Nancy J. Sharp, MSN, RN, FAAN, a strong supporter of the nurse practitioner (NP) role and a leader in national nursing organizations. “Recipients of the Sharp Award have shown leadership through innovative services, technologies or advocacy activities that advanced NP practice and patient care on a national level,” the AANP recently stated. “Throughout her career as an NP, Dr. Melnyk has endeavored to assure NPs receive excellent education while representing NPs at the highest level of our nation’s healthcare policy arena.”

AANP is the largest professional membership organization for NPs of all specialties. It represents the interests of more than 222,000 NPs, including approximately 72,000 individual members and 200 organizations, providing a unified networking platform and advocating for their role as providers of high-quality, cost-effective, comprehensive, patient-centered and personalized healthcare. The organization provides legislative leadership at the local, state and national levels, advancing health policy; promoting excellence in practice, education and research; and establishing standards that best serve NP patients and other healthcare consumers. For more information, visit aanp.org.

January 25, 2017

The Ohio State University Executive Vice President and Provost Bruce A. McPheron, along with Sheldon M. Retchin, MD, MSPH, executive vice president of health sciences and CEO of the Wexner Medical Center, announced today the recommended reappointment of Bernadette M. Melnyk, PHD, RN, CPNP, as dean of the College of Nursing and university chief wellness officer, effective immediately and subject to approval of the university board of trustees. In addition, they recommended a promotion from associate vice president for health promotion to vice president for health promotion. Her appointment will continue through December 2022.


Their announcement included a brief overview of her accomplishments: Under Dean Melnyk’s leadership, the College of Nursing developed a new, five-year strategic plan. This plan advanced the college in several important ways, including more than doubling its growth in graduate enrollment, adding 40 new faculty members and establishing three new interprofessional degrees. In addition, the College of Nursing more than tripled its But for Ohio State campaign goal, including a $6.5 million gift to establish the Helene Fuld Health Trust National Institute for Evidence-based Practice. The college also strengthened its financial base and earned a significant rise in both U.S. News & World Report and NIH-funding rankings.


Melnyk created Ohio State’s One University Health & Wellness Council, which generates and oversees the university’s strategic wellness plan to become the world’s healthiest university. She also chaired the first National Summit for Building Healthy Universities with more than 300 leaders from 93 Universities. In addition, she founded the National Consortium for Building Healthy Academic Communities, a growing national organization with representation of more than 40 universities. She served as the consortium’s first president, with Ohio State as its administrative home.


Prior to joining Ohio State’s faculty in 2011, Melnyk served as dean and distinguished foundation professor in nursing at Arizona State University’s College of Nursing and Health Innovation. She is an elected Fellow of the National Academy of Medicine, the American Academy of Nursing, the National Academies of Practice and the American Association of Nurse Practitioners and earned a BS from West Virginia University, an MS from the University of Pittsburgh and a PhD from the University of Rochester.


July 19, 2016

Bernadette Melnyk, PhD, RN, CPNP/PMHNP, FAANP, FNAP, FAAN, dean of The Ohio State University College of Nursing, was recognized as a 2016 Champion of Healthcare by Columbus Business First.

The publication named Melnyk, vice president for health promotion and chief wellness officer at Ohio State, as its 2016 Healthcare Educator & Advocate, a name that honors an individual for efforts toward creating and improving awareness among consumers about healthcare issues that affect specific groups or the community at large.

Melnyk was credited in her nomination for the College of Nursing’s recent rise in U.S. News & World Report rankings and for her efforts to improve patient access to effective care, including the opening of Ohio State Total Health and Wellness Primary Care Center located at University Hospital East, as well as her role in the national Million Hearts Initiative.

Melnyk has more than 25 years of research and teaching experience in the field of healthcare systems and nursing. She is also an internationally renowned expert in evidence-based practice (EBP), intervention research, child and adolescent mental health and health and wellness  and is a frequent keynote speaker at national and international conferences.

Columbus Business First's Champions of Healthcare program honors central Ohio medical professionals who are raising the region's quality of life through dedication to patient care, innovations in research and technology and outstanding healthcare management.