February 12, 2020

The Ohio State University College of Nursing strengthens standing as top-tier public institution for NIH grant funding

College ranks #16 among all nursing colleges, #9 among public institutions

The Ohio State University College of Nursing has strengthened its standing as a top earner of grant funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The Blue Ridge Institute for Medical Research’s new review of NIH grant awards ranks the College of Nursing at #16 overall and #9 among public institutions, with approximately $4.3 million in NIH research funding.

This is the third consecutive year that the College of Nursing has ranked in the nation’s top 20 for primary NIH grant funding. Overall, the college received approximately $10.7 million in research and development grants from external funders, including NIH, in FY2019.

“Our standing as a premier research college is driven by the passion, innovation and dedication of our research leadership, faculty and staff to improve healthcare quality and health outcomes,” said Bernadette Mazurek Melnyk, PhD, APRN-CNP, FAANP, FNAP, FAAN, vice president for health promotion, university chief wellness officer and dean of the College of Nursing. “The NIH’s continued investment in our research helps us transform health and improve lives by dreaming, discovering and delivering a healthier world.”

“The innovative and relevant science that our research faculty conduct is addressing critically-important healthcare problems,” said Mary Beth Happ, PhD, RN, FGSA, FAAN, associate dean for research and innovation at the College of Nursing. “Their work will help improve the health and well-being of people across the life-span.”

This round of NIH funding encompasses both new awards and recurrent years of funding for existing, supported research programs. New awards for the College of Nursing support science in the area of aging, including pain/symptom management and interventions to promote cognitive and functional recovery from critical illness in adults. Those programs include:

Expansion of study on pain differences for Alzheimer’s patients

Karen O. Moss, PhD, RN, CNL, assistant professor at the College of Nursing, received a diversity supplement award in conjunction with a five-year existing NIH/National Institute on Aging (NIA) study entitled “Sex Differences in Pain Reports and Brain Activation in Older Adults with Alzheimer’s Disease.” The grant was awarded to an interdisciplinary team that includes Todd Monroe, PhD, RN-BC, FNAP, FGSA, FAAN, associate professor in College of Nursing, as well as faculty from the College of Nursing, the Departments of Neurology and Geriatrics, the Wright Center of Innovation in Biomedical Imaging at Ohio State and collaborators from Vanderbilt University. The study is examining gender and Alzheimer’s-related differences in verbal pain reporting patterns and how they are displayed in regional and network brain function, with an aim to lead to better pain management. Moss’ work will focus on how patients of different racial backgrounds self-report pain and the impact of Alzheimer’s on how the brain processes pain, with the long-term goal of developing appropriate interventions.

Advancing science on sensitivity to cancer pain in Alzheimer’s patients

Monroe and his research partner Ronald Cowan, MD, PhD, professor of psychiatry and behavioral health at Vanderbilt University, will lead a multi-site five-year, $5 million NIH/NIA grant project to advance research focused on patients with Alzheimer’s disease and certain types of cancer and their sensitivity to pain. The study, “Pain Sensitivity and Unpleasantness in People with Alzheimer’s Disease and Cancer,” examines whether these patients are at greater risk of suffering from poorly-treated pain at the end of life.

Helping adults needing treatment in intensive-care units

The National Institutes of Health/National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NIH/NHLBI) awarded a three-year, $1.2 million grant to Michele Balas, PhD, RN , CCRN-K, FCCM, FAAN, associate professor in the College of Nursing. The study entitled “Determinants of Implementation Success Coordinating Ventilator, Early Ambulation and Rehabilitation Efforts in the ICU (DISCOVER-ICU)” includes collaborators Alai Tan, PhD, (Co-I) and Lorraine Mion, PhD, RN, FAAN, (Co-I) of The Ohio State University College of Nursing, plus collaborators from Vanderbilt University and the Society of Critical Care Medicine. This study advances research into evidence-based interventions – including what is known as the ABCDEF bundle – to improve clinical outcomes in ICU patients.

NIH/NIA also awarded a two-year, $312,000 grant to fund the study, “A Problem Solving Intervention for Post-ICU Cognitive Impairment in Older Adults.” The grant was awarded to Judith Tate, PhD, RN (PI), assistant professor in The Ohio State University College of Nursing. Co-investigators include Lorraine C. Mion, PhD, RN, FAAN, and Alai Tan, PhD, of the College of Nursing, and Jennifer Bogner, PhD, ABPP, FACRM, of the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation in the College of Medicine. This pilot study focuses on the risks of delirium to brain health in older patients treated in ICUs and tests the impact of a home-based intervention.

NIH-supported research also continues on multi-year grants already awarded to faculty working in the Martha S. Pitzer Center for Women, Children and Youth. That research includes:

  • Tondi Harrison, PhD, RN, FAAN: Examining responses to oral feeding in infants with both Down syndrome and congenital heart disease
  • Shannon Gillespie, PhD, RN: Testing a novel method of identifying women at risk for inflammatory preterm birth and how specific preventive interventions may offer benefit during pregnancy

The College of Nursing is currently hiring new faculty who are committed to transforming health and improving lives. You can find job openings in the college by clicking on this link.


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