Jonas Center Funds Policy Scholars at AAN

Jonas Center for Nursing and Veterans Healthcare funds Policy Scholars to work with American Academy of Nursing Expert Panels

WASHINGTON, DC, November 20, 2014 – The American Academy of Nursing (Academy), an organization dedicated to advancing health policy and practice, today announced the Jonas Policy Scholars Program. Funded by the Jonas Center for Nursing and Veterans Healthcare with a $125,000 grant, this new initiative of the Academy will recruit 12 highly qualified doctoral and post-doctoral nursing students for a two-year experience whereby they will be matched with an expert panel to learn from leading nursing experts about major health policy issues.

“The Academy is grateful to the Jonas Center for Nursing and Veterans Healthcare for supporting the development of nurses to lead the policy work that is needed to create healthy communities and to transform our health care system,” said Academy President Diana J. Mason, PhD, RN, FAAN.

The Jonas Policy Scholars will create a pipeline of early-career nursing scholars who will contribute to shaping practice, education, and research policy relevant to nursing and the work of the Academy of Nursing; provide a mechanism for Academy expert panel leaders to mentor early-career Jonas Policy Scholars on key issues relevant to the panel’s area of focus and strategies for shaping those policies; and support expert panel chairs in advancing work to inform and shape policy and improve the health of the public.

“U.S. healthcare is in the midst of an immense shift and nurses are among the most qualified professionals able to ensure the highest quality healthcare going forward. Serving on the frontlines of care, nurses give voice to patient issues and their advocacy is needed at the policy table,” says Darlene Curley, MS, RN, FAAN, Executive Director of the Jonas Center and former state representative of Maine, where she also served on the Health Committee of the National Conference of State Legislatures and the State’s Long-term Care Oversight Committee. “With the Academy, the Jonas Center is advancing its goal to help prepare nurses to play leadership roles in creating a more effective healthcare system.”

Jonas Policy Scholars are selected based on evidence of scholarship, including publications, presentations, honors and awards; evidence of leadership experience; and match between the applicant’s interest area and at least one healthcare issue addressed through the expert panels.

The first cohort of six Jonas Policy Scholars (2014-2016) and their expert panels are:

  • Sunny Hallowell, Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research, University of Pennsylvania, Breastfeeding Exert Panel
  • Emerson Ea, Duquesne University School of Nursing, Cultural Competence & Health Equity Expert Panel
  • Alicia Rossiter, University of South Florida College of Nursing, Military/Veterans Health Expert Panel
  • Laura Brennaman, University of New Mexico College of Nursing,  Psychiatric/Mental Health/Substance Abuse Expert Panel
  • Kathy Simmonds, University of Rhode Island College  of Nursing, Primary Care Expert Panel
  • Joan Ching, Seattle University College of Nursing, Quality Health Expert Panel

The expert panels are one of the major forces within the Academy for developing new knowledge, promoting collaboration, and shaping policy.  The panels provide a flexible and efficient mechanism by which emerging issues within the nursing profession and concerns for the health of the public are addressed.  Each utilizes members’ critical knowledge, analytical skills, and networks to review the current research and issues within the field, to take action as appropriate in addressing key issues, and to make recommendations on projects and/or initiatives the Academy should undertake to transform healthcare policy and practice.

The collaboration builds on the successful Jonas Nurse Leaders Scholars Program, launched in 2008 to address the shortage of nursing faculty and to grow the field of nurse leaders. The Jonas Center currently supports 335 doctoral scholars nationwide; it has nearly 270 Jonas Scholar alumni. Its goal is to support 1,000 scholars by 2016. Jonas Policy Scholars Emerson Ea and Kathy Simmonds are also current Jonas Nurse Leader Scholars (2014-2016); Alicia Rossiter is an alumna of the Jonas Veterans Healthcare Program.


About the Jonas Center for Nursing and Veterans Healthcare

The Jonas Center for Nursing and Veterans Healthcare, established in 2006 by Barbara and Donald Jonas, is dedicated to improving healthcare by advancing nursing scholarship, leadership and innovation. Its two main programs are the Jonas Nurse Leaders Scholar Program, which aims to address the dire shortage of nursing faculty by preparing nurses with doctoral degrees to step into this critical role, and the Jonas Veterans Healthcare Program, which seeks to improve the health of veterans by supporting doctoral-level nursing candidates committed to advancing veterans’ healthcare. These programs currently support more than 600 doctoral scholars nationwide, with a goal to support 1,000 Scholars by 2016.


About the American Academy of Nursing

The American Academy of Nursing serves the public and the nursing profession by advancing health policy and practice through the generation, synthesis, and dissemination of nursing knowledge. The Academy’s more than 2,300 Fellows are nursing’s most accomplished leaders in education, management, practice, and research. They have been recognized for their extraordinary contributions to nursing and the promotion of the health of the public through evidence-based health policies.


Cheryl G. Sullivan, 202-777-1167

Olivia Goodman, 212-715-1597