Sigma Foundation for Nursing and Jonas Philanthropies Announce 2020 Recipients of Collaborative Research Grant

NEW YORK, August 5, 2020 – Sigma Foundation for Nursing, an organization committed to advancing world health and celebrating nursing excellence, and Jonas Philanthropies, a nonprofit addressing high-need healthcare issues and audiences, are proud to announce the three recipients of their first Collaborative Research Grant. Created last year in memory of Jonas Philanthropies co-founder Barbara Jonas, the grant is supported by Jonas Philanthropies signature program, Jonas Nursing & Veterans Healthcare. One nursing scholar in each category of mental health, rural health and veteran healthcare, has received $10,000 to fund their impressive efforts to improve healthcare for the most vulnerable citizens in the United States. This year’s awardees include:

Rural Health Recipient: Kelly Wierenga, PhD, MSN, BSN

Jonas Scholar Alumna Kelly Wierenga PhD, MSN, BSN, of Indiana University, School of Nursing, was chosen for her work studying a vulnerable group of survivors of first-time myocardial infarction (MI) in rural southern Indiana. Survivors of MI are not only at risk of death from future MIs, they often have poor physical function, negative physical and emotional symptoms, and diminished health-related quality of life. Dr. Wierenga’s study evaluates the effectiveness of a nurse-led, theoretically-based emotion regulation intervention (POWER) in improving physical activity and other health outcomes.

Mental Health Recipient: Kayla Herbell, PhD, RN

Kayla Herbell, PhD, RN, of The Ohio State University, School of Nursing, is working to determine the influence of parental mental health on children who have been discharged from residential treatment (RT) for mental, emotional, and behavioral (MEB) disorders. Research shows 41 percent of RT admissions are preventable by addressing parenting practices, but the effectiveness of those practices can hinge on the mental health of parents. Dr. Herbell’s study examines relationships between parent mental health symptoms (depression, anxiety, PTSD, perceived stress) and two-generation outcomes (positive parenting practices, child MEB symptoms). The long-term goal of this study is to equip parents with the skills to promote their mental health, parent effectively, and prevent RT placement.

Veterans Health Recipient: Jean W Davis, PhD, DNP, EdD

Jonas Scholar Alumna Jean W Davis, PhD, DNP, EdD, of the University of Central Florida, College of Nursing, was chosen for her work studying the exercise habits of Veterans. Less than four percent of Veterans achieve ideal weekly physical activity (PA), which increases risks for all major causes of death. Dr. Davis has designed a theory-based Veteran Physical Activity for Life (VetPA4Life) program for 20 Veterans ages 18 to 64, which will examine the habits, motivation, social support, and demographic characteristics of participants. The VetPA4Life program promotes routine physical activity through touch points that include a committed “exercise buddy,” weekly e-newsletters, and daily self-monitored reports to a nurse.

“It is an honor to help support these nursing scholars as they explore ways to make the way we administer care and effect outcomes better for the country’s residents in greatest need,” said Dr. Stephen Ferrara, DNP, FNP-BC, FAANP, Interim Executive Director of Jonas Nursing and Veterans Healthcare.

“As a nurse who has served in the Army for over 30 years, I am proud that Sigma and Jonas Philanthropies are supporting veterans’ health, along with mental health and the health of those in underserved rural areas,” said Sigma President Richard Ricciardi, PhD, CRNP, FAANP, FAAN. “The work of these grant recipients is a great example of how connected, empowered nurse leaders are transforming global healthcare.”

Jonas Philanthropies and Sigma Foundation for Nursing are pleased to continue this partnership by offering the Collaborative Research Grant again next year. The grant will again consist of three $10,000 grants awarded to three spereate recipients whose research addresses a pressing issue in veterans’ health, mental or behavioral health, rural health, visual health , or environmental health. To qualify, applicants must be registered nurses with a current license and doctoral nurse scholars (PhD, DNP, EdD, DNSc, PhD-DNP). Special consideration will be given to Jonas Scholars and Sigma Members. Applications are open now through December 1, 2020, at

About Jonas Philanthropies

Jonas Philanthropies is transforming our communities for the better by investing where it matters most, in solutions that can be scaled for the greatest impact. Its programs address high-need issues and audiences with high-impact solutions: promoting leadership in nursing and veterans healthcare, preventing and treating low vision and blindness, protecting our children’s environmental health, and taking care of our climate. For more information about Jonas Philanthropies, visit, follow us on Twitter, or like us on Facebook.

About Jonas Nursing and Veterans Healthcare

Jonas Nursing and Veterans Healthcare (JNVH) is the signature program of Jonas Philanthropies. In partnership with schools across the country, Jonas Nursing and Veterans Healthcare identifies and invests in high-potential doctoral nursing Scholars who will address our nation’s most pressing healthcare needs. These nurses will go on to fill leadership roles as faculty, clinical leaders and researchers. For more information about JNVH, visit, follow us on Twitter, or like us on Facebook.

About Sigma Foundation for Nursing

The Sigma Foundation for Nursing is the philanthropic subsidiary of the Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing (Sigma),  a nonprofit organization whose mission is developing nurse leaders anywhere to improve healthcare everywhere. Founded in 1922, Sigma has more than 135,000 active members in over 90 countries and territories. Members include practicing nurses, instructors, researchers, policymakers, entrepreneurs, and others. Sigma’s more than 540 chapters are located at more than 700 institutions of higher education throughout Armenia, Australia, Botswana, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, England, Ghana, Hong Kong, Ireland, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Malawi, Mexico, the Netherlands, Pakistan, Philippines, Portugal, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Swaziland, Sweden, Taiwan, Tanzania, Thailand, the United States, and Wales. Learn more at

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