Sigma Foundation for Nursing and Jonas Philanthropies Announce 2021 Recipients of Collaborative Research Grant

NEW YORK, June 17, 2021Sigma 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 next three recipients of their second year of the Collaborative Research Grant. This year’s recipients are focused on addressing and improving the mental health of America’s most vulnerable citizens, creating research and programs to aid veterans and Indigenous populations. Amidst a COVID-19 pandemic that has exposed and exacerbated the mental health needs of many communities, these nurse scholars will explore mindful meditation programs, PTSD life experiences, and culturally-adapted lessons to help reduce tribal teacher stress in Indigenous lands. 

Created in memory of Jonas Philanthropies co-founder Barbara Jonas, the grant is supported by Jonas Philanthropies signature program, Jonas Nursing and Veterans Healthcare. Each nursing scholar recipient will receive $10,000 to fund their impressive efforts to improve healthcare for the most vulnerable citizens in the United States.

2021 award recipients:

Maria Danet Lapiz-Bluhm, PhD, MSCI, RN, FAAN

Maria Danet Lapiz-Bluhm,PhD, MSCI, RN, FAAN, of the University of Texas Health Science of San Antonio (UTHSCSA) School of Nursing, is working on a four-week virtual mindfulness training program known as Veteran Community Online Mindfulness Support (Vet-COMS) which supports veterans experiencing post-traumatic stress syndrome. The ultimate objective is for veterans to practice daily mindfulness meditation to help improve their quality of life, especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic where imposed social distancing may stress the veterans and disallow them the community support they may need.

Tamar Rodney, PhD, MSN, RN

Jonas Scholar Alumna, Tamar Rodney’s, PhD, MSN, RN, of Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing, research focuses on assessing the life course experience of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptom and the impact on health outcomes in a cohort of veterans who are traumatic brain injury (TBI) survivors. This information will allow providers to improve mental health care for individuals by advancing knowledge of how time to treatment following a TBI and subsequent experience of PTSD symptoms affect patients.

Deborah H. Wilson, MPH, MSN, RN

Deborah H. Wilson, MPH, MSN, BSN, is working on a behavioral intervention to promote the health and well-being of Tribal Head Start teachers at Fort Peck Reservation in Montana. The goal of the intervention is to evaluate adapted cultural lessons delivered by culturally embedded community health workers (CHWs) for reducing teacher stress, improving mental health and well-being, and to assess feasibility and acceptability of the adapted components.  

“We are excited to continue our partnership with Sigma Foundation for Nursing to support the next round of ambitious nursing scholars working to improve health outcomes of diverse communities around the country,” said Dr. Stephen Ferrara, DNP, FNP, FAANP, FAAN, Interim Executive Director of Jonas Nursing and Veterans Healthcare. “Mental health is an underfunded, under researched area of our healthcare system and often, many diverse communities do not have the resources to access quality care. Investing in these nurse scholars mean setting up systems of research and treatment for the most vulnerable amongst us so they too can access quality mental health care.”

“I am so proud of the deserving 2021 Collaborative Research Grant recipients, whose work illustrates the vast and growing need for mental health research and ​evidence-based interventions,” said Sigma President Richard Ricciardi, PhD, CRNP, FAANP,FAAN. “I congratulate these researchers and I look forward to seeing the results of their efforts to improve the lives of such diverse groups. ​Having served in the US military and worked with the Indian Health Service, I find it profoundly rewarding to work with Jonas Philanthropies through this innovative partnership, and I thank them for their continued support.”

Jonas Philanthropies and Sigma Foundation for Nursing began this partnership in 2019 by offering the Collaborative Research Grant to provide an opportunity for nursing scholars to continue their research beyond the doctoral level. The grant supports those recipients whose research area focuses on pressing issues in veterans’ health, mental or behavioral health, rural health, vision health, or environmental health specifically those with research proposals for pilot or developmental projects.

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 developing every generation of nurse leaders by funding research grants, leadership education grants, membership subsidies, and programs that connect and empower nurses around the world. The Foundation is a wholly owned subsidiary of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing (Sigma), a nonprofit organization with the mission of developing nurse leaders anywhere to improve healthcare everywhere. Founded in 1922, Sigma has more than 135,000 active members and 550 chapters at institutions of higher education and healthcare partners from Armenia, Australia, and Botswana to Thailand, the United States, and Wales. Sigma members include clinical nurses and administrators, academic nurse educators and researchers, policymakers, entrepreneurs, and others working to fulfill the organization’s vision of connected, empowered nurse leaders transforming global healthcare. Learn more at  

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Jonas Nursing and Veterans Healthcare


Maggie Gelwix