University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) School of Nursing Professor and Associate Dean for Research Karen Meneses Ph.D., R.N., FAAN, has been named one of 12 inaugural Ambassadors of the Friends of the National Institute of Nursing Research (FNINR). The FNINR provides resources to support nursing research and advance the mission of the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR).
The Ambassadors are a group of nursing and health care leaders that possess stellar research, leadership and communication skills. Through the new FNINR Ambassadors Program these individuals will foster political, social and professional awareness of the work of NINR and its research priorities. Their efforts will complement work being done by the FNINR Board and others who champion nurses' value-driven and evidence based contributions to science.
Dr. Karen Drenkard, an FNINR board member and leader in developing the program, said, "We live in an age of science, but also in a time where public knowledge of the research contributions made by nursing and health sciences professionals and the need to fund that research compete for awareness. These exemplary individuals in the first cohort of Ambassadors to NINR will help bridge that gap."
Hailing from across the United States, the 12 Ambassadors are leaders in the nursing research community. Among the goals of the FNINR Ambassadors Program are educating congressional leaders and others within their respective communities and advocating for improved funding by highlighting the impact nursing research has on the health and wellbeing of all Americans.
"The Director of NINR, Dr. Patricia Grady, in collaboration with 27 NIH Institutes and Centers throughout the NIH, have given us good reason to support their efforts," said current FNINR President, Michael Bleich, PhD, RN, FAAN. "Dr. Grady reminds us that the NINR plays a unique role by focusing on the science of health–which includes symptom management, wellness, self-management, and end-of-life and palliative care– across the lifespan and the spectrum where individuals, families and communities receive care. Never has there been a time in our history where lifestyle and demographic shifts demand the science of health."
Meneses received the 2013 Ada Sue Hinshaw Award from the FNINR, one of the highest honors that can be given to a researcher in the field of nursing. Award recipients have a practical, sustained program of research that affords her or him recognition as a prominent senior scientist. It is named in honor of the first permanent director of the NINR, one of the National Institutes of Health.
Meneses has had continuous peer-reviewed funding for more than 25 years supporting her research in survivorship issues among underserved populations from a variety of entities, including the National Institute of Nursing Research, National Cancer Institute, American Cancer Society and the Oncology Nursing Society. She has written more than 100 publications on topics related to breast cancer, quality of life, survivorship, fertility issues and health disparities research. She is the editor of two oncology textbooks, "Nursing Care in Radiation Oncology" and "Contemporary Issues in Breast Cancer."
Her research has created new knowledge about cancer survivorship disparities research and quality of life. With support from NINR, her randomized clinical trial of patient-centered quality of life interventions, known as the Breast Cancer Education Intervention (BCEi), has been recognized as a national model of cancer survivorship education. The BCEi trial developed and tested psychological and support interventions to promote the transition from cancer patient to cancer survivor.
In 2006, Meneses was appointed by President George W. Bush to the National Cancer Advisory Board for a six-year term. In 2013, she was appointed to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Advisory Committee on Breast Cancer in Young Women. This committee was chartered in 2010 and consists of external experts and stakeholders who advise the CDC in developing, implementing and evaluating evidence-based approaches to advance the understanding and awareness of breast cancer among young women.
Most recently in 2012, with funding from the Women's Breast Health Fund of the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham, Meneses created the Young Breast Cancer Survivorship Network (YBCSN), which aims to improve the quality of life for young breast cancer survivors and their loved ones through education, personal support, distance learning and networking. Meneses and her team host workshops for premenopausal women diagnosed with breast cancer and their loved ones. Much of the program is web-based, which allows greater flexibility for young women with busy schedules. The project also provides support for children of survivors through a partnership with Birmingham's Oasis Counseling for Women and Children.
In addition to her appointments in the UAB School of Nursing, Meneses has a concurrent appointment as co-leader of the Cancer Control and Population Sciences Program of the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center.
She earned her bachelor's degree in nursing from Georgetown University and her master's and doctoral degrees in nursing from Boston College.
Meneses named inaugural FNINR Ambassador
Meneses will promote awareness of FNINR, research priorities