By Erica Techo
University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) School of Nursing Assistant Professor J. Nicholas Dionne-Odom, PhD, RN, is one of 11 nurse scientists accepted to the inaugural cohort of the Betty Irene Moore Fellows for Nurse Leaders and Innovators and as part of the three-year fellowship, receives $450,000 to develop a leading edge research project.
Dionne-Odom, whose program of research involves palliative care and caregivers, will develop and pilot a health system-based caregiver support incubator to improve adoption, implementation, sustainment and scale-up of caregiver stress assessment and support. Once complete, it will include a web-based toolkit to allow for easy distribution and use of caregiver support tools.
“One of the greatest health care challenges we face in the coming decades is how to best support the 43.5 million U.S. family caregivers who are the ‘hidden’ health care workforce for a growing population of adults with serious illness,” Dionne-Odom said. “Numerous caregiver distress assessment and support interventions, including my own, have been developed and tested and have demonstrated benefit for patients and caregivers. However, a major challenge has been the translation of these caregiver distress assessment interventions into “real-world” clinical settings.”
Nationally, he said, challenges including lack of trained staff, limitations in provider knowledge, limited funding sources and more have limited access to and effectiveness of caregiver distress assessment and other important tools for caregiver health. The toolkit this project will develop and disseminate will not only improve access to these tools, but work to improve health and quality of life for the millions of family caregivers in the U.S.
This new Betty Irene Moore Fellowship for Nurse Leaders and Innovators program, funded by a five-year, $37.5 million grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, recognizes early- to mid-career nursing scholars and innovators with a high potential to accelerate leadership in nursing research, practice, education, policy and entrepreneurship. Fellows’ projects must address gaps in knowledge, meet a vital need, alter care delivery or design a new solution to advance health.
“We are excited to see what our nurse leader fellows accomplish during this fellowship and beyond,” said UC Davis Health Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing Dean Stephen J. Cavanagh. “Our goal is to build and develop the next cadre of nurse leaders who can bring about change and innovation by networking and disseminating their knowledge across the nation.” In addition to the project, the fellowship program features curriculum to enhance leadership and innovation capacity, strengthen strategic thinking and collaborative skills, expand professional networks, develop entrepreneurial skills, and propel innovative ideas to fruition. Dionne-Odom will use this added training to gain proficiency in human resources and personnel management skills, including interpersonal relationship skills, communication and messaging, negotiation and difficult conversations and effective teambuilding.
“The subsequent gain and impact after this fellowship will be the ability to transform care for family caregivers through research innovations and policy impacts in family caregiver support on a national level. My additional aspirations are transmitting my acquired leadership skills through mentoring future generations of nurse researchers,” Dionne-Odom said. “I feel honored to be selected for this national leadership fellowship alongside an exceptional cohort of fellow nurse leaders and grateful to my mentors, colleagues, friends, and family who helped and supported me getting to this point.”