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School of Nursing researchers inducted as American Academy of Nursing fellows

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Sharon Close, PhD, MS, Jennifer Foster, PhD, CNM, Suzanne Staebler, DNP, NNP-BC, Kathryn Wood, PHD, RN and Kate Yeager, PhD, RN professors at Emory University's Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing will be inducted into the American Academy of Nursing (AAN) Fellowship during a formal ceremony at the AAN’s Annual Conference and Meeting in Washington D.C., in October.

Induction into the AAN Fellowship is one of the highest honors in nursing. Fellows are considered nursing's most accomplished leaders in education, management, practice and research. With the pending induction, the School of Nursing now has 30 faculty who have earned the AAN Fellow designation.

"This is such a tremendous and well-deserved honor for all of our honorees,” says Linda McCauley, PhD, RN, dean of Emory’s Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing. "Drs. Close, Foster, Staebler, Wood, and Yeager represent the largest number of Emory faculty ever inducted into the Academy in a single year.  To have so many faculty accepted from one institution is truly a testament to our faculty’s leadership, accomplishments, and transformative research.”

As a board certified pediatric nurse practitioner and nurse researcher, Close has devoted her career to helping children and their families manage chronic conditions of genetic origin, especially sex chromosome aneuploidy (SCA).  Her groundbreaking doctoral research on Klinefelter Syndrome, has garnered a national reputation through to the development of a new assessment tool of physical traits that makes earlier diagnosis with the potential to prevent or treat the physical and psychosocial impairments of patients.  She recently secured a Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) grant to study how to engage patients, families, clinicians and researchers in the development of new research and evidence-based interventions for SCA, which affects nearly one million Americans.

Foster has demonstrated a sustained record of interdisciplinary maternal and newborn health research to improve outcomes in vulnerable populations, particularly for Latin American communities.  Dissemination of her work has inspired practice changes and better coordination for health workers in low-resource areas and has placed a spotlight on the utilization of community-based participatory research aimed at developing innovative solutions for health care issues plaguing underserved populations.  Her work has been recognized as seminal in the field of maternal health and has resulted in over 30 publications appearing in 19 top field journals and four book chapters. It has also received international attention, resulting in over 150 citations.  Foster holds the distinct honor of being the first nurse in the 111-year history of Emory University's School of Nursing to receive the prestigious Fulbright Award.

Through her commitment to advocacy initiatives for premature infants, particularly as it relates to proactive immunizations for neonates to reduce the risks associated with respiratory syncytial virus, Staebler’s career is devoted to transforming neonatal nursing through service, practice, and policy.  Her leadership in the policy arena has culminated into appointments to numerous board positions for national organizations, including the National Association of Neonatal Nurse, the National Certification Corporation, the National Association of Neonatal Nurse Practitioners, the Georgia Nurses Association, and the Georgia Nursing Leadership Coalition. As a policy consultant for the Alliance for Patient Access (AfPa) and National Coalition for Infant Health, she serves as an advocate for health policy initiatives to improve patient care and access.

Wood has devoted her nursing career to improving the quality of life for individuals with atrial arrhythmias through scholarship, leadership, and promoting clinical practice changes. Her research has generated enhanced understanding of symptoms, diagnosis, and measurement of outcomes surrounding supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) in women-- a population frequently misdiagnosed and not offered timely curative treatments. In the national setting, her leadership as vice chair of the American Heart Association’s (AHA) Council on Cardiovascular Nursing’s program committee led to representation of nursing on important AHA practice guidelines and scientific statements. Wood was also invited by the European Society of Cardiology to participate in the development of guidelines for arrhythmia patient education and specific education for managing new anticoagulant medications for providers and patients.

Yeager is committed to better understanding and eliminating the disproportionate burden of cancer pain, treatment outcomes, and overall poor adherence to pain medication within the African American population. Her research examines pain medication adherence in African American cancer patients, and the role of their caregivers in seeking pain relief. She is the co-chair of the Health Disparities Committee for NRG Oncology, a National Cancer Institute-sponsored consortium of 1,000 member sites in North America. She also serves as a board member for the American Pain Society’s Pain and Disparities Special Interest Group whose role is to advocate, educate, research towards policy change that eliminates the unequal burden of pain and improve quality of life among underserved populations. She is a noted contributor to cancer research with more than 35 professional publications, five book chapters, and as an Editorial Board Member and frequent contributor to Oncology Nursing News.

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