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People briefs

For immediate use

March 27, 2007

Volunteer receives national award
for efforts to fight breast cancer

Grace Wright, a health promotions assistant at FPG Child Development Institute at UNC, was among the 25 people from across the country honored by Susan G. Komen for the Cure and Self magazine as a 2007 Yoplait Champion. Champions, selected in a nationwide search last fall, are ordinary women and men doing extraordinary things in their local communities to help in the fight against breast cancer, according to Yoplait.

Wright has taken a lead role in developing Women Be Healthy, a program that teaches women with disabilities about reproductive health, breast cancer screenings and active participation in their healthcare.

“Because women with intellectual disabilities tend to take a more passive role in their healthcare screening, Grace is determined to explain and demonstrate how self-screenings can save their lives,” said Karen Luken, director of the North Carolina Office on Disability and Health. “Grace’s charisma makes this often difficult and personal topic a safe and empowering experience for them.”

Wright also has volunteered for the past 12 years at Save Our Sisters of Rex, a local lay health advisory group, which focuses on educating and encouraging black women to get breast cancer screening. In addition, she works with I WILL (Incarcerated Women Interested in Living/Learning) at the North Carolina Correctional Center for Women in Raleigh.

Yoplait will donate $1,000 to Wright’s charity of choice focused on the breast cancer cause and she will receive a Simon Pearce award during a ceremony in April in New York City.

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Initiative to reshape nursing
curricula gains momentum

Linda Cronenwett, Ph.D., dean of the School of Nursing at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has received $1.09 million from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to fund the second phase of the Quality and Safety Education for Nurses (QSEN) project.

The project’s long-range goal is to reshape professional identity formation in nursing to include commitment to quality and safety competencies recommended by the Institute of Medicine. The award will enable Cronenwett and project co-investigator Gwen Sherwood, Ph.D., to continue work initiated last fall with an award of $590,532 for the first phase.

“We know that there are significant problems related to safety and quality in the U.S. healthcare system,” said Cronenwett.  “To improve care, healthcare professionals must know what good care is, how to identify gaps between good care and the local care they provide, and what activities they could initiate, if necessary, to close any gaps.” 

During the first phase of the project, Cronenwett led a panel of 17 national nursing and medical leaders who defined the Institute of Medicine competencies for nursing and proposed targets for the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to be developed in nursing pre-licensure programs for each competency: patient-centered care, teamwork and collaboration, evidence-based practice, quality improvement, safety and informatics.

During the second phase, the panel will work with 15 pilot schools that commit to active engagement in curricular change to incorporate quality and safety competencies.  Work is also underway with representatives of organizations that represent advanced practice nurses to draft proposed knowledge, skills, and attitude targets for graduate nursing education.  A Web site (www.qsen.org) will be launched to feature teaching strategies and resources for quality and safety education.  The Web site also will link nursing faculty to reports of QSEN work that will appear in a special June 2007 issue of Nursing Outlook.

The grant counts toward the Carolina First Campaign, a comprehensive, multi-year, private fund-raising campaign that has raised more than $2 billion to support Carolina’s vision of becoming the nation’s leading public university. It is the largest private grant the School of Nursing has ever received.

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Burkhart honored for making a difference
by American Academy of Dermatology

Dr. Craig Burkhart, a resident physician in dermatology at UNC Hospitals, has been selected by the American Academy of Dermatology to receive its Member Making a Difference Award.

Burkhart is being recognized for his work in organizing a new dermatology clinic in Carrboro, in collaboration with UNC’s Student Health Action Coalition (SHAC). SHAC provides free general medical care to those in need. As part of his recognition, Burkhart will be featured in the Members Making a Difference column in an upcoming issue of  Dermatology World magazine. He also will be honored at an awards luncheon at the 2008 American Academy of Dermatology Annual Meeting.

In addition, Burkhart has received an AAD International Travel Grant to attend the Brazilian Society of Dermatology Annual Meeting in Fall 2007.

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Zylka wins national honor
for young faculty in science

Mark Zylka, Ph.D., assistant professor of cell and molecular physiology in the UNC School of Medicine, has been named a 2007 Searle Scholar, which provides $240,000 over three years in support of his research on neural circuits and pain. The Searle Scholars award supports exceptional young faculty across the biomedical sciences and in chemistry. Co-recruited with the UNC Neuroscience Center, Zylka began his professorial appointment in 2006 and has already garnered a number of other awards.

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FPG contact: Tracy Zimmerman, (919) 966-0867, zimmerman@mail.fpg.unc.edu
School of Nursing contact: Amanda Meyers, (919) 966-4619, amanda_meyers@unc.edu
School of Medicine contact: Stephanie Crayton, (919) 966-2860, scrayton@unch.unc.edu