Parkinson’s Foundation Awards New Nurse Faculty Grant to Four Nurses Specializing in Parkinson’s Care

NEW YORK & MIAMI (October 11, 2018) — The Parkinson’s Foundation announced that it has awarded its first-ever Parkinson’s Foundation Nurse Faculty Award to four nurses, totaling $30,000. The nurses, all graduates of the Edmond J. Safra Visiting Nurse Faculty Scholars Program, will each receive $7,500 in grant funding from the Foundation to launch individual projects to help make life better for people with Parkinson’s disease (PD).  

While the number of people living with Parkinson's is increasing, there remains a shortage of trained neurologists specializing in PD in the United States.  The Parkinson’s Foundation supports the training of nurses specializing in PD through its professional education programs and now funds their research through the new Parkinson’s Foundation Nurse Faculty Award.

“Nurses play a vital role in helping people with Parkinson’s live better lives,” said John Lehr, Parkinson’s Foundation president and chief executive officer. “Nurses are integral to helping the Parkinson’s Foundation make Parkinson’s care accessible to more people. We’re excited to provide this Nurse Faculty Award to further projects that will enhance their ability to teach and increase learning of PD in the Parkinson’s health care community.”

All four awardees completed the Parkinson’s Foundation Edmond J. Safra Visiting Nurse Faculty Program — a 40-hour accredited program that teaches faculty leaders how to educate nursing students with ways to improve PD nursing care. As part of the program, every nurse designs a project to enhance the ability to teach more nurses, students or patients about Parkinson’s care. The new Foundation award will fund the launch and/or implementation of these projects.

The four Scholar awardees include:

Stephanie De Santiago, MS, RN, CNRN: Her project will launch a program at a community wellness center and evaluate its effect on quality of life for people living with PD. As an adult-geriatric Doctor of Nursing student at Arizona State University, a clinical research nurse at Banner Health and a Grand Canyon University professor, she is passionate about caring for seniors and plans to become a neurology nurse practitioner specializing in PD management.

Diane M. Ellis MSN, RN, CCRN: Her study aims to improve quality and safety for hospitalized PD patients through a case study assessing Parkinson’s medication administration in the hospital. As clinical assistant professor at Villanova University M. Louise Fitzpatrick College of Nursing, she practiced as a neurological clinical nurse specialist. Her ongoing research is funded by the Parkinson’s Foundation.

Donna G. Hood, PhD, RN, CNE: Her project will develop a PD resource center for the underserved communities in rural Louisiana and South Arkansas that will utilize university resources and nursing students. After 30 years as a registered nurse, she is now a professor and director of the Division of Nursing at Louisiana Tech University and conducts research on chronic illnesses.

Margaret McCormick, RN, MS, CNE: Her project will study the impact of a seminar course on neurodegenerative diseases on undergraduate nursing students. After her 30-year nursing career, she is now training nurses as the clinical associate professor in the Department of Nursing at Towson University in Maryland. She received the Safra Foundation’s Distinguished Faculty Scholar Award for her case study enhancing student learning.

“We are grateful to the Parkinson’s Foundation for this grant, which has allowed us to build on our simulation for people with Parkinson’s. This case study simulation with undergraduate nursing students and nurse anesthesia graduate students focuses on missed/delayed/omitted Parkinson’s medications, with the ultimate goal to better educate nurses and better care for patients with PD,” said Diane M. Ellis, MSN, RN, CCRN, clinical assistant professor at Villanova University M. Louise Fitzpatrick College of Nursing and Edmond J. Safra Nurse Faculty Scholar.

The Edmond J. Safra Visiting Nurse Faculty Program at the Parkinson’s Foundation helps prepare the next generation of nurses to care for the growing population of people with Parkinson’s. Research shows that nurses can lead to significant improvement in the well-being of people with Parkinson’s.


About the Parkinson’s Foundation
The Parkinson’s Foundation makes life better for people with Parkinson’s disease by improving care and advancing research toward a cure. In everything we do, we build on the energy, experience and passion of our global Parkinson’s community. Since 1957, the Parkinson’s Foundation has invested more than $400 million in Parkinson’s research and clinical care. Connect with us on Parkinson.orgFacebookTwitterInstagram or call (800) 4PD-INFO (473-4636).

About Parkinson’s Disease
Affecting an estimated one million Americans and 10 million worldwide, Parkinson’s disease is the second-most common neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimer’s and is the 14th-leading cause of death in the U.S. It is associated with a progressive loss of motor control (e.g., shaking or tremor at rest and lack of facial expression), as well as non-motor symptoms (e.g., depression and anxiety). There is no cure for Parkinson’s and 60,000 new cases are diagnosed each year in the U.S. alone.

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