July 6, 2015
School of Nursing honors two retiring professors with research endowment fund
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The Virginia Commonwealth University School of Nursing recently held a celebration to kick off a fundraising campaign for a new research endowment fund named in honor of two retiring distinguished professors.
More than 75 faculty, staff, alumni and friends were on hand at The 2300 Club in Richmond to honor Nancy McCain, Ph.D., Nursing Alumni Distinguished Professor, and Mary Jo Grap, Ph.D., Nursing Alumni Distinguished Professor, for 20 and 31 years of service to the school, respectively.
The school established the McCain-Grap Research Endowment Fund in honor of their outstanding careers and impact on the school’s research program. Both professors were a part of a team of pioneers who helped establish and elevate the School of Nursing’s biobehavioral research program into one of the top among nursing schools nationwide.
“Nancy and Mary Jo have made a significant impact on our school and the nursing profession through mentoring hundreds of nurse scientists, authoring numerous publications, presenting at many national conferences and conducting groundbreaking research that changed nursing research and bedside protocols nationwide,” said Jean Giddens, Ph.D., dean of the School of Nursing, who presented each professor with a crystal bowl retirement gift. “This endowment is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate their extraordinary careers while investing in the future of our school’s research program. ”
Nancy and Mary Jo have made a significant impact on our school and the nursing profession through mentoring hundreds of nurse scientists, authoring numerous publications, presenting at many national conferences and conducting groundbreaking research that changed nursing research and bedside protocols nationwide.
Nancy Langston, Ph.D., who retired in 2013 after 22 years as dean of the School of Nursing, also shared remarks on how McCain and Grap were a critical part of building a biobehavioral-focused research program.
“We put our research systems in place and set a goal of being ranked in the top 25 schools of nursing within 10 years,” Langston said. “Lo and behold within five years we were 25th in the nation.”
Both McCain and Grap shared fond memories of their years at the School of Nursing and expressed gratitude to Langston for ensuring that researchers had the support to get their projects off the ground. They also appreciated the opportunity to work with a collaborative and innovative team.
“The building and maintenance of the research program was always about the team,” McCain said. “We had some remarkable, extraordinary team members. We had a joyful time.”
“The excitement and the passion of working with colleagues – we had a lot of fun,” Grap said. “Students inspired us and we inspired them. It was a wonderful time … the best of times.”
McCain was the principal investigator for the P20 Center grant that established the School of Nursing’s Center for Biobehavioral Clinical Research (CBCR), which transformed the research enterprise at the SON. She also served as director of the Biobehavioral Science Core for the P30 Center grant, which expanded the CBCR into the Center of Excellence for Biobehavioral Approaches to Symptom Management. Nationally acclaimed for her research on stress management in persons with HIV and women receiving chemotherapy for breast cancer, she has significantly contributed to advancing the science of psychoneuroimmunology (PNI) through clinical interventions research. Her work advanced knowledge related to biobehavioral mechanisms, and PNI-focused nursing interventions, measurement systems and patient outcomes.
Grap was a founding member of the CBCR and served as the principal investigator for the National Institutes of Nursing Research-funded P30 Center grant (P30 NR011403). VCU Medical Center and hospitals nationwide have significantly improved their management of mechanically ventilated patients as a result of Grap’s investigation of clinical issues that directly impact their nursing care. Her research team has focused on reducing ventilator-associated pneumonia through patient positioning and oral care interventions. She also participated in the development and testing of the Richmond Agitation Sedation Scale, a worldwide sedation evaluation tool. Prior to joining VCU, Dr. Grap served in the U.S. Army and retired as a colonel in the Army Reserve in 2002.
The recipient of numerous nursing awards, both McCain and Grap were among the 120 faculty and alumni named as Visionary Leaders during the School of Nursing’s 120th anniversary in 2013.
Featured image at top : Mary Jo Grap, Ph.D.; Nancy Langston, Ph.D.; Jean Giddens, Ph.D.; and Nancy McCain, Ph.D.
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