New York University College of Nursing announced a new doctoral program scholarship this winter, the Barbara Jonas Psychiatric-Mental Health Scholars Program, an inaugural initiative funded with a $250,000 grant from the Jonas Center that will support 20 PhD and DNP candidates through 2018.
The program is named for Jonas Center co-founder Barbara Jonas, a former psychotherapist and lifelong mental health advocate, according to a news release.
The Jonas Center supports nearly 600 doctoral scholars nationwide with a goal of 1,000 by 2016, according to the release.
Over many years in private practice, I saw firsthand the debilitating effects of poor mental health on all aspects of the peoples lives, including their physical health and careers, Jonas said in the release. Donors tend to sweep mental health issues under the rug because they are uncomfortable. We hope that this program will send a strong signal while also increasing the number of faculty and researchers specializing in mental health.
Tammy Federman-Cohen, Maureen McSwiggin and Karina Santabanez have been selected as the first members of the cohort. Their scholarship will focus on issues such as neurobiological treatments for depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and anxiety disorders and other psychiatric problems in need of more research and evidence-based interventions.
Mental health problems are highly prevalent nationally and globally, Judith Haber, PhD, BSN, RN, associate dean for graduate programs and an advanced practice psychiatric-mental health nurse, said in the release. One in four adults, approximately 61 million Americans, experience mental illness in a given year; 13.6 million of these patients live with serious mental illness such as schizophrenia, major depression and bipolar disorder. Approximately half of the problems that present in primary care settings are behavioral health in nature.
In addition to increasing the number of RNs and psychiatric NPs prepared to address the mental health needs of the population, this program is one answer to the shortage of qualified faculty. They will prepare the next generation of nursing professionals who work with people with mental health problems in primary care and psychiatric settings.
The return on investment for these scholars is considerable, Darlene Curley, executive director of the Jonas Center, said in the release.
In the course of a 30-year career, one nurse faculty member could teach approximately 7,500 nurses who, in turn, would touch the lives of a potential 3.6 million patients in their care per year, according to a 2010 impact assessment by the Jonas Center and NYUs College of Nursing.
The importance of supporting nursing education cannot be overstated, and we are proud to have partnered with the Jonas Center on this and other scholar programs for nearly a decade, said Eileen Sullivan Marx, PhD, RN, FAAN, dean and Erline Perkins McGriff Professor of Nursing at NYU. In addition to a dearth of faculty, there is a lack of funding for nurses wanting to study at the doctoral level. The Jonas Centers programs play an important role in helping grow the quality and quantity of our nations faculty and scholars, and this latest effort furthers this goal.