UMass Dartmouth awarded grant from Jonas Philanthropies to fund doctoral nursing student

Student Christine Bell of Middleboro, MA is the recipient of the Jonas Nurse Scholar Program

Jonas scholar and faculty and staff
Left to right - Professor of Nursing and Ph.D. Program Director Kristen Sethares, Jonas Scholar Christine Bell, Associate Provost for Graduate Studies Tesfay Meressi, and College of Nursing Dean Kimberly Christopher.

UMass Dartmouth is proud to announce that Christine Fournier Bell, a second-year nursing Ph.D. student from Middleboro, MA, has been awarded a $10,000 grant from Jonas Philanthropies, a leading national philanthropic funder of graduate nursing education. The grant will be matched by funds from the university’s Graduate Studies Office.

The Jonas Nurse Scholar program is by invitation only and supports the development of doctoral nursing students. Launched in 2008 to address the nursing faculty shortage, the Jonas Nurse Scholars initiative has supported more than 1,000 scholars in all 50 states.

As a grant recipient, UMass Dartmouth joins Jonas Philanthropies’ efforts to improve the quality of health care by investing in nursing scholars whose research and clinical foci specifically address our nation’s most urgent needs. The grant will empower and support nursing students with financial assistance, leadership development, and networking to expand the pipeline of future nursing faculty, researchers, and advanced practice nurses.

UMass Dartmouth and Jonas Philanthropies share the belief that investment in the education of nurse leaders is critically important to improving our nation’s healthcare system.

“We are pleased that the Jonas Scholar Award allows our College of Nursing to prepare a greater number of future nurse leaders through our Ph.D. program,” said Dean Kimberly Christopher. “Christine was chosen for this honor based on her scholarly record and her commitment to improving the care of persons with substance use disorders through nursing intervention in the acute care setting.

“We are very proud of Christine Bell and of our Ph.D. program,” added Dean Christopher. “This is a wonderful testament to our program.”

Bell is studying the effects of a combined educational and behavioral intervention on pain management practices in nurses that care for opioid-dependent patients in hospital settings. She has determined that pain management practices for these nurses are ineffective due to faulty information about dependence and its treatment.

She received her Bachelor of Science degree from St. Joseph’s College and Master of Science degree from Emmanuel College. She currently practices as a staff nurse in the perioperative unit at New England Baptist Hospital in Boston, MA.

"I am humbled and grateful for such an honor,” said Bell. “As a nurse who cares deeply for this population, I look forward to working alongside nurses to find new ways to provide innovative care and treatment to people living with the disease of substance use disorder. There is always hope."

With this award, Bell joins a 2018-2020 cohort of more than 200 scholars pursuing Ph.D., DNP, or EdD degrees at 92 universities across the country, whose doctoral work will focus on such critical health priorities as psychiatric-mental health and substance abuse.

As part of her scholarship experience, Bell will participate in the Jonas Nurse Leaders Program, a three-day event in Washington, DC, that provides networking, mentoring, and educational opportunities with nurse educators, executives, and policy experts.

Bell is the second Jonas Scholar to represent UMass Dartmouth. Dr. Rachel Allen, a 2018 nursing Ph.D. graduate, received the award in 2016. Her work focused on a historical review of the effects of deinstitutionalization on nursing and the current mental health system. She is currently a clinical assistant professor at Pennsylvania State University and a historical research fellow at the University of Pennsylvania.

“Each year, we grow more in awe of all our Jonas Scholars have achieved. It is with great honor that we welcome and celebrate this new cohort of nurse leaders,” said Donald Jonas, who co-founded Jonas Philanthropies with his wife, Barbara Jonas. “With more than 1,200 Jonas Scholars to date who are committed to meeting the greatest health needs of our time, we look forward to continuing our work with our partner nursing schools and expanding our impact to advance care for the country’s most vulnerable populations.”


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