In This Issue:

New Leadership for NJNI
A ‘Watershed Moment’ for the New Jersey Nursing Initiative
Moving Words as Susan Bakewell-Sachs Moves On
Treating Depression in Single Black Mothers
Academic Resource Center of New Jersey Celebrates Its Accomplishments
In Memoriam: Rich Hader
Coming Soon: Alumni Update
Did You Know…?

New Leadership for NJNI

The New Jersey Nursing Initiative (NJNI) welcomed Aline M. Holmes, MSN, RN, and Susan W. Salmond, EdD, RN, ANEF, FAAN, on July 1 as program directors following the departure of Susan Bakewell-Sachs, PhD, RN, PNP-BC, who had served in that position since NJNI’s inception. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce Foundation launched NJNI in 2009 to address the state’s nurse faculty shortage and help avert the projected shortage of more than 23,000 nurses in New Jersey in less than two decades.

“Aline Holmes and Susan Salmond bring exceptional skills and experience to NJNI,” said RWJF’s senior adviser for nursing, Susan B. Hassmiller, PhD, RN, FAAN. “Their passion for promoting the health and well-being of New Jersey’s citizens is apparent in their work, and that translates beautifully to the mission of NJNI: ensuring that a nurse will be there for you.”

Holmes is the senior vice president for clinical affairs at the New Jersey Hospital Association (NJHA) in Princeton, as well as the director of the NJHA Institute for Quality & Patient Safety. She also serves as a principal investigator/project director for several patient safety improvement initiatives funded by RWJF and the Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey, and directs NJHA’s efforts under a Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services contract to serve as a Hospital Engagement Network in the Partnership for Patients national initiative.

A U.S. Navy Nurse Corps veteran, Holmes completed her undergraduate studies in nursing at the University of Massachusetts and received her master’s of science in nursing from the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. She is pursuing a doctorate in nursing leadership at Rutgers University. Her hospital background includes leadership roles in nursing administration, patient care services, and operations. She has also served as an advanced practice nurse, worked in long-term care and managed care, and held faculty appointments in New Jersey, Chicago, and Washington, D.C.

“As a nurse and as an administrator, I’ve long known the fundamental role that nurses have in providing care and promoting health,” Holmes said. “I’m eager to tackle the challenges in New Jersey that NJNI has focused on so tirelessly for four years.”

Salmond is dean and professor at Rutgers School of Nursing (formerly the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey). She spearheaded development of New Jersey’s first doctor of nursing practice (DNP) degree program, which was launched at the school in 2006. Under her leadership, the school has also established new master’s programs in clinical leadership, advanced community health nursing, advanced emergency nursing, and nursing education. Salmond serves as co-chair of the New Jersey Action Coalition’s Academic Progression Committee and has been a member of NJNI’s Leadership Council.

She received her bachelor’s of science in nursing from the Villanova University College of Nursing, which in 2012 presented her its highest honor, the College of Nursing Medallion. She is a 2012 inductee into the Hall of Honor at the Seton Hall University College of Nursing, where she received her master’s of science in nursing with a specialization in chronic illness management. She earned her doctor of education degree from Teachers College, Columbia University.

“NJNI has made remarkable progress in fueling the pipeline of nurse faculty in the state,” said Salmond. “It’s an honor to assume the leadership of NJNI, with Aline Holmes, and build on its success.”

Bakewell-Sachs, who also until recently was interim provost of The College of New Jersey, has been appointed dean of the School of Nursing and vice president for nursing affairs at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland.

NJNI’s Faculty Preparation Program has supported 61 New Jersey Nursing Scholars who are pursuing, or have completed, master’s or doctoral degrees in New Jersey nursing programs. These nurses are now poised to assume nurse faculty roles in the state.

NJNI launched, a website dedicated to nurse faculty career information. NJNI has also led the development of several clinical innovations projects across the state to more closely link nursing education and practice, including dedicated education units and renewed education for clinical preceptors. It has a key role in the New Jersey Action Coalition, which helps the Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action implement recommendations from the Institute of Medicine’s landmark 2010 nursing report as part of a nationwide effort to transform nursing and the delivery of health care in America.

Promoting leadership is a high priority for NJNI, Salmond and Holmes both agreed.  “There are many parallels between NJNI and the New Jersey Action Coalition, in terms of education and faculty preparation, and I’d like to see those activities coordinated,” said Holmes. “One of the Action Coalition’s pillars is leadership, and I see NJNI having an increasingly vital role in developing future leaders. There is a great opportunity for professionals in this health care environment, with factors such as chronic conditions and community-based care. NJNI can cultivate leaders in this environment, but we have to provide people with the right skills.”

“I also see a focus on leadership in academia,” said Salmond. “What do future leaders need in their schools and communities in order to thrive? By engaging alumni scholars as well as new people, NJNI can move academic goals forward. It’s also important for NJNI to look at its success and see how it can be replicated elsewhere. Highlighting our partnerships and promoting awareness of curriculum innovations is a big part of what needs to happen going forward.”
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A ‘Watershed Moment’ for the New Jersey Nursing Initiative

Innovative program’s first PhD scholars graduate, joining pipeline of nurses prepared to fill faculty positions in the Garden State.

How do you sum up four years devoted to pursuing a doctorate in nursing? “It was a remarkable opportunity that opened so many doors for the way I’ll function as a nursing educator and a researcher,” said Sheila Linz, PhD, PMHNP-BC, RN, one of eight nurses whose spring graduations represent a milestone for the New Jersey Nursing Initiative (NJNI): the first New Jersey Nursing Scholars to complete PhD degrees.
With the graduation of five PhD scholars at Seton Hall University on May 18, three at Rutgers on May 23, plus one master’s of science in nursing (MSN) scholar at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey on May 20, NJNI has supported 47 scholars whose master’s or doctoral degrees qualify them for nurse faculty positions.
An additional 13 PhD scholars and one additional MSN scholar continue in their graduate nursing programs with support from NJNI, which was launched by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce Foundation in 2009 to address the state’s staggering 10.5 percent nurse faculty vacancy rate and help avert a projected shortage of nurses in New Jersey.
“This is truly a watershed moment for NJNI,” said RWJF Senior Program Officer Maryjoan D. Ladden, PhD, RN, FAAN. “With just two nursing PhD programs in New Jersey, it’s a challenge to get 21 scholars through those institutions. The fact that the first eight PhD scholars have completed their programs in four years, when it often takes considerably longer, reflects an amazing commitment from the schools and intense mentoring from faculty. And it reflects the potential these women and men have to be dynamic forces in nursing education and practice.”
The New Jersey Nursing Scholars who graduated in May:
Seton Hall University
• Connie Kartoz, PhD, RN, FNP-BC, whose research focus is medication adherence in older adults living independently in the community;
• Sheila  Linz, PhD, PMHNP-BC, RN, whose research focus is social isolation in the severely mentally ill;
• Maria Torchia LoGrippo, PhD, RN, whose research focus is how trusting relationships between pregnant women and certified nurse-midwives lead to positive outcomes for mothers and their babies;
• Kristi Stinson, PhD, RN, APN-C, whose research focus is attitudes toward the use of physical restraints in critical care environments;
• Munira Wells, PhD, RN, whose research focus is New Jersey nurses who were born in India and faced culture shock in the United States;
Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey

• Rahshida Atkins, PhD, APN, FNP-BC, whose research focus is depression in Black single mothers;
• Tracy Perron, PhD, RN, whose research focus is school bullying;
• Robert Scoloveno, PhD, RN, whose research focus is how resilience affects the health outcomes of middle adolescents; and
University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey
• Julie Aseltta, MSN, RN.
“The New Jersey Nursing Scholars are part of the legacy of NJNI,” said founding program director Susan Bakewell-Sachs, PhD, RN, PNP-BC, “but more importantly, they are part of the future of nursing in New Jersey. They were chosen because of their skills and accomplishments, but also because of NJNI’s hope for tomorrow—that these scholars will become the next generation of faculty we need to be sure we can teach the next generation of nurses. I’m so happy with the progress we’ve made.”
The nursing population is aging, with only 8 percent of New Jersey nurses younger than 30. The average age of the state’s nurses is 51, and the average age of nurse faculty is 55. A recent study projects a shortage of 23,358 nurses in New Jersey by 2030.
What’s Next
Linz and classmates Stinson and Wells will teach at Seton Hall this fall. “I’ve grown more than I expected as I pursued my PhD,” said Stinson. “It’s been a big lesson in time management. Using all the lessons that NJNI provided the scholars, I hope I can be a change agent.”
“Getting my PhD as a New Jersey Nursing Scholar has made a big difference for me,” said Wells. “It’s involved collaboration and networking not just with leaders in New Jersey, but experts from around the country. There are more opportunities open to me now.”
LoGrippo’s plans include post-doctoral research at Rutgers, part-time teaching, and serving as project director for the New Jersey Action Coalition’s State Implementation Program grant. “My PhD experience has made me committed to improving nursing education in New Jersey, and it’s made me want to continue to do research and provide evidence-based practices for the clinical environment and education,” she said.
“Being a New Jersey Nursing Scholar and working with RWJF has given me access to leaders in nursing in a way I wouldn’t have experienced otherwise,” said Kartoz, who will be an assistant professor at The College of New Jersey this fall. “I’ve been exposed to national perspectives from exceptional people, and I’ve come to believe I can follow the example of these leaders.”
Two scholars from Rutgers will soon return to the classroom as well.
“I definitely want to continue my research, because I’m passionate about my topic. Plus, I love teaching,” said Perron, who will teach full time at Kean University this fall. “This opportunity came at a perfect time for me. I had to get my PhD if I wanted to advance in academia.”
Scoloveno plans to be an assistant professor and director of clinical simulation at Rutgers School of Nursing-Camden this fall. “I’m amazed by how fast the time has gone by and how much I’ve grown in ways I didn’t expect,” he said. “The contacts I’ve made will be a great resource throughout my career.”
Atkins works as a family nurse practitioner and is looking into post-doctoral research opportunities. She called her experience as a New Jersey Nursing Scholar “a privilege.” It’s “broadened my view of nursing education and research. My vision for educational success and scholarship was enhanced by rubbing shoulders with seasoned nurse educators.”
Learn more about the New Jersey Nursing Initiative.
Reproduced with permission of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Princeton, N.J.
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Moving Words as Susan Bakewell-Sachs Moves On

Words of praise for Susan Bakewell-Sachs, PhD, RN, PNP-BC, flowed freely at Eno Terra restaurant near Princeton, N.J., on June 6 as the founding program director of the New Jersey Nursing Initiative (NJNI) and her colleagues gathered for a farewell dinner. Bakewell-Sachs is relocating to Portland to serve as dean of the School of Nursing and vice president for nursing affairs at Oregon Health & Science University.
“I can’t begin to express my gratitude for the privilege of working with all of you and having your trust to do this work,” Bakewell-Sachs said. “I was initially worried about my ability to deliver, but, as true with every project, it can never be accomplished alone. It’s hard to leave. I’m hoping to make a contribution in Oregon based on what I’ve learned here. It’s been an incredible honor to be part of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and to have so many partnerships supporting the work of NJNI.”
Bakewell-Sachs has made an indelible impact on nursing in New Jersey, as reflected in comments throughout the evening:
“Without Susan’s vision and dedication, we wouldn’t have 47 scholars so far who have completed advanced degrees and are prepared to teach New Jersey’s next generation of nurses. She made that happen. From the business community’s perspective, that’s a very good thing.”—Dana Egreczky, senior vice president for workforce development, New Jersey Chamber of Commerce, and president, New Jersey Chamber of Commerce Foundation
“She has been an ever-present force with a positive vision. She’s always displayed an attitude of ‘We can do it; nothing can stand in our way.’ She was able to look at all the barriers and see the possibilities beyond them. After knowing her for 20 years, she tops a long list of exceptional nurse leaders.”—Mary Wachter, MS, RN, government affairs, Genentech, and National Advisory Committee member, New Jersey Nursing Initiative
“She truly has a gift for bringing people together. She is quick to recognize people and identify their contributions to a common goal.”—Susan B. Hassmiller, PhD, RN, FAAN, senior adviser for nursing, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
“Susan’s legacy is reflected not only in the master’s- and PhD-prepared nurses that NJNI has supported, but also in the countless number of future nurses who will benefit from the skills and insights that she helped NJNI’s scholars gain.”—John R. Lumpkin, MD, MPH, senior vice president and director of the Health Care Group, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and chair of the Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Board of Directors
“She’s been able to forge partnerships between academia and practice sites in ways that people have not been able to before, and it’s due to her collaborative nature, wonderful communication skills, positive attitude, respect, and clinical expertise. She leveraged NJNI into new realms. She’s so skilled at talking to legislators, the business community, consumers, practitioners, and the academic community, and crossing into all of those places. That’s what NJNI needs, and why it’s successful.”—Maryjoan D. Ladden, PhD, RN, FAAN, senior program officer, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
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Treating Depression in Single Black Mothers

RWJF Scholar seeks to improve mental health care for a population at risk.

Problem: Single Black mothers are a population at high risk for depressive symptoms. However, there is little evidence-based knowledge about how to accurately identify, appropriately treat, and prevent depressive symptoms in this vulnerable group of women to ensure that they, and their children, can lead happier, healthier, and more productive lives.
Background: Raised in a non-traditional, low-income household headed by a single mother in inner-city New Jersey, Rahshida Atkins triumphed over the challenging circumstances of her childhood, and now she’s helping other women and children do the same.
Atkins attended some of the lowest-achieving public schools in New Jersey, but she nevertheless saw education as a path out of poverty. She studied hard, became her high school’s valedictorian, earned a scholarship to Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in nursing with highest honors and a near-perfect grade-point-average.
Atkins didn’t stop there; while holding jobs as a graduate research assistant, nursing course instructor, and a registered nurse (RN), she earned her master’s degree in nursing. This led to a position as a family nurse practitioner and alternate administrator at a medical day care for children with special needs, and various university-level adjunct teaching positions. She recently completed her doctoral degree as a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) New Jersey Nursing Scholar, supported by the New Jersey Nursing Initiative (NJNI).
Now at the end of her long and successful educational journey, Atkins, PhD, FNP-BC, has not forgotten where she started. For her doctoral dissertation, she studied ways to alleviate depression among single Black mothers. “My mom was a single Black mother, and many female relatives and friends are as well,” Atkins says. “I saw them struggle with psychosocial and mental challenges.”
She wants to help single mothers like her mother, her relatives, and the mothers she encountered at the medical day care where she worked. Many of these women were unable to adequately care for themselves or their children. Some had difficulties keeping appointments with health care providers and adhering to medical recommendations. In one memorable case, a child was malnourished.
Atkins suspected that mental health problems—caused by factors such as poor and unstable living conditions, intermittent employment, short-term relationships, poverty, and other psychosocial challenges, including racism—were to blame. Even when women had outside supports, such as government-provided health insurance coverage or access to free transportation, depression and other mental health challenges robbed them of the motivation they needed to care effectively for themselves and their children, she says.
Identifying and treating depression, however, isn’t easy. For cultural reasons, some women in the Black community who have mental health problems may be reluctant to come forward, and others might be unaware that they may be suffering from mental illness, Atkins says. Even if they are aware, there aren’t clear, evidence-based interventions to treat and prevent the problem. in this particular population.
Solution: Atkins, however, is working to change that. As a New Jersey Nursing Scholar, Atkins studied a group of more than 200 single Black mothers in Camden and Trenton, N.J., to develop a theory about the cultural and psychosocial factors that contribute to depression. in the population.
She found that anger, stress, perceived racism, and low self-esteem were linked in different ways to the development of depressive symptoms among study participants. Atkins used the findings to develop a theory to guide nursing research and practice in the area. Health care providers, she hopes, will be able to use the theory to better understand the causes of depression in the population and make more informed recommendations for treatment and prevention.
They might, for example, talk to women who exhibit signs of depression about the effects of racism or refer them to someone who can teach them anger management strategies or cognitive behavioral techniques to help overcome stress or low self-esteem.
Atkins hopes to conduct more research on successful treatment and prevention interventions. Her research has the potential to help large numbers of women and children. The percentage of single mothers is surging, according to a May report by the U.S. Census Bureau. Black women had the highest rate of single motherhood, making them particularly vulnerable to depressive symptoms, Atkins says.
“I want to prevent depressive symptoms, or diminish them, and improve quality-of-life so these women can maintain employment, enjoy stable relationships, and become productive members of society,” she says. That, she adds, will be good for their children, and for the country, too.
RWJF Perspective: The nation’s largest philanthropy dedicated solely to improving health and health care, RWJF is committed to narrowing health disparities and improving mental health and mental health care. Atkins is helping to advance those goals as a scholar with the New Jersey Nursing Initiative, a project of RWJF and the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce Foundation.
The New Jersey Nursing Initiative runs a Faculty Preparation Program that supports master’s- and doctoral-degree scholars in New Jersey who are interested in becoming nurse faculty. For her part, Atkins plans to teach while pursuing post-doctoral research into depression in single Black mothers.
Reproduced with permission of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Princeton, N.J.
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Academic Resource Center of New Jersey Celebrates Its Accomplishments

After three years of providing specialized Web tools to boost the academic writing and research skills of New Jersey nurses enrolled in graduate programs, the Academic Resource Center of New Jersey (ARC) came to a close with a luncheon, held on June 5 at the Hilton Newark Penn Station, at which supporters celebrated ARC’s achievements.

Based at the New Jersey Nursing Initiative (NJNI), ARC was launched with a grant from Partners Investing in Nursing’s Future (PIN), a partnership between the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and the Northwest Health Foundation that helps regional foundations develop local solutions to nursing workforce challenges. For the ARC project, The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey served as the lead foundation in building a coalition of funders to match the $245,000 PIN grant.

“PIN was shrewd in wanting to get a drumbeat going at the local level as a way to get more funders engaged in nursing,” said Joan Hollendonner, senior program officer at The Horizon Foundation. “It worked for Horizon. We went on to fund the New Jersey Action Coalition, and we’ve integrated incentives for applicants to include nursing in other health proposals.”

Summing up ARC’s track record for the luncheon attendees, Hollendonner said, “It was designed for 1,000 students, and it wound up serving 2,000. Writing scores improved. We engaged many schools. We had to raise $245,000 in matching funds, and we raised $450,000. I hope there will be many opportunities for us all to work together in the future.”

Hollendonner praised ARC’s project administrator, Christel Perkins, MS Ed, as the “heart and soul of the program,” and they both recognized the coalition of institutions, faculty members, and local funders—including the Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey, Johnson & Johnson, the F.M. Kirby Foundation, the Provident Bank Charitable Foundation, the Edward W. and Stella C. Van Houten Memorial Fund at Wells Fargo, and the Verizon Foundation—that made ARC possible.

“I’m especially grateful to the deans and institutions,” said Perkins. “In academia, it can be difficult to get buy-in for trying something new, so their support was meaningful.” Participating institutions included the College of Saint Elizabeth, Fairleigh Dickinson University, Felician College, Kean University, Monmouth University, Ramapo College, Rutgers University, Saint Peter’s University, Seton Hall University, The College of New Jersey, Thomas Edison State College, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, and William Paterson University.

Reflecting on the Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey’s involvement, Program Officer Marcy Felsenfeld, MPA, said, “Traditionally, the Academic Resource Center isn’t something we would fund. We did it because we were part of a bigger puzzle. In this collaboration, we learned more about the issues facing nursing and how important it is. I look for this in other grants now. I ask different questions. Now we’ve invested in a nurse-managed practice at Rutgers. New relationships have opened up.”

Funding ARC has made a difference for The Horizon Foundation, too, said Hollendonner. “We were just examining how to get into nursing when this opportunity came along. We now have a good knowledge base on the subject, with national perspective from PIN, and state perspective from NJNI. This collaboration led us to support the New Jersey Action Coalition as well, and that’s something we expect to continue. We’re eager to see what the next opportunity is.”
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In Memoriam: Rich Hader

The New Jersey Nursing Initiative (NJNI) community was saddened by the news that Rich Hader, PhD, RN, FAAN, died on March 25.

It was an honor to work with such a gifted nurse leader. Hader was a champion of NJNI and co-chair of the committee focused on increasing faculty capacity. In particular, he dedicated time to the Innovations in Clinical Education (ICE) program, helping make what began as an exciting idea a reality.

The leaders of four ICE pilot projects completed their work last year and presented their findings at an ICE forum earlier this year. Their success is a tribute to Hader’s passionate belief that academia and practice must partner to improve clinical education if we are to have the diverse, highly qualified nursing workforce that New Jersey deserves.

Hader was committed to helping the next generation strive to be the best, and spent time at NJNI annual meetings talking with and inspiring the New Jersey Nursing Scholars.

We are proud to have called Hader a colleague, and proud to see his legacy reflected in NJNI.

Read more about Hader’s life in his obituary and at

Coming Soon: Alumni Update

The New Jersey Nursing Initiative (NJNI) will launch a new feature in the next issue of the newsletter: Alumni Update. We want to spread the word about all the great things New Jersey Nursing Scholars have been doing since graduation.
Have you gotten a new job or a promotion? Have you published recently? Are you exploring a new research subject? Send your news to NJNI Deputy Director Jennifer Polakowski via
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Did You Know…?

The Collaborative Learning Community (CLC) for the new academic year will get underway with a two-day workshop devoted to the National League for Nursing (NLN) Certified Nurse Educator (CNE) exam. Sessions will be held at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation on October 3 from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and on October 4 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

While the workshop will serve as a review for the CNE exam, it is also appropriate for faculty who are new to teaching and wish to obtain an overview of the role of the nurse educator, and for experienced nurse educators and alumni scholars who wish to reflect on their own teaching and update their competencies. The workshop is structured around the NLN scope of practice for the nurse educator and the six educator competencies that are tested on the CNE exam. The interactive sessions, led by Diane Billings, EdD, RN, FAAN, will include the following topics:

  • Facilitate Learning
  • Facilitate Learner Development and Socialization, Use Assessment and Evaluation Strategies
  • Participate in Curriculum Design and Evaluation of Program Outcomes
  • Pursue Continuous Quality Improvement in the Academic Nurse Educator Role; Engage in Scholarship, Service and Leadership; Function as a Change Agent and Leader; Engage in Scholarship of Teaching; Function Effectively Within the Institutional Environment and the Academic Community

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