nursing schoolJason E. Farley, PhD, MPH, CRNP, an assistant professor in the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing, is one of just 12 outstanding nursing educators to win a competitive grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Nurse Faculty Scholars program this year.

Farley, nurse practitioner in the Johns Hopkins AIDS Service, and clinical core co-director of The Johns Hopkins Center for AIDS Research, will receive a three-year, $350,000 award to promote his academic career and support his research. The Nurse Faculty Scholar award is given to junior faculty who show outstanding promise as future leaders in academic nursing.

“This exceptionally competitive program provides a significant amount of support for the recipients. It will allow me to dedicate substantial energies to understanding a model of care that may lead to better eradication of MRSA among persons with HIV,” Farley said. “This information is vital to prevent excess morbidity and mortality associated with this infection among persons with HIV.”

For his research project, Farley will conduct a randomized controlled trial of persons living with HIV who are colonized with MRSA bacteria. Subjects will be randomized to two arms: one arm provides testing and treatment for their entire household and/or sexual partner(s); the other provides testing and treatment for the individual patient alone. All subjects will receive a standardized decolonization protocol. Farley will work with Johns Hopkins experts in hospital epidemiology, antibiotic management as well as statisticians with a variety of epidemiologic and statistical methodologies to conduct the trial. The findings, Farley hopes, will inform national practice guidelines for the eradication of MRSA infection in patients with HIV.

Farley’s work follows an evaluation he conducted with co-investigators within the Johns Hopkins AIDS Service that identified an exceptionally high prevalence of MRSA in this population. Using molecular epidemiologic approaches, Farley’s study identified a high prevalence of cross-infection among sexual partners. This preliminary work prompted Farley and his colleagues to design the current trial.

“My goal with this research is to inform practice among patients living with HIV,” Farley said. “We have a very poor understanding of the most effective measures of bacterial eradication and the influence of this eradication on subsequent outcomes,” he notes, “and current treatment guidelines provide little guidance for the clinician in regards to household or sexual contacts, which are known risk factors for failure of an MRSA eradication program.

The RWJF Nurse Faculty Scholars program is strengthening the academic productivity and overall excellence of nursing schools by developing the next generation of leaders in academic nursing. It is providing $28 million to five cohorts of outstanding junior nursing faculty. Farley is part of the fifth cohort.

His primary mentors for the award are: Phyllis Sharps, PhD, RN, FAAN, a professor in the School of Nursing and associate dean for community and global programs; and Karen Carroll, MD, professor in the School of Medicine and medical director of the Johns Hopkins Hospital Medical Microbiology Division. Farley is also working closely with Sara Cosgrove, MD, MPH, an associate professor of medicine and director of the Johns Hopkins Hospital Department of Antibiotic Management; and Dr. Lawrence Moulton, PhD, professor in the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in the Department of International Health and Biostatistics.

The new Nurse Faculty Scholars also will support the Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action, which is engaging nurses and others in a nationwide effort to implement recommendations from the groundbreaking Institute of Medicine report, The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health.

Supporting junior nurse faculty will help curb a shortage of nurse educators that could undermine the health and health care of all Americans. The Affordable Care Act will vastly increase the number of people who can access health care in the United States. As the number of patients increases, there will be greater demand for skilled nurses as well as faculty to educate them. Right now, many schools of nursing are turning away qualified applicants because they do not have the faculty to teach them. The RWJF Nurse Faculty Scholars program is helping more junior faculty succeed in, and commit to, academic careers. The program will also enhance the stature of the scholars’ academic institutions, which will benefit fellow nurse educators seeking professional development opportunities.

To receive the award, scholars must be registered nurses who have completed a research doctorate in nursing or a related discipline and who have held a tenure-eligible faculty position at an accredited nursing school for at least two and no more than five years.

The Nurse Faculty Scholars program is funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and administered through the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing. It is directed by Jacquelyn Campbell, PhD, RN, FAAN, who is the Anna D. Wolf chair and professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing.

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