Neonatal baby feet with sensor clip attached to one foot
The School's newest master's tracks - for NNP and PNP-AC students - will be a testing ground for a new collaborative research model focused on master's students that will boost faculty productivity.

An icon of an open book to signify scholarship in teaching and learning. A nearly $2.3 million infusion into the School of Nursing will support a new student/faculty model of research collaboration and teaching teams to enhance faculty research productivity and expand exposure to research for the School's second biggest student population: the roughly 250 students enrolled in its seven master's tracks.

The transformative grant - from UVA's Strategic Investment Fund, which is overseen by UVA's Board of Visitors and administered through a rigorous application process - begins this fall, and extends into 2020.

The funds will also enhance the School's development and delivery of high-tech courses and labs with digital health technology. The broad scope will include mobile health, health information technology and bioinformatics, wearable devices, telehealth, and big data approaches to genomics and personalized health.

"Traditional models of nurse practitioner education focus only on clinical practice in the classroom and bedside setting," explains Christine Kennedy, associate dean for academic programs, "but rapid changes in health care push us to transform and innovate by integrating research and moving learning beyond the classroom walls."

Starting this fall, the 15 students enrolled in the School's two newest master's programs - the Neonatal Nurse Practitioner (NNP) and the Pediatric Nurse Practitioner-Acute Care (PNP-AC) tracks - will be closely mentored by nursing research faculty and intimately involved a series of pediatric research projects over their two years of study. After an initial three-year pilot of this research immersion model, the program will be formally expanded to the School's additional five master's tracks.

"This visionary investment in research and graduate education by the Board of Visitors gives us an unparalleled opportunity to make the School to be one of the nation's preeminent institutions for neonatal and pediatric research, teaching and care," explains Dean Dorrie Fontaine. "It will enhance the care and improve health outcomes for the smallest and sickest patients in the Commonwealth."