September 15, 2008 — Kathryn Laughon, an assistant professor at the University of Virginia School of Nursing, was one of 15 junior faculty in the nation to receive an inaugural Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Nurse Faculty Scholar award. The three-year, $350,000 grant began Sept. 1.
The award supports Laughon's research to test a computerized safety planning aid for battered women seeking protective orders for intimate partner violence. Intimate partner violence represents a significant public health burden for society, and abused women and their children are at risk for homicide, injury, and a wide range of chronic health problems. This is the first clinical trial to measure the effectiveness of safety planning, long held to be the cornerstone of intimate partner violence intervention, on women's safety, exposure to further violence and health outcomes for the women and her children.
The award will also support Laughon's participation in a training program toward academic leadership across the domains of scholarship, university, professional and community service, and translating evidence into policy and practice initiatives.
"This generous support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation will enable me to learn whether this innovative planning aid will help to improve the safety and quality of life for battered women and their children," she said. "Through the national training that the foundation provides, I will also have the opportunity to work with national nursing leaders so that I can gain the skills to quickly to move research findings into policy and practice. Research findings do not help anyone if we cannot get them out into the hands of the people doing the work on the ground."
Her faculty mentors for this research are Barbara Parker, the Theresa A. Thomas Professor of Nursing, and psychology professor Melvin Wilson.
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Nurse Faculty Scholars program seeks to develop the next generation of national leaders in academic nursing through career development awards for outstanding junior nursing faculty. The program aims to strengthen the academic productivity and overall excellence of nursing schools by providing mentorship, leadership training, salary and research support to young faculty.