Baltimore, Md. – Janet D. Allan, PhD, RN, CS, FAAN, dean of the University of Maryland School of Nursing, recently announced the establishment of the School of Nursing's first Center for Research Excellence, The Center for Occupational and Environmental Health and Justice. The new Center is the first of several being developed under the Strategic Initiatives set forth in the School's 2003-2006 Strategic Plan.
"Such Centers build on strengths in a focused area of scholarship to provide an environment for expansion of the knowledge base, integration with focused education and practice initiatives, and the mentoring of new scholars," said Dean Allan. "We are excited about the establishment of our first Center, and we look forward to initiating other Centers within the next three years."
The new Center for Excellence will concentrate the expertise of senior researchers in occupational and community health to expand its research agenda in health care worker safety to better understand the complex issues that contribute to adverse affects on the physical and psychological well being of health care employees. In addition, in response to increased concern among citizens about environmental health hazards and risks in their communities, the School is leading innovative education and outreach initiatives that integrate environmental health perspectives into health care delivery and identify opportunities for multidisciplinary collaboration between environmentalists and health care communities.
Some of the Center's current projects include the formation of a Hazardous Substance Research Center, a statewide asthma initiative, community assistance on hazardous waste sites, "greening" the School of Nursing, educating nurses and physicians about pesticide poisoning, development of national environmental health projects, and more. Researchers who make up the Center have generated more than $7 million in research awards since 2001.
"In a time of dwindling faculty resources, it is wise to identify priorities, build upon our strengths, and recognize the stellar efforts of highly productive faculty researchers," says Barbara Smith, PhD, RN, FACSM, FAAN, associate dean for research. "These new Centers for Research Excellence will help us achieve these initiatives."