SAN ANTONIO (May 19, 2008) — In a recent report, the Institute of Medicine noted that many more health care providers and family caregivers with specialized training will be needed to provide care for the aging Baby Boomer generation. Shortly after, the American Academy of Nursing announced its 2009 class of fellows and scholars involved in a special program to train researchers and academicians in geriatric issues, including Lyda Arévalo, Ph.D., M.S.N., R.N., from The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.
Dr. Arévalo, an assistant clinical professor in the Department of Acute Nursing Care, was awarded a Claire M. Fagin Fellowship from the Building Academic Geriatric Nursing Capacity Program, a partnership between the John A. Hartford Foundation and the American Academy of Nursing.
The two-year, $120,000 fellowship supports advanced research training and mentorship of nurses with doctoral degrees who are committed to academic careers in the field of geriatric nursing.
“The report from the Institute of Medicine, ‘Retooling for an Aging America: Building the Health Care Workforce,’ has made it clear that we are on course to have a serious crisis in health care regarding the elderly, especially regarding the Baby Boomer generation that will begin retiring in 2011,” explained Eileen T. Breslin, Ph.D., R.N., dean of the School of Nursing. “There are not nearly enough health care providers who understand and are trained in caring for the increasing elderly population as the Baby Boomer generation ages.
“This fellowship is a great opportunity for Dr. Arévalo, who has been studying geriatric issues for some time, to continue her research and receive excellent mentoring from some of our faculty members and other leaders in the field of geriatric nursing. She will pass the knowledge along by mentoring others and continuing her research. This will put the Health Science Center in a great position to benefit from her knowledge and leadership as we train nurses for the future,” Dean Breslin said.
Dr. Arévalo, who earned her Ph.D. in April, is the first UT Health Science Center faculty member to receive a Fagin Fellowship. She also was the first faculty member at the Health Science Center to receive a two-year, $80,000 predoctoral scholarship from the program, which was awarded to her in 2006. Ninety-one Hartford scholars and 60 Claire M. Fagin fellows, as well as four Master of Business Administration students, have gone through the program since it began in 2000.
“It is really humbling to know that I have been selected twice by the foundation for this program,” Dr. Arévalo said. “It is highly competitive. I thank Drs. Sharon Lewis and Carrie Jo Braden for their mentoring during my predoctoral scholarship. Dr. Martha Medrano also was one of my faithful and generous supporters, always willing to provide input and guidance. Being able to say that I am a Hartford scholar and now a Hartford fellow opens doors. I hope people recognize it is not by my merit alone, but the merit of those who so generously mentored me, that I was able to receive this honor.”
Dr. Lewis holds the Berneice Castella Distinguished Professorship in the Department of Acute Nursing Care. Dr. Braden is associate dean for research in the School of Nursing. Dr. Medrano is a clinical professor of psychiatry, pediatrics, family and community medicine, and obstetrics and gynecology, and associate dean of continuing medical education in the School of Medicine. She also serves as director of the Medical Hispanic Center of Excellence at the Health Science Center.
Dr. Arévalo used the predoctoral scholarship to study the experiences of Latino/Hispanic caregivers of Alzheimer’s disease patients. The study became her doctoral dissertation. Funding from her new postdoctoral fellowship will be used to broaden her dissertation theme, continue to formulate a culturally informed theory of care giving and evaluate the cross-cultural validity of an instrument to assess the level of burden of Latino/Hispanic Alzheimer’s caregivers. The instrument will contribute to the training and evaluation of those who care for Alzheimer’s patients in the future.
In addition to funding her new research, the funds will support leadership and research training, including funds for Dr. Arévalo and her mentor, Dr. Lewis, to attend the annual Hartford leadership conferences and distinguished lectures.
About the UT Health Science Center San Antonio:
The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio is the leading research institution in South Texas and one of the major health sciences universities in the world. With an operating budget of $576 million, the Health Science Center is the chief catalyst for the $15.3 billion biosciences and health care sector in San Antonio’s economy. The Health Science Center has had an estimated $35 billion impact on the region since inception and has expanded to six campuses in San Antonio, Laredo, Harlingen and Edinburg. More than 23,000 graduates (physicians, dentists, nurses, scientists and allied health professionals) serve in their fields, including many in Texas. Health Science Center faculty are international leaders in cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, aging, stroke prevention, kidney disease, orthopaedics, research imaging, transplant surgery, psychiatry and clinical neurosciences, pain management, genetics, nursing, allied health, dentistry and many other fields. For more information, visit www.uthscsa.edu.