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The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Selects Columbia Nursing to Receive Prestigious Future of Nursing Grant


Columbia University School of Nursing was one of only 31 schools nationwide selected to receive a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s (RWJF) Future of Nursing Scholars program, marking the fifth year the school has been chosen to participate. The program, which will sponsor two Columbia Nursing students for the fall cohort while they pursue their PhDs, provides financial support, mentoring, and leadership development to nurses who commit to earn their PhDs in three years.   


In its landmark nursing report published in 2011, the Institute of Medicine (now known as the National Academy of Medicine) recommended that the country double the number of nurses with doctorates. Although enrollment in doctorate of nursing practice programs has increased exponentially, PhD enrollment has seen less growth. The Future of Nursing Scholars program was designed to increase PhD-prepared nurses. Doing so will ensure that more nurses are conducting vital research and will also help address the nurse faculty shortage.


“Columbia Nursing is fortunate to have been selected to participate in this exciting initiative for the past five years,” said Arlene Smaldone, PhD, professor and assistant dean of scholarship and research. “Our Future of Nursing Scholars graduates have demonstrated their ability to contribute to the profession and have benefitted greatly from the financial support, networking, and leadership training resources offered by the program.”


Among the highly qualified students who applied for the 2018 RWJF’s Future of Nursing scholarships, Columbia Nursing faculty chose Elise Mantell and Shazia Mitha. They were selected based on having prior research experience and a well-conceptualized research question, which will enable them to complete the program in three years. Mantell and Mitha will start their PhD studies in the fall of 2018.


Elise Mantell, MPH, RN, a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Future of Nursing Scholar, is interested in infection prevention and quality improvement, especially in outpatient and community settings. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Miami, and her Master of Public Health in Epidemiology from Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. She has worked as an epidemiology nurse in local public health, and as an infection preventionist for the ambulatory care areas of a large academic medical center.


Shazia Mitha ’16 ’18, MSN, AG-ACNP, RN, a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Future of Nursing Scholar, is interested in studying the relationship between oncologic treatments and the incidence and disease process of cardiomyopathies and atrial fibrillation and exploring how mobile health technologies can be used to manage these cardiac and oncologic patients. She received a Bachelor in Biomedical Science with minors in Public Health and Economics from the University of South Florida and earned a second Bachelor of Science in Nursing as well as a Master of Science in Nursing in Adult-Gerontology Acute Care specialty as a nurse practitioner with honors from Columbia University School of Nursing. Prior to entering the PhD program, Shazia worked as a Phase 1 oncology research nurse at NYU Langone Medical Center.


Upon graduating, Mantell and Mitha will join more than 200 PhD-prepared nurses who have taken part in the RWJF’s Future of Nursing Scholars program.