Final Post-Docs Selected by RWJF Future of Nursing Scholars Program

April 6, 2021 12:01 am

April 5, 2021

Philadelphia—The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) today announced the three Future of Nursing Scholars selected to receive post-doctoral fellowship awards this year.  These Scholars are members of the program’s fifth and final cohort and will each receive up to $50,000 each from RWJF for their post-doctoral research.

  • Emily Bratlee-Whitaker, BSN, MS, RN, is completing her PhD at Pennsylvania State University. She will remain at Penn State for the completion of her post-doctoral project, “Health Consequences of Dementia Worry: A Mixed Methods Study.”
  • Brittany Drazich, MSN, RN, is completing her PhD at Johns Hopkins University. Her post-doctoral project, “Physical Activity Among Recently Hospitalized Older Adults with Dementia Who Received a Function Focused Care Intervention” and will be conducted at the University of Maryland, Baltimore.
  • Jacqueline Nikpour, BSN, RN, is completing her PhD at Duke University. Her post-doctoral project, “Work Environments and Job Satisfaction of Black Primary Care Nurses and Nurse Practitioners, and Association with Outcomes of Recently Discharged Black Patients” will be conducted at the University of Pennsylvania.

“The projects chosen this year meet very timely needs,” said Julie Fairman, PhD, RN, FAAN, Future of Nursing Scholars program director and the Nightingale Professor of Nursing at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing.  “The first two projects focus on the care of older adults, which is critically important given the age of our country’s largest generation.”

Bratlee-Whitaker will describe how experiences with cognitive problems impact dementia worry and related health consequences and how these may differ based upon gender, dementia exposure, and beliefs about cognitive aging. Drazich will test the impact of an intervention on physical activity of older adult patients with dementia following hospital discharge.  She will evaluate the association between physical activity and behavioral and psychological symptoms.

“Our program leaders also believe it is critical that we make contributions to the nation’s social justice agenda,” Fairman continued.  “The third project comes at a time in which we must examine unconscious bias and disparities in health care.”

Nikpour will determine if disparities in hospital readmissions and emergency department utilization exist between Black and White Medicare beneficiaries with coronary artery disease.  She will examine whether those potential disparities can be explained by the quality of the ambulatory care practice environment, the provision of patient-centered care, and higher levels of burnout, job dissatisfaction, and intent to leave among Black primary care nurses.

“All three of these nurse scholars are outstanding leaders,” Fairman concluded.  “On behalf of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Future of Nursing Scholars program, I am thrilled to support their ongoing research and professional development.”

In its landmark nursing report, the Institute of Medicine recommended that the country double the number of nurses with doctorates. The Future of Nursing Scholars program was designed to increase the number of PhD-prepared nurses to help address the nurse faculty shortage and also prepare nurses to conduct vital research.

#   #   #   #

For more than 45 years the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has worked to improve health and health care. We are working alongside others to build a national Culture of Health that provides everyone in America a fair and just opportunity for health and well-being. For more information, visit Follow the Foundation on Twitter at or on Facebook at