Scholars

Each of these nurses is poised to become an exemplary nurse leader who will transform health care in communities and nationwide, help build a Culture of Health, and inspire the next generation of nurses.

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Rachel Wells
2016 cohort, University of Alabama at Birmingham

Rachel D. Wells, MSN, RN, CNL, a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Future of Nursing Scholar, is focusing on the early introduction of palliative care for advanced heart failure patients and their family caregivers. Her primary research goal is to examine the dose-effect relationship of early palliative care interventions for older adult, advanced heart failure patients and their caregivers. She also plans to explore health literacy and educational needs of this population with an emphasis on rural, underserved areas of the Deep South. Her focus on educational needs and healthcare disparities started early as she witnessed her own family and their rural West Alabama community struggle with lack of access to primary and specialty care, including palliative care, lack of culturally competent healthcare education, and communication barriers.

Wells earned her Bachelors of Science in Biology, English, and the Classics at the University of Alabama where she first became involved with health disparities research as an undergraduate honors student. She was a graduate in the first Accelerated Masters of Nursing Program (AMNP) at UAB.

Wells has worked as a staff nurse in a variety of cardiac environments including the Heart and Lung Transplant ICU at UAB as well as the Cardiac ICU and outpatient cardiology in Mobile, Alabama. She has also worked as a graduate teaching assistant and adjunct clinical faculty at UAB School of Nursing. She currently works as a research nurse on a R01 funded palliative care and heart failure study, providing a behavioral intervention for both patients and caregivers, assisting in preparation of manuscripts and grants, and training new research nurses and other ancillary staff.

Wells lives in Hoover, AL.

Abigail Wilpers
2016 cohort, Yale University

Abigail B. Wilpers, MSN, WHNP-BC, a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Future of Nursing Scholar, is pursuing her PhD with a focus on fetal diagnosis and therapy and how nurses can support women throughout these high-risk pregnancies. She is particularly interested in the evolution of fetal care centers and the nursing roles within them.

She earned her Bachelor of Arts from Barnard College of Columbia University, and her Master of Science in Nursing from Yale University.

Wilpers began her career in healthcare as a clinical research coordinator in the Department of Pediatric Cardiology at New York Presbyterian Hospital. She collaborated closely with the Center for Prenatal Pediatrics working with pregnant women who had received fetal diagnoses of congenital heart disease. She was inspired to become a nurse by the center’s nurse care coordinator. Wilpers graduated from her graduate entry nursing program in 2016 and plans to work both clinically, and as a nurse scientist, with women diagnosed with fetal anomalies.

Wilpers lives in New Haven, CT.

Shira Winter
2016 cohort, University of California, San Francisco

Shira Winter, BSN, MSN, RN, FNP-BC, a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Future of Nursing Scholar, intends to study how the advanced practice nursing workforce interacts with the healthcare system in community settings. Patients’ ability to access healthcare services in the community has the potential to decrease barriers to access, change cost, and influence healthcare outcomes for vulnerable populations. Primary care services are increasingly being delivered by APRNs in clinics situated in the community, such as retail clinics, school health centers, and specialized community health centers. Winter plans to investigate the geographic, financial, political, and social variables that impact care delivery in these settings.

Winter earned her Bachelor of Arts in Modern Middle East Studies from Yale University, and her Bachelor of Science in Nursing and Master of Science in Nursing from the MGH Institute of Health Professions (MGHIHP) in Boston.

Winter was a teaching assistant in Community Health and Nursing Practice courses at the MGHIHP. She also assisted faculty with research related to HIV health literacy, use of simulation in psychiatric mental health nursing education, the nurse practitioner workforce, and global health nursing. She has worked as a nursing assistant at Spaulding Hospital in Cambridge, MA, as a Medication Reconciliation Intern at Brigham and Women’s Hospital Emergency Department in Boston, and as a volunteer camp nurse at Camp Kesem, MIT.

Winter lives in San Francisco, CA.

A headshot of Rose Mary Xavier
Rose Mary Xavier
2014 cohort, Duke University

Rose Mary Xavier, MS, RN, PMHNP-BC, a Future of Nursing Scholar, is pursuing her PhD with the goal of studying the neurobiological and genetic mechanisms of schizophrenia with a focus on symptomatology, particularly the lack of insight, cognitive deficits and psychotic aggression.

She earned her BSc Nursing with distinction from College of Nursing Thiruvananthapuram in India and her Masters degree from Arizona State University.

She has worked in several specialties including Psychiatry, Chemical Dependency, Cardiac Surgery, Neurology and Neurosurgery, at different capacities ranging from bedside nursing to nursing education. She is an ANCC certified Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner and has been in practice since 2008. She has extensive experience working with the mentally ill and chemically dependent population in several psychiatric care settings- both involuntary and voluntary treatment facilities, large community hospitals, state mental health systems and OP psychiatry clinics in the states of Arizona and Minnesota.

Xavier lives in Hillsborough, North Carolina.