Sigma announces nursing research grant recipients

Sigma Foundation for Nursing funding contributes to evidence-based nursing research and practice

INDIANAPOLIS—The Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing (Sigma) announces the recipients of the following nursing research grants being awarded between now and November. These grants were made possible by the Sigma Foundation for Nursing, funding partners, and individual contributors to the Foundation’s Research Fund. For more information on the these and other grant opportunities currently available, visit

Sigma/Association of Nurses in AIDS Care (ANAC) Research Grant
Implementation Interventions for Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) in Public Health Sexually Transmitted Infections Clinics and Related PrEP Minority Trends
Julie Schexnayder, DNP, MSN, BSN
Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio, USA
Grant Impact: The purpose of this study is to examine the characteristics of implementation interventions used in the delivery of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) services, and to identify those interventions that occur in sexually transmitted infections (STI) clinics with greater PrEP services penetration in African American and Hispanic/Latino populations.

Sigma/Hospice and Palliative Nurses Foundation End-of-Life Nursing Care Research Grant
Beyond Prognosis Communication: Exploring the Existential Dimensions of Palliative Care Conversations with Adults with Advanced Cancer
Elise Conant Tarbi, MSN, BSN
University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
Grant Impact: Understanding existing patterns of prognosis and existential communication during palliative care consultation is essential to identifying the approaches that promote preference-concordant treatment decisions and enhance quality of life for individuals and families navigating advanced illness and end-of-life. The purpose of the proposed research is to explore the existential dimensions of palliative care conversations related to prognosis in adults with advanced cancer. Developing deeper insight can enable nurses and other healthcare providers to better recognize and attend to existential concerns, improving the way we care for and communicate with these vulnerable patients.

Sigma/Midwest Nursing Research Society Research Grant
The Experience of First-Time Breastfeeding in Rural Mothers
Katie Donahue, MS BSN
Saint Louis University, St. Louis, Missouri, USA  
Grant Impact: Research about rural women is limited and qualitative studies are rare. The proposed study will explore the lived experience of breastfeeding in a group of rural mothers who intend to breastfeed. Findings will deepen understanding and illuminate the experience of breastfeeding among rural women and provide information that can be used for program planning.

Sigma/National Association of Hispanic Nurses Research Grant
Use of Narrative Analysis to Understand the Stories of Resilience in Urban, Childbearing Puerto Rican Women
Linda Maldonado, PhD, MN, BSN
Villanova University, Villanova, Pennsylvania, USA
Grant Impact: Studies of resilience in Puerto Rican women providing intergenerational care and residing in low-income settings in the US appear to be non-existent, leaving a gap in our knowledge. The proposed study addresses this gap by using narrative analysis to examine the lived experience and meaning of resilience in the lives of these women. This research is critical to more fully understand resilience within the context of intergenerational caregiving experiences of urban, childbearing Puerto Rican women and provides an essential first step in guiding the development of interventions that improve maternal-infant outcomes in the urban, childbearing Puerto Rican community.

Sigma/Southern Nursing Research Society Grant
Assessment of African American Preferences in a Peer Support Program for People with Type 2 Diabetes
Florence Okoro, PhD, MSN, BSN
University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Charlotte, North Carolina, USA
Grant Impact: According to the ADA (2018), African Americans have the second highest rate of diabetes in the United States and they bear the highest burden of disease complications, which include diabetic retinopathy, kidney failure, diabetic neuropathy, amputation, and cardiovascular diseases. Our study focuses on African Americans with type 2 diabetes and examines the preferences that this population has toward peer support programs so that we can better understand and plan an engaging and effective program that will better meet their needs. Our findings from our study will add to the body of knowledge and evidence-based data on what constitutes an ideal peer support program for African Americans with type 2 diabetes.

Sigma/Chamberlain University College of Nursing Education Research Grant
Exploration of Competence in New Graduate Nurses
Elizabeth R. Van Horn, PhD, MSN, BSN
University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Greensboro, North Carolina, USA
Grant Impact: The results of this study will provide a frame of reference on employers’ competence expectations of new graduate nurses on a national scale. This information will be useful to nursing education programs in designing curriculum, evaluation methods and outcomes, and end-of-program competence assessment. Additionally, the information will provide foundational knowledge to design a large-scale study of competence assessment and evaluation in nursing education programs.

Sigma/Chamberlain University College of Nursing Education Research Grant
Exploration of RN to BSN Students’ Intent for Faculty Role
Yolanda VanRiel PhD, MSN, BSN
University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Greensboro, North Carolina, USA
Grant Impact: The study findings will provide numbers of RN to BSN students who may pursue faculty positions and the strategies that may increase or enable that pursuit. This will be one of the first studies to provide this information to impact the faculty shortage.

Sigma Global Nursing Research Grant
Danger Assessment Thailand: Assessing Risk for Re-Assault in Abusive Thai Relationships
Tina Bloom, PhD, MPH, BSN
Sinclair School of Nursing, Columbia, Missouri, USA
Grant Impact: This project will produce the first-ever validated, culturally appropriate Thai-language version of the Danger Assessment, a widely used risk assessment tool for abused women. The Thai Danger Assessment will allow Thai IPV survivors, providers, advocates, and others to assess risk and create more effective plans to increase safety and reduce violence exposure for abused woman and their children. This tool will be widely disseminated by our Thai study collaborators, with potential for substantial impact on clinical practice, advocacy, policy, and future IPV safety planning and risk assessment research.

Doris Bloch Research Award

Dementia Family Caregivers' Digital Technology Use and Intention to Adopt mHealth Apps for Self-Management
Kyra J. Waligora, BSN
Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, USA
Grant Impact: This study is one of the first to examine intention to adopt mHealth apps for self-management among dementia family caregivers (FCGs) with one or more chronic diseases, and to describe their mobile app use. Additionally, this study is the first to explore racial/ethnic and educational differences in barriers and facilitators of mobile app adoption among dementia FCGs. These study findings will provide significant insights into current mobile app adoption behaviors among dementia FCGs; identify barriers and facilitators of mHealth adoption among chronic disease FCGs; and identify racial/ethnic and educational differences in factors affecting FCGs' mHealth adoption. These insights can be used to develop and translate new mHealth self-management interventions for highly vulnerable populations, to facilitate the uptake of available mHealth self-management apps on the market, and to tailor mHealth self-management apps to the unique needs of diverse FCGs.

Joan K. Stout, RN, Research Grant
Nursing Students’ Views Regarding the Use of Virtual Reality Simulation to Enhance Men’s Awareness of Testicular Diseases: A Qualitative Exploration
Mohamad M. Saab, PhD, MSN, BSN
University College Cork, Cork, Ireland
Grant Impact: The proposed study would strengthen future applications and proposals to fund large-scale testing of virtual reality–based health interventions, because it elicits the perspectives of healthcare professionals who play a major role in translating the use of such technologies in clinical practice.  

American Nurses Credentialing Center Evidence-Based Practice Implementation Grant
Keto Prescribed: Implementing Ketogenic Diet Research Evidence into Clinical Practice as a Holistic Approach to Wellness
Audra Hanners, MSN, RN, APRN-CNP
The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, USA
Grant Impact: Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the number one cause of death in 1 out of 3 women in America (Garcia et al., 2016). Research shows in 2016, CVD in the United States cost $555 billion and is projected to cost $1.1 trillion by 2035 (RTI International, 2017). Prevention of approximately 1% of CVD through the Keto Prescribed diet could potentially save over $5.5 billion dollars in US healthcare spending per year.


About Sigma
The Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing (Sigma) is a nonprofit organization whose mission is advancing world health and celebrating nursing excellence in scholarship, leadership, and service. Founded in 1922, Sigma has more than 135,000 active members in over 90 countries and territories. Members include practicing nurses, instructors, researchers, policymakers, entrepreneurs, and others. Sigma’s more than 530 chapters are located at more than 700 institutions of higher education throughout Armenia, Australia, Botswana, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, England, Ghana, Hong Kong, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Malawi, Mexico, the Netherlands, Pakistan, Philippines, Portugal, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Swaziland, Sweden, Taiwan, Tanzania, Thailand, the United States, and Wales. Learn more at