Sharon Ruyak


Sharon Ruyak

Sharon Ruyak, PhD, MSN, RN, is a Sigma member and the 2020 Sigma/Western Institute of Nursing Research Grant recipient. She chose nursing because she wanted to be a part of a caring profession. Upon acceptance to her nursing program, she felt called to care for mothers, infants, and families.

“I became a nurse to be of service to women and to empower them to be active participants in their health. I have been blessed by this profession to answer that call as a nurse and then a certified nurse midwife. I have had the honor of being present for thousands of births.”

Sharon joined Sigma upon completion of her master’s program and continues her membership today to stay connected with other members and her local chapter. She also appreciates the connections Sigma provides to nursing leadership and global nursing research.

In her current role as a nurse scientist, she most enjoys the teamwork that takes place between scientists from nursing and other fields. And in this role, she continues to answer the call to care for mothers and their children.

Sharon received the 2020 Sigma/Western Institute of Nursing Research Grant for her study The Effect of Prenatal Opioid and Alcohol Exposure on Key Placental Immune and Serotonin Factors influenced by TLR4 Signaling Pathways. Her research addresses a growing public health crisis of opioid abuse in pregnant women and the implications on their infants.

“Infants with neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome (NOWS) experience increased rates of respiratory and feeding difficulties, low birth weight, and seizures increasing hospital length of stay and placing an estimated US $1.5 billion/year burden on the US healthcare system.”

The preliminary data gathered from this study will be used to apply for a larger National Institutes of Health grant to expand on this research.

Funding for the grant Sharon received are provided jointly by the Sigma Foundation for Nursing and Western Institute of Nursing. Donate today to make more of these grants possible.