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Sigma in the news   

Sigma Names Dr. Zohra Lassi and Dr. Rehana Abdus Salam as 2021 Episteme Laureates

Supported by the Baxter International Foundation, this prestigious award recognizes the honorees’ research and evidence synthesis toward improving maternal and child health.

Awards will be conferred during the 46th Biennial Convention in Indianapolis, IN, USA.

INDIANAPOLIS —The Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing (Sigma) has named Zohra Lassi, PhD, MSc, BScN, and Rehana Abdus Salam, PhD, MSc, BScN, as the 2021 recipients of the Baxter International Foundation-supported Sigma Episteme Award. Established in 1989, the Episteme award is bestowed upon a person or team for highly significant research, acknowledging a major breakthrough in nursing knowledge development, that impacts the underserved in areas relating to nutrition/malnutrition, clean water and sanitation, or diabetes prevention.

Photo of Dr. Zohra LassiZohra Lassi, PhD, MSc, BScN,
is a Research Fellow at the University of Adelaide in Adelaide, Australia. She has published more than 150 peer-reviewed papers, including publications, and is an author on 10 book chapters and several research/technical reports. Her research has contributed significantly to global maternal and newborn policies, and her work has resulted in several invited presentations at international meetings.


Photo of Dr. Rehana Abdus SalamRehana Abdus Salam, PhD, MSc, BScN,
is a CRE-Project Manager at the Melanoma Institute Australia in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. She has over 100 international peer-reviewed publications and book chapters to her credit and has been a member of the World Health Organization (WHO) Taskforce on influenza vaccination during pregnancy and served as a technical advisor to the WHO on three occasions.


Drs. Lassi and Salam are both internationally recognized leaders in evidence synthesis to improve newborn, child, and adolescent nutrition and health in low-and middle-income country settings. They have intentionally crafted a program of research grounded in systematic reviews of the evidence in their research field that has a meaningful impact on policies that shape healthcare around the globe. Their article on effective interventions to address maternal and child malnutrition was published in the May 2021 issue of The Lancet.

“Drs. Lassi and Salam have devoted their careers to improving maternal-child health and nutrition in developing countries and appraising evidence to inform public policy that saves and improves lives,” said Sigma President Richard Ricciardi, PhD, CRNP, FAANP, FAAN. "I congratulate these outstanding scholars on receiving the Episteme award, and I admire and thank them for their impactful and excellent work.”  

Verónica Arroyave, executive director of the Baxter International Foundation and senior director of global community relations at Baxter, said, “Advancing nutrition, especially to underserved populations, is a key component of Baxter’s work each and every day. We recognize that evidence synthesis in this space would not be possible without the contributions of dedicated experts in the field. We’re honored to support Sigma in its recognition of outstanding nurse researchers such as Dr. Lassi and Dr. Salam.”

As Episteme Laureates, Drs. Lassi and Salam will be the keynote speakers for the second plenary session at Sigma’s 46th Biennial Convention, scheduled for 8 a.m. EST on Sunday, 7 November 2021. They will be presented with the Episteme Award during that plenary session. Sigma’s Biennial Convention brings together Sigma members and global leaders in nursing to celebrate the organization’s heritage over the last 100 years, build upon its successes, and embrace the 2019-2021 Presidential Call to Action, Infuse Joy. To view details or register for the event, visit


About Sigma
The Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing (Sigma) is a nonprofit organization with the mission of developing nurse leaders anywhere to improve healthcare everywhere. Founded in 1922, Sigma has more than 135,000 active members and 550 chapters at institutions of higher education and healthcare partners from Armenia, Australia, and Botswana to Thailand, the United States, and Wales. Sigma members include clinical nurses and administrators, academic nurse educators and researchers, policymakers, entrepreneurs, and others working to fulfill the organization’s vision of connected, empowered nurse leaders transforming global healthcare. Learn more at

About the Episteme Award Sponsors
Every day, Baxter and the Baxter International Foundation strive to make a meaningful difference in the lives of people who depend on our products, and in the communities where our employees live and work. The Foundation helps advance Baxter’s mission to save and sustain lives through global partnerships that increase access to healthcare for the underserved, bolster STEM education to develop the next generation of healthcare innovators and promote overall community resilience. For more information, please visit Baxter's Corporate Responsibility page.