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AHCPR and American Academy of Nursing Announce Selection of First Senior Nurse Scholar

Press Release Date: September 20, 1995

The Agency for Health Care Policy and Research, in conjunction with the American Academy of Nursing, has announced the selection of Christine Kovner, Ph.D., R.N., F.A.A.N., as the first nurse senior scholar. Under this program, senior nurse scientists will help AHCPR develop areas of investigation that integrate clinical nursing care questions with critical issues of quality, cost, and access to health care. Dr. Kovner is currently an associate professor on the faculty of New York University's Division of Nursing.

"We welcome this opportunity to engage the exceptional abilities and experience in nursing science that Dr. Kovner brings to her new role as senior nurse scholar," said AHCPR administrator Clifton R. Gaus, Sc.D. "This appointment is especially important at a time when the field of nursing is undergoing rapid and fundamental change."

Dr. Gaus said that while nursing staffs at many hospitals and nursing homes are being downsized, new opportunities are opening up for nurses in community health services, and in ambulatory care settings. "The changes now underway in the nursing field raise many important research questions relating to their effect on workforce requirements, and the impact on costs and quality of care," he said.

"We are pleased to collaborate with AHCPR in identifying talented scholars who will work with interdisciplinary experts to address critical health care problems," said Janet Heinrich, DrPH, RN, FAAN, director of the American Academy of Nursing. The Academy, an organization of nursing leaders operating under the aegis of the American Nurses Association, is committed to the exploration of policy issues in health care. "This is a wonderful opportunity for Dr. Kovner to bring nursing's expertise in clinical outcome measures together to focus on the quality of patient care," Dr. Heinrich said.

Dr. Kovner will work with the AHCPR staff to develop a research agenda, and to identify data sources and researchers that can contribute to studies of nursing work force issues. "We will focus initially on reviewing studies that examine the relationship between the organizational structures of health care delivery systems and measures of quality of care and clinical outcomes; this may include, for example, studying the effects on quality and outcomes of using nursing units dedicated to care of patients with HIV disease, versus dispersing such patients throughout the hospital for care in a non-specialized nursing environment.

"By identifying organizational structures that are associated with high quality care and positive clinical outcomes, researchers will be able to develop benchmarks or guidelines for establishing optimal organizational structures and an adequate mix of nursing skills in acute care hospitals," Dr. Kovner said.

Dr. Kovner has completed several health policy research studies which focused on nursing care costs and health workforce issues. These included a 1992 study for the New Jersey Department of Health on nursing care models comparing the cost of care and patient outcomes. She also collaborated on two studies in New York State, including a study of the estimated future supply and demand for health care personnel in New York City.

The nurse senior scholar program is associated with AHCPR's Center for Primary Care Research, which supports studies of primary care, and clinical, preventive and public health policies and systems. These include studies of the effectiveness of education, supply, and distribution of the health care workforce. Nurse senior scholars are appointed to serve for one year.

Dr. Kovner received her BSN from Columbia University. She completed a Master of Science in Nursing from the University of Pennsylvania and earned her PhD from the New York University. An active researcher and educator in public health nursing, Dr. Kovner was the recipient of a postdoctoral research fellowship from the National Center for Health Services Research and Health Care Technology, the Public Health Service agency which was predecessor to AHCPR. Dr. Kovner is the author of numerous articles and chapters on nursing resource use and the cost of nursing care.

For additional information, contact AHCPR Public Affairs at (301) 427-1364: Karen Migdail, (301) 427-1855; or the American Academy of Nursing: Lucia Katsouros, (202) 651-7238.

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