BSN Alumna Named RWJF Nurse Faculty Scholar

OCTOBER 6, 2014 – A Georgetown University nursing alumna is among 12 early-career nurse faculty members selected for a highly competitive scholars program.

Ashley Darcy-Mahoney (NHS’06), PhD, NNP, who earned her BSN at the School of Nursing & Health Studies, was recently named a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Nurse Faculty Scholar.

“This award from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation provides a remarkable opportunity to investigate brain neuroplasticity in children born preterm,” says Darcy-Mahoney.  “I am thrilled to be chosen as a RWJF Nurse Faculty Scholar and look forward to the opportunity to conduct my research utilizing the wonderful resources and support this scholarship provides.”

‘Enormous Potential’

The program, which is in its seventh and final year, seeks to strengthen schools of nursing by “developing the next generation of leaders in academic nursing,” according to a press release.

Scholars each receive a $350,000 award for research projects, leadership training, and mentoring opportunities with a senior faculty member at their respective institutions.

Jacquelyn Campbell, PhD, RN, FAAN, the national program director, says the scholars have “enormous potential.” 

“We look forward to working with this new group as they conduct groundbreaking research, strengthen the academy, and advance the nation’s health,” she says.

Reducing Disparities

Darcy-Mahoney, who is an assistant professor and neonatal nurse practitioner at Emory University’s Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, says she plans to focus on developmental consequences of premature birth for children raised in bilingual and monolingual environments with the aim of reducing health disparities.

“We aim to reduce health and educational disparities for groups disproportionately affected by preterm births,” she says. “The disparity in preterm children’s cognitive abilities calls for identifying ways to minimize their impairments. Through mentorship and support from the nurse faculty scholars program we are one step closer to finding solutions.”

Staying Involved

In addition to her growing academic career, Darcy-Mahoney has stayed involved with her alma mater, serving on the Board of Governors of Georgetown’s Alumni Association and the Board of Advisors of the School of Nursing & Health Studies.

“My Georgetown degree gave me the skills to provide the highest quality of care to patients and their families,” she says, noting that by “giving back” she hopes to help current students become women and men for others.

Patricia Cloonan, PhD, RN, the interim dean at NHS, congratulated the alumna.

“We could not be happier for Ashley,” Cloonan says. “Selection for this prestigious program reflects her strong contributions to the nursing profession and her potential in the higher education field.  She exemplifies the accomplishments of our alumni who have become leaders in academe, clinical and community-based settings, the government, non-profits, and other important areas.”

By Bill Cessato