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Elizabeth I. Merwin, PhD, RN, FAAN

Ann Henshaw Gardiner Professor of Nursing
Executive Vice Dean of the School of Nursing
(919) 681-0886
3027A Pearson Building

Elizabeth (Beth) Merwin, PhD, RN, FAAN, is Ann Henshaw Gardiner Professor of Nursing and Executive Vice-Dean at Duke University School of Nursing. As the School’s first Executive Vice-Dean, she provides senior leadership to DUSON’s academic and research enterprises and directs the integration of the operational activities of these areas. Dr. Merwin previously served as the Madge M. Jones Professor of Nursing and associate dean for research at the University of Virginia (UVA) School of Nursing, and was a former specialty coordinator for the UVA School of Nursing's Health Systems Management (HSM) concentration and the nursing component of the HSM/MBA program. She has built a distinguished administrative career both in academia and in health care delivery systems, and has been recognized nationally for innovative academic initiatives.

Dr. Merwin earned a PhD in Health Services Organization and Research in 1988 and an MS in Nursing in 1979, both from Virginia Commonwealth University. She received a BS in Nursing from Radford College in 1976. Her nursing and healthcare delivery research, supported by NIH, NIMH, and NINR, has focused on improving care for underserved and rural populations, particularly those in rural communities and minority populations. She is a methodological expert in the use of secondary data to address health care problems, and is a past member of the Healthcare Systems and Value Research study section of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Dr. Merwin was elected to the American Academy of Nursing in 1994, and in 2008 she received the Distinguished Professor Award from the School of Nursing of the University of Virginia.


  • PhD - Virginia Commonwealth University
  • MS - Virginia Commonwealth University
  • BS - Radford College

Research Interests

Dr. Merwin is a Professor Emerita of Nursing at the University of Virginia (UVA) and is currently a Professor and Executive Vice-Dean of the Duke University School of Nursing. She is an accomplished nursing and health services researcher whose work has focused on improving care for underserved and rural populations, particularly those in rural communities and minority populations. While at UVA, she conducted a NIH R01 funded study on Shortages of Health Professionals and was the principal investigator of a NIH/NINR funded P20 Rural Health Care Research Center. She is a methodological expert in the use of secondary data to address health care problems, often conducting studies on shortages of health professionals. She is a Scientific Reviewer for PCORI, the recently established Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute. Dr. Merwin was previously the Madge M. Jones Professor of Nursing and Associate Dean for Research at UVA, School of Nursing. At UVA, she was the Principal Investigator and Director of the Rural Health Care Research Center (RHCRC), funded by the National Institute of Nursing Research. In 2008, she served as volume editor for the Annual Review of Nursing Research: Focus on Rural Health. Dr. Merwin with a colleague conducted two AANA funded Workforce studies in recent years resulting in four publications on the supply and demand of CRNAs. She served as a standing review committee member for AHRQ’s Health Systems Research review committee for five years ending in 2012.

Dr. Merwin’s primary area of research focuses on improving care and health outcomes for underserved populations including those residing in rural areas, the mentally ill, those impoverished and/or minority populations. Dr. Merwin has particular interest in reducing health disparities, in reducing shortages of health professionals in rural and underserved areas and in identifying strategies to increase the diversity within the health.

Dr. Merwin’s second research focus is aimed at health disparities.

Major Accomplishments

  • Prior Director of Rural Health Care Research Center (RHCRC) funded by NINR through a P20 mechanism at University of Virginia.
  • Methodological expert in the analysis of large secondary data sets.
  • 2011 and 2013, Visiting Professor, The University of Hong Kong, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, Department of Nursing Studies, Course Professor (with professor/Hong Kong) Health Services Research.

Key Manuscripts

  • Merwin, E., Hinton, I., Dembling, B., and Stern, S. (2003) Shortages of rural mental health professionals. Archives in Psychiatric Nursing, Vol. XVII, 42-51.
  • Merwin, E., Stern, S. & Jordan, L. (2006) Supply & Demand in the Market for CRNAs. AANA Journal, 74:4, 287-293.
  • Merwin, E., Snyder, A., and Katz, E. (2006) Differential Access to Quality Rural Health Care. Special Edition on Rural Health Care, Family and Community Health. 29:3, 186-194.
  • Merwin, E., Stern, S. and Jordan, L. (2008) Salaries, Recruitment, and Retention for CRNA Faculty. AANA Journal. 76(2): 89-93.
  • Merwin, E., Stern, S. and Jordan, L. (2008) Clinical Faculty: Major Contributors to the Education of New CRNAs. AANA Journal, 76 (3): 1-5. text
  • Petterson, S., Williams, I.C., Hauenstein, E.J., Rovnyak, V., and Merwin, E. (2009) Race and Ethnicity and Rural Mental Health Treatment. Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved. Vol. 20, No. 3, 662-677.
  • Stern, S., Merwin, E, Hauenstein, E., Hinton, I., Rovnyak, V., Wilson, M., Williams, I., and Mahone, I. (2010) The effect of rurality on mental and physical health. Health Services and Outcomes Research Methodology, Springer.
  • DeGuzman, P.B., Bourguignon, C., and Merwin, E. The effect of walkability characteristics on the health outcomes of low-income women. (2013) Public Health Nursing. 1-13.

Awards and Honors

  • 2015 || AACN-Wharton Leadership Fellow
  • 2008 || Distinguished Professor Award, University of Virginia School of Nursing
  • 2008 || Selected Participant, 2008 Leadership in Academic Medicine program, University of Virginia School of Medicine
  • 2005 || Madge M. Jones Professor of Nursing (Endowed Chair), University of Virginia
  • 2004 || Fellow, AACN Fuld Academic Leadership Program
  • 1998 || Psychiatric Nursing Research Award, Society for Education & Research in Psych/MH Nursing
  • 1994 || Fellow, American Academy of Nursing
  • 1992 || Fellow, Thomas Jefferson Health Policy Institute, Charlottesville, VA
  • 1992 || Nomination for University of Virginia Alumni Board of Trustees Teaching Award, University of Virginia Alumni Board of Trustees
  • 1978 || Inducted, Sigma Theta Tau
  • 1976 || Outstanding Senior Award, Radford College

Areas of Expertise

  • Health Disparities
  • Nursing and Health Care Leadership
  • Psychiatric / Behavioral Health
  • Quality of Care / Patient Safety
  • Translational Research

Areas of Interest

Research Methods
Secondary Data Analysis

Representative Publications

  • 2016 -- PubMed # : 25037153 Cary Jr, M. P. and Merwin, E. I. and Oliver, M. N. and Williams, I. C. Inpatient Rehabilitation Outcomes in a National Sample of Medicare Beneficiaries With Hip Fracture. J Appl Gerontol. January, 2016 35(1); 62-83 PMC4537688
  • 2015 -- PubMed # : 25596000 Cary, M. P. and Baernholdt, M. and Anderson, R. A. and Merwin, E. I. Performance-based outcomes of inpatient rehabilitation facilities treating hip fracture patients in the United States. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. May, 2015 96(5); 790-8 PMC4410059
  • 2015 -- PubMed # : 25820992 Cary Jr, M. P. and Baernholdt, M. and Merwin, E. I. Changes in Payment Regulation and Acute Care Use for Total Hip Replacement: Trends in Length of Stay, Costs, and Discharge, 1997-2012. Rehabil Nurs. March, 2015, Epub ahead of print
  • 2014 -- Kim, H. and Rose, K. M. and Netemeyer, R.G. and Merwin, E.I. and Williams, I. A secondary data analysis of internet use in caregivers of persons with dementia Nursing Open. December, 2014 1(1); 15-22
  • 2013 -- PubMed # : 24579708 DeGuzman, P. B. and Merwin, E. I. and Bourguignon, C. Population density, distance to public transportation, and health of women in low-income neighborhoods. Public Health Nurs. November-December, 2013 30(6); 478-90
  • 2012 -- PubMed # : 22951269 Enyinnaya, E. I. and Anderson, J. G. and Merwin, E. I. and Taylor, A. G. Chiropractic use, health care expenditures, and health outcomes for rural and nonrural individuals with arthritis. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. September, 2012 35(7); 515-24 PMC3539298
  • 2010 -- Hinton, I and Howell, J. and Merwin, E. and Stern, S. and Turner, S. and Williams, I. and Wilson, M. The educational pipeline for health care professionals: understanding the source of racial differences. Journal of Human Resources. Winter, 2010 45(1); 116-156
  • 2010 -- PubMed # : 21233135 Hanrahan, N. P. and Delaney, K. and Merwin, E. Health care reform and the federal transformation initiatives: capitalizing on the potential of advanced practice psychiatric nurses. Policy Polit Nurs Pract. August, 2010 11(3); 235-44
  • 2010 -- PubMed # : 20546364 Baernholdt, M. and Jennings, B. M. and Merwin, E. and Thornlow, D. What does quality care mean to nurses in rural hospitals? J Adv Nurs. June, 2010 66(6); 1346-55
  • 2010 -- Stern, S. and Merwin, E. and Hauenstein, E. and Hinton, I. and Rovnyak, V. and Wilson, M. and Williams, I. and Mahone, I. The effects of rurality on mental and physical health. Health Services & Outcomes Research Methodology. June, 2010 10(1/2); 33-66


Grant Funding (Selected)

  • Nurse Faculty Loan Program

    Health Resources and Service Administration
    07/2013 to 06/2014
    Role: Project Director
  • Text Messaging Adherence Assesssment and Intervention Tool for Rural HIV & Drug Users.

    National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Drug Abuse
    1R34 DA031640-01
    07/2011 to 03/2013
    Role: Co-Investigator
  • Inpatient Rehabilitation Outcomes in Medicare Hip Fracture Patients

    National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Nursing Research
    07/2011 to 06/2012
    Role: Sponsor/Dissertation Chair

    NRSA predoctoral fellowship, Michael Cary

  • Administrative Supplement, Rural Health Care Research Center, Summer Student Internship Program

    National Institutes of Health, American Reinvestment & Recovery Act of 2009
    3 P20 NR009009-05S1
    07/2009 to 09/2011
    Role: Principal Investigator
  • Comparative Effectiveness of Advanced Practice Nurses and/or Mental Health Providers

    Jeanette Lancaster Endowment Fund of Faculty Excellence (University of Virginia)
    08/2009 to 06/2012
    Role: Principal Investigator

    Supports study design and purchase of national Medicare dataset.

  • Advanced Nursing Education Program (ANEP): Nursing Leadership in Rural Health Care

    Health Resources and Service Administration (HRSA)
    1 D09HP14985
    07/2009 to 06/2012
    Role: Faculty
  • Health of Rural Americans

    Jeanette Lancaster Endowment Fund of Faculty Excellence (University of Virginia)
    08/2009 to 06/2011
    Role: Co-Investigator
  • Preventing Cervical Cancer in Rural Women through Nurse Practitioner Colposcopy Services: Ensuring Patient Safety and Effectiveness

    Commonwealth Foundation for Cancer Research, UVA Cancer Center
    P30 CA44579
    03/2009 to 05/2012
    Role: Co-Principal Investigator
  • Administrative Supplement for Equipment and/or Scientific Instrumentation

    National Institutes of Health, American Reinvestment & Recovery Act of 2009
    3 P20 NR009009-05S2
    08/2009 to 09/2010
    Role: Principal Investigator
  • Rural Health and Nursing Research Center

    1 P20 NR009009-01
    07/2004 to 07/2010
    Role: Principal Investigator


Monday, February 12, 2018

Michael Cary, Victoria Goode, Nancy Crego, Deirdre Thornlow, Beth Merwin and ABSN alumni Kayla Baba and Scarlet Fellingham recently published an article entitled "Hospital Readmissions among Total Hip Replacement Patients in 2009 and 2014" in the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Co-authors include experts from Durham Veterans Affairs Medical enter and Duke University School of Medicine. 


Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Vanessa Curlee and her mentor, Beth Merwin have received a National Institute of Health National Research Service Award for Curlee's proposal entitled "Gender, Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Mental Health, Substance Use Disorders, and Behavioral Health Treatment Utilization in US Parolees and Probationers within 12 Months Post-release." 

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Elizabeth "Beth" Merwin recently traveled to Hong Kong where she was a visiting professor at the University of Hong Kong. She taught a required course on Health Services Research in their Doctorate of Nursing program. The doctoral students enjoyed learning to develop quality and research studies using research resources available on the internet for designing quality of care studies using available secondary health data.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Congratulations to PhD student Kristin Wainwright and her mentors Sharron Docherty, Beth Merwin and Jennifer Dungan who have received an award for their NIH NRSA Fellowship proposal entitled “Specific and Pervasive Symptoms in Adults with Multiple Sclerosis Using the MURDOCK-MS Dataset: A Secondary Analysis." This award is for a two-year period with a start date of September 1.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Michael Cary presented a poster titled "Social Determinants of 30-day Hospital Readmissions among Major Joint Replacement Patients" at the annual Pepper Center meeting in Arlington, Virginia.  Poster authors include Victoria Goode, Deirdre Thornlow, Cathleen Colón-Emeric, ABSN student Shannon Murphy and Beth Merwin.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Congratulations to PhD student Ethan Cicero, and his faculty sponsor Beth Merwin, who received an award for his NIH NRSA proposal entitled "The Health Status of Gender Minorities." This award is for a 15-month period, awarded April 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018.  This project was awarded at $52,768 for the project period.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Victoria Goode and Elizabeth "Beth" Merwin publish article entitled "A Patient Safety Dilemma: Obesity in the Surgical Patient" in the American Association of Nurse Anesthetist Journal. Co-authors include Drs. Elayne Phillips, Pamela DeGuzman, Ivora Hinton, Virginia Rovnyak and Kenneth Scully, MS.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Nancy Crego and Elizabeth "Beth" Merwin publish an article entitled "Differences in Pediatric Non-Interventional Radiology Procedural Sedation Practices and Adverse Events by Registered Nurses and Physicians" in the October issue of the Journal of Pediatric Nursing. The article was co-authored by Dr. Marianne Baernholdt with Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, VA.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Victoria Goode and Elizabeth "Beth" Merwin co-author an article entitled "Are International Classification of Diseases Codes in Electronic Health Records Useful in Identifying Obesity as a Risk Factor When Evaluating Surgical Outcomes?" in the October/December issue of the Health Care Manager. Other co-authors include experts from the University of Virginia School of Nursing.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Victoria Goode, Nancy Crego, Michael Cary, Deirdre Thornlow and Elizabeth "Beth" Merwin published an article entitled "Improving Quality and Safety Through Use of Secondary Data: Methods Case Study" in the Western Journal of Nursing Research.