Duke University School of Nursing Appoints Two Preeminent Researchers to Endowed Professorships

Dr. Elizabeth Merwin and Dr. Marilyn Hockenberry have been named to endowed professorships at Duke University School of Nursing due to their careers dedicated to research, scholarship, and patient care. 

Dr. Hockenberry, PhD, RN, PNP-BC, FAAN, will be named to the Bessie Baker Professorship in Nursing and Dr. Merwin, Executive Vice-Dean of the School of Nursing, PhD, MS, RN, FAAN, to the Ann Henshaw Gardiner Professorship in Nursing.  The announcement was made on May 2 during the annual dinner honoring the Distinguished Professors of Duke University dinner. The professorships take effect July 1. 

“Both of these women are distinguished experts in their respective fields and both have made enormous impacts in the contribution to patient care, nursing science, and delivery of healthcare,” said Catherine Gilliss, Dean of Duke University School of Nursing and Vice Chancellor of Health Affairs. “They are critical components in our research programs as well as serving as mentors and advisors to the next generation of nurse researchers.” 

Dr. Merwin is a pioneer in rural mental health and a highly-regarded investigator and scholar. Her work has shaped not only the thinking in mental health nursing but has contributed broadly to interdisciplinary mental healthcare, particularly in underserved rural areas. An interdisciplinary scholar, Dr. Merwin is one of a few nurse scientists whose program of research has focused on analysis of large datasets to generate core data for understanding the delivery of mental healthcare, understanding the challenges of mental healthcare providers in rural areas, shaping healthcare provider education and influencing policy decisions. 

Dr. Merwin has produced an impressive body of scholarly work around mental healthcare, workforce issues, and rural healthcare. She has published more than 40 papers in peer-reviewed journals as well as data-based research reports for the federal government, numerous other policy reports for state government, four book chapters, and was an editor on a monograph on Nursing Research: Focus on Rural Health. 

Dr. Merwin came to Duke University School of Nursing in 2012 from the University of Virginia. During her career at UVA she held many leadership positions related to research and mental health including Director of Southeastern Rural Mental Health Research Center, Associate Dean for Research in the School of Nursing, Director of Rural Health Care Research Center, and founding Faculty of the Healthy Appalachia Institute.  She also was a Visiting Professor at the University of Hong Kong, Li Ka. The Ann Henshaw Gardiner Professorship in Nursing is named in honor of the first instructor at the School of Nursing from 1930 to 1941. 

Dr. Hockenberry is an internationally known expert in pediatric oncology whose work focuses on the symptoms associated with childhood cancer treatments. A successful and prolific researcher and an illustrious scholar, educator and clinician, Dr. Hockenberry has significantly contributed to new knowledge in pediatric oncology and her substantial body of work has markedly improved care for children experiencing cancer. 

For more than two decades Dr. Hockenberry has conducted studies to explore the most frequent and severe symptoms experienced by children during cancer treatment, including fatigue, mental and cognitive changes, sleep disturbance, pain, and nausea. She is well recognized as the leading expert in fatigue in children with cancer.  Her collaborations with two other leading researchers in the field of pediatric oncology nursing  have led Dr. Hockenberry and others to develop predictive models to identify those children at risk for the most severe symptom toxicities that often inhibit optimal cancer therapy. In continuing this work, she was awarded a prestigious research grant from the National Institutes of Health and National Institute of Nursing Research evaluate the influence of phenotypic responses assessed by CSF biomarkers of oxidative stress and inflammatory pathways on symptoms experienced by children with leukemia.

Dr. Hockenberry joined Duke in 2012 as a professor in the School of Nursing as well as a Professor in Duke School of Medicine Department of Pediatrics, and as a Chair in the Duke Medical Center Institutional Review Board. Previously she was Professor of Pediatrics in the Hematology/Oncology Division at Baylor College of Medicine. She also served as the Nurse Scientist for the hospital and Director of the Pediatric Nurse Practitioner program in the Texas Children’s Cancer Center at Texas Children’s Hospital and also served as Director of the Center for Research and Evidence-based Practice, Director of the Evidence-based Outcomes Center, and as a Senior Fellow in the Center for Clinical Effectiveness. The Bessie Baker Professorship, established in 2004, is named in honor of the first dean of nursing, who served from 1930 to 1938.

ABOUT A diverse community of scholars and clinicians, Duke University School of Nursing is educating the next generation of transformational leaders in nursing. We advance nursing science in issues of global importance and foster the scholarly practice of nursing. In 2011, U.S. News and World Report ranked Duke among the top seven graduate schools of nursing in the nation. The National Institutes of Health awarded $4.3 million in research funding to the Duke School of Nursing (Oct. 1, 2011 through Sept. 30, 2012) making it one of the top 10 nursing schools engaged in NIH-funded research. The School offers masters, PhD, and doctor of nursing practice degrees, as well as an accelerated bachelor of science in nursing degree to students who have previously graduated from college. More than 840 students are enrolled in the Duke School of Nursing, one of the largest numbers in the School's 80-year history.

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