VCU School of Nursing announces the inaugural Nursing Alumni Endowed Professors
The VCU School of Nursing is pleased to announce the inaugural recipients of the Nursing Alumni Endowed Professorships: Drs. Mary Jo Grap, Nancy McCain, Cindy Munro and Rita Pickler. Each of these faculty members has made significant contributions to our school, our students and our university. In addition to being excellent educators, each of these scientists has made significant contributions to nursing research. Their discoveries are leading to increased understandings of biobehavioral clinical phenomena and important improvements in the care we provide to our patients and their families.
These professorships are also a testament to the tremendous support of our alumni and friends. Without your unwavering dedication to the success of our school, we would not enjoy the benefits of a state-of-the-science building, nationally recognized faculty and a talented pool of students. In tough economic times, the professorships will help us retain dedicated faculty and continue to develop the school’s research program.
Drs. Grap, McCain, Munro and Pickler were selected for this honor because of their commitment to education, research and service. As leaders in biobehavioral clinical research, these scientists are developing new nursing knowledge, serving as mentors
to students and colleagues and elevating the status of the VCU School of Nursing. We are pleased to introduce you to the inaugural Nursing Alumni Endowed Professors.
Mary Jo Grap, Ph.D., R.N., FAAN
Grap joined the faculty of the VCU School of Nursing in 1984. Currently she is a professor in the Department of Adult Health and Nursing Systems and the administrative core co-director for the school’s Center of Excellence in Biobehavioral Approaches to Symptom Management. Her research focuses on improving outcomes in the critically ill. In 2009, she was awarded a three-year grant from the National Institute of Nursing Research to study the effect of backrest elevation on skin integrity in the critically ill.
Grap has a long history of external funding including research grants from the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Defense and the American Association of Critical Care Nurses. She has published more than 60 articles and has presented her work at seven international conferences and more than 75 national and regional conferences.
Prior to joining the school, Grap served in the U.S. Army, stationed in the U.S. and abroad, and retired as a colonel in the Army Reserve in 2002.
In 2009, the American Association of Critical Care Nurses named Grap its Distinguished Nurse Researcher. She was inducted into the American Academy of Nursing in 2004 and received the VCU School of Nursing’s Mable Montgomery Teaching Award in 2000.
In 1991, she received the U.S. Army Certificate of Achievement for meritorious service during Operation Desert Storm at William Beaumont Army Medical Center in Fort Bliss, Texas.
Grap has served as associate editor of the American Journal of Critical Care since 2002. She is a member of numerous nursing organizations including the American Association of Critical Care Nurses and the Southern Nursing Research Society. Grap received her B.S. from Kent State University and her M.S. from the University of Colorado. From there, she received her Ph.D. from Georgia State University.
Nancy L. McCain, D.S.N., R.N., FAAN
Nancy McCain joined the VCU School of Nursing faculty in 1995 and now serves as a professor in the Department of Adult Health and Nursing Systems. She currently is the director of the Biobehavioral Science Core of the school’s Center of Excellence in Biobehavioral Approaches to Symptom Management, having completed a five-year grant from the National Institute of Nursing Research as principal investigator and director of the Administrative Core for the Center for Biobehavioral Clinical Research.
Her individual research program in biobehavioral science has focused on testing intervention strategies for stress management in persons with HIV infection, through grant funding from NINR and the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine; and most recently, in women receiving chemotherapy for early-stage breast cancer through a grant from the National Cancer Institute. She is widely known for her work in advancing the science of psychoneuroimmunology through clinical interventions research.
Through her long-term funded research program as well as her leadership in the School of Nursing’s center awards, McCain has significantly contributed to the advancement of knowledge related to biobehavioral mechanisms, measurement systems and patient outcomes as well as biobehaviorally focused nursing interventions.
Her many honors include selection as the Southern Nursing Research Society’s 2008 Distinguished Researcher, the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Nursing’s 2004 Distinguished Alumna and the recipient of the VCU School of Nursing Senior Research Award and the Outstanding Faculty Award in 2002. She was inducted into the American Academy of Nursing in 2003.
She received her B.S.N. and M.N. from the University of Mississippi and her D.S.N. from the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Nursing. McCain completed postdoctoral training in psychoneuroimmunology at Rush University in Chicago.
Cindy Munro, Ph.D., R.N., FAAN
Munro has been a professor at the VCU School of Nursing’s Department of Adult Health and Nursing Systems since 1992. An active researcher, she is the Biobehavioral Measurement Core director of the school’s Center of Excellence in Biobehavioral
Approaches to Symptom Management. Munro maintains an active research program in the field of oral care of critically ill patients.
Currently, she is working on a $1.78 million grant through the National Institute of Nursing Research to study the impact on oral care in intubated patients and incidences of pneumonia. Munro is an internationally recognized leader in the areas of oral health and immunity. Findings from her completed projects have been published in more than 80 articles appearing in prestigious peer-reviewed nursing journals, and have been disseminated at regional and national conferences.
Well respected in her field, Munro was selected for Oxford’s Harris Manchester College 2008 Summer Research Institute. She serves as co-editor of the American Journal of Critical Care. In 2009, Munro received the MCV Alumni Association of VCU’s
Outstanding Nurse Alumnus Award. She was inducted into the American Academy of Nursing in 2005.
In addition to her contributions to nursing education and research, Munro volunteers her time to both community and professional organizations. She’s a member of the American Association of Critical Care Nurses, Sigma Theta Tau, Gamma Omega Chapter, the Southern Nursing Research Society, the Virginia Council of Nurse Practitioners and others. Since 2007, she’s been a volunteer with the Virginia Medical
Reserve Corps in Chesterfield, Va. She serves on the American Academy of Nursing’s Acute and Critical Care Expert Panel and the VHHA Hospital Emergency Management Committee.
Munro received her B.S.N. from Millersville University of Pennsylvania and her M.S.N. from the University of Delaware. She holds a Ph.D. from the VCU School of Nursing and a Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology from the School of Basic Health Sciences, now the VCU School of Medicine.
Rita H. Pickler, Ph.D., R.N., PNP-BC, FAAN
Pickler is a professor and acting associate dean of research and scholarship at the VCU School of Nursing. In addition she serves as the principal investigator of the school’s Center of Excellence in Biobehavioral Approaches to Symptom Management.
For the past 20 years, Pickler’s research has focused on infant and maternal health, specifically feeding patterns of preterm infants. Currently, she’s the principal investigator on a $1.6 million grant through the National Institute of Nursing Research to study feeding approaches for preterm infants.
Pickler’s research has been published in more than 50 articles appearing in numerous journals, including Nursing Research; the Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, and Neonatal Nursing; Advances in Neonatal Care; the Journal of Perinatal and Neonatal
Nursing; and the Journal of Perinatology. Her work has produced new knowledge in this field, ensuring that infants who are born preterm receive the best care, spend less time in the hospital and suffer fewer developmental delays.
In 2009, she received the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric, and Neonatal Nurse’s Award for Excellence in Research. Pickler was inducted into the American Academy of Nursing in 2008. In 2004, she received the VCU School of Nursing’s Senior Researcher Award. Other honors include the 2000 Alumni Star Award from VCU; the Fan Free Clinic’s 2003 Shining Star Nurse Practitioner of the Year; and the 2002 University Alumna Distinguished Service Award and the 1998 Nursing Distinguished Alumni Award, both presented by the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
Committed to giving back, Pickler is involved in a number of professional and community organizations. She volunteers at the Fan Free Clinic in Richmond, Va., organizing a back-to-school clinic and other health care initiatives. Her annual service in Haiti has drawn international attention and several awards.
She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and a Ph.D. in nursing from the University of Virginia.