USD Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science Receives One of the First Future of Nursing Scholars Grants to Prepare PhD Nurses

The University of San Diego Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science is one of only 14 schools of nursing nationwide to be among the first to receive a grant from a new Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) program to increase the number of nurses holding PhDs. As an inaugural grantee of the Future of Nursing Scholars program, USD’s School of Nursing will select a nursing student to receive financial support, mentoring, and leadership development over the three years of his/her PhD program.

The Future of Nursing Scholars program is a multi-funder initiative. In addition to RWJF, United Health Foundation, Independence Blue Cross Foundation, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, and the Rhode Island Foundation are supporting the Future of Nursing Scholars grants to schools of nursing this year. The Future of Nursing Scholars program plans to support up to 100 PhD nursing candidates over its first two years.

USD Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science is receiving its grant in partnership with Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Dr. Patricia Roth, Director of the PhD Program in Nursing said that Ms. Millicent De Jesus MSN, RN has been selected as the RWJF Nurse Scholar. She will begin her PhD studies this fall.

Sally Brosz Hardin, PhD, RN, FAAN, USD’s Dean of Nursing, said “We are delighted to be one of only 14 schools of nursing nationwide selected for this honor, and are looking forward to continuing our collaboration with Linda Burnes Bolton, Dr. PH, RN, FAAN and Jane Swanson, PhD, RN, Director, Geri and Richard Brawerman Nursing Institute of Cedars Sinai Medical Center.
In its landmark nursing report, the Institute of Medicine recommended that the country double the number of nurses with PhDs; doing so will support more nurse leaders, promote nurse-led science and discovery, and put more educators in place to prepare the next generation of nurses.

RWJF is working through all its programs to build a Culture of Health that enables all people to lead healthy lives, now and for generations to come.

“We cannot build a Culture of Health without many more highly educated nurse leaders,” said Julie Fairman, PhD, RN, FAAN, Future of Nursing Scholars program co-director. “PhD-prepared nurses are leaders in research, innovation, policy, and education. The alumni of the Future of Nursing Scholars program will be among the nurse leaders who pioneer the groundbreaking research that provides solutions to our most pressing health problems, and they will educate thousands of nurses over the course of their careers. We are creating the next generation of change-makers.” Fairman is also the Nightingale professor of nursing and director of the Barbara Bates Center for the Study of the History of Nursing at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing.

Fewer than 30,000 (or 1%) of the nation’s more than 3 million nurses have doctoral degrees in nursing or a related field. While enrollment in doctor of nursing practice (DNP) programs has risen dramatically over the past few years, enrollment in PhD programs has been flat. In addition, the average age at which nurses get their PhDs in the U.S. is 46—13 years older than PhD earners in other fields. This program will provide an incentive for nurses to start PhD programs earlier, so that they can have long leadership careers after earning their PhDs.

“This is a crucial and ambitious endeavor,” said Susan Hassmiller, PhD, RN, FAAN, co-director of the program and RWJF’s senior adviser for nursing. “It’s one that everyone in our country should be engaged in and that’s why the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is inviting other funders to participate in this effort. We believe that working together, we can ensure that we are able to educate the PhD-prepared nurse leaders we need to shape the future of health care education, research and policy.”

For more than 40 years the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has worked to improve the health and health care of all Americans. We are striving to build a national Culture of Health that will enable all Americans to live longer, healthier lives now and for generations to come. For more information, visit Follow the Foundation on Twitter at or on Facebook at

The University of San Diego Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science is a nationally recognized, highly ranked graduate school that has graduated over 250 nurses with the research doctorate. The School provides PhD students with individual mentoring from an esteemed graduate faculty, offers hands-on research experience, and prides itself on a 99% on-time student completion rate. Students soon will enjoy the immense advantage of USD’s new Betty and Bob Beyster Institute for Nursing Research that will open in the fall of 2015.



About the University of San Diego

The University of San Diego sets the standard for an engaged, contemporary Catholic university where innovative Changemakers confront humanity’s urgent challenges. With more than 9,000 students from 69 countries and 50 states, USD is the youngest independent institution on the U.S. News & World Report list of top 100 universities in the United States. The university's eight academic divisions include the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Business, the Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering, the School of Law, the School of Leadership and Education Sciences, the Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science, the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies, and the Division of Professional and Continuing Education. USD's Envisioning 2024 strategic plan capitalizes on the university’s recent progress and aligns new strategic goals with current strengths to help shape a vision for the future as the university looks ahead to its 75th anniversary in the year 2024.