News and Events

UNC Hillman Scholars Program Featured in ANA Publication

August 10, 2012 | In Faculty, News, Research

A recent article in The American Nurse, the official publication of the American Nurses Association, took an in-depth look at SON’s new Hillman Scholars Program in Nursing Innovation. The article includes interviews with Dean Kristen M. Swanson as well as Drs. Merle Mishel and Carol Durham, directors of the Hillman Scholars Program. 

Hillman scholars enter a rigorous curriculum of inquiry and research that is designed to take students five yearsfrom undergraduate entry into the nursing program to completion of a PhD.

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SON Research examines how Older African-Americans use Religious Songs

May 29, 2012 | In Faculty, News, Research

New research from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill School of Nursing has shown that older African-Americans use religious songs in a personal way to cope with stressful life events. Songs long have been an important way for religious African-Americans to express their beliefs and faith, and the study provided evidence that religious songs are linked to the mental health of older African-Americans.

Jill Hamilton, Ph.D., R.N., an assistant professor at the School of Nursing, led the study, which appears online in The Gerontologist, a bimonthly journal that provides a multidisciplinary perspective on human aging through research and analysis in gerontology.

The research findings could help improve the cultural relevance of mental health programs and achieve better communication between older African-Americans and health-care providers. For example, a health-care provider could ask about a favorite song to help a patient feel more comfortable talking about mental health problems.

Although other studies have examined the collective mental health benefits of religious songs to a group, such as in a church service, this is one of the first studies to examine how African-Americans use religious songs and the personal meanings associated with them.

The study grew out of Hamilton’s desire to document religious songs that older African-Americans knew but that were no longer being taught to younger generations. “As I gathered song titles and lyrics, people would tell me about the personal meaning of the songs,” she said. “I realized that they were using religious songs to support their mental health in their day-to-day lives.”

The study included 65 African-American older adults living in the southeastern United States. They said that during times of stress, religious songs helped them feel comforted, strengthened, uplifted, able to endure and able to find peace. Of the five types of religious songs studied, Hamilton found that those evoking thanksgiving and praise were most often used to cope with stress. “They were praising God even during difficult times,” she said. “These songs were reminders that God had brought them through hard times before and would do it again.”

Many study participants told Hamilton they learned songs at a young age and that their older relatives taught them that a song could get them through a stressful situation. “I don’t know that this form of intergenerational support is still taking place today,” she said. “It would be interesting to see if younger African-Americans use the same religious coping mechanisms as older African-Americans, especially since other studies have shown that younger African-Americans are more at risk for depression than older African-Americans.”

The study’s authors include Margarete Sandelowski, Ph.D., and Mansi Agarwal, M.P.H., from the School of Nursing; Lt. Col. Angelo D. Moore, Ph.D., from Tripler Army Medical Center; and Harold G. Koenig, M.D., from the Center for Spirituality, Theology and Health at Duke University Medical Center.

Victoria Soltis-Jarrett Hosts First Conference as ISPN President in Atlanta

May 7, 2012 | In Events, Faculty, News, Research Tags: , ,

Soltis-Jarrett from right to left: Soltis-Jarrett, Carter, and Parrish

Clinical Professor and Psychiatric Mental Health APA Coordinator Victoria Soltis-Jarrett presided over her first International Society for Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurses (ISPN) Annual Conference in March 2012.

Soltis-Jarrett, who began her tenure as President-Elect in 2010, was inducted as President at the ISPN Annual Conference in Tuscan, AZ, last April. This year, at the ISPN 14th Annual Conference held in Atlanta, March 27-31, 2012, Soltis-Jarrett welcomed more than 200 attendees, including keynote speaker and former first lady Rosalynn Carter.

Mrs. Carter delivered the keynote address, “The Carter Center Mental Health Care Initiatives – National and International.” The conference theme was “Innovation, Integration, and Transformation of Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing for the 21st Century.” Solits-Jarrett was joined by the ISPN’s new President-Elect, Evelyn Parrish, PhD, APRN, Professor and Coordinator at Eastern Kentucky University.

Dr. Hodges goes bald for a cause

April 25, 2012 | In Faculty, News, Research

Hodges-Group Dr. Hodges with SON Supporters

The School of Nursing’s own Eric Hodges shaved his head to help kids with cancer and to support childhood cancer research. Thanks in large part to SON’s faculty and staff he raised $3,500, well beyond his original $1,000 goal.

Dr. Hodges is an assistant professor at the School of Nursing and also a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Nurse Faculty Scholar. For the last two years he grew a mustache to support health and environmental education through This year, he wanted to do something a little different, so he shaved his head to support St. Baldrick’s Foundation.

Read more about his journey to baldness in blog post on the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation web site.


Dr. Hodges before and after