Leadership Team

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Cheryl B. Jones

Cheryl Bland Jones, RN, PhD, FAAN, directs the Hillman Scholars Program at UNC Chapel Hill. She is a professor in the School of Nursing, the Chair of the Division of Health Care Environments, and a Research Fellow at the Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC). Dr. Jones is a recognized leader in nursing and health services research, having devoted her career to studying the nursing workforce and its influence on the organization, delivery, quality and financing of nursing and health care.

One of her most recognized contributions has been the development, testing and refinement of the Nursing Turnover Cost Calculation Methodology (NTCCM), an innovative and highly regarded method to measure nurse turnover costs. Other groups have adopted this methodology as the basis for calculating the return on investment in programs designed to recruit and retain nurses. Dr. Jones has also worked to inform policymaking by employing techniques to examine nursing workforce issues, such as nurse wage disparities, the hiring and integration of internationally-educated nurses, and nurses’ employment patterns.

Dr. Jones recently completed a study funded by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN). It examined the personal, professional, employment and job characteristics of internationally-educated and U.S.-educated nurses, as well as barriers and facilitators to internationally-educated nurse employment in the United States. In a newly funded NCSBN study, she will develop a longitudinal dataset to examine the educational transitions and trajectories of registered nurses in North Carolina.

Throughout her career, Jones has been active in developing a nursing and health services research agenda to help advance our understanding of critical issues pertaining to health, health care delivery, and nursing practice. She acknowledges that one of her most personally satisfying experiences has been working with staff nurses, health care leaders, organizations and systems to build staff nurse research capacity and programs of nursing research. She has put her passion into practice by serving as the Research Consultant to UNC Health Care since 2010.

“As the director of the Hillman Scholars program at UNC, Dr. Cheryl Jones has been a tremendous advocate of both the Hillman Scholars program and the students connected to the program.  Her leadership, support, and ‘my door is always open’ policy are truly appreciated.”
Bill Smith, Hillman Scholar

Erin FraherErin Fraher, PhD, MPP, serves as the Hillman Scholars Program research and policy advisor. She is the director of the North Carolina Health Professions Data System (HPDS) and director of the Health Workforce Research and Policy Unit at the Cecil G. Sheps Center. Dr. Fraher has worked as a policy analyst and health workforce researcher in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.

For over 10 years, she has led the work of the HPDS to provide timely, objective and data-driven analyses to inform state and national policy makers wrestling with decisions about how to best educate and deploy health professionals. Dr. Fraher has led, and participated in, various studies of the allied health workforce in North Carolina including studies of the physical therapy, speech-language pathology, health information management, radiologic sciences, respiratory therapy and clinical laboratory science workforces.

Working with the North Carolina Area Health Education Centers (AHEC) Program, the Council for Allied Health in North Carolina, the Governor’s office and the Department of Commerce, Dr. Fraher has led efforts to build the allied health workforce analytical infrastructure in North Carolina. These efforts have resulted in a rich source of data that are actively used by two- and four-year educational institutions to identify the allied health professions and geographic areas in which they should develop or expand training. The data are also used by workforce development boards to determine the health care jobs for which they should be retraining laid-off workers and by health care employers and private foundations to identify mechanisms to improve the recruitment and retention of allied health workers.

Dr. Fraher is also the associate director of the American College of Surgeons Institute for Health Policy Research. She holds joint faculty appointments in UNC’s Departments of Surgery and Family Medicine.

Dawn O'NealDawn M. O’Neal is the administrative assistant for the Hillman Scholars Program in Nursing Innovation. She brings over 30 years of administrative experience to the project. She has been with UNC School of Nursing since December, 2007, where she began her career as the Business Services Coordinator for the Quality Safety Education for Nurses (QSEN) initiative. She holds a BS in Special Education-Interdisciplinary Studies and Psychology from Liberty University and is currently pursuing a Masters in Counseling through Liberty University, Lynchburg, VA.