Nakia Best, an SON clinical assistant professor, was selected as the School’s first Jonas Nurse Leaders Scholar. Best, MSN, BSN, will be provided with financial assistance, leadership development, and mentoring support as she pursues her PhD in Nursing at UNC beginning Fall 2012.
Best joins a national cohort of 142 PhD and Doctor of Nursing Practice students for the 2012-2014 Jonas Nurse Leaders Scholar Program. The program seeks to increase the number of advanced practice nurses available for roles as faculty, primary care providers, and health care leaders by supporting both research-focused and practice-focused doctoral nursing students.
The Barbara and Donald Jonas Family Fund started the Jonas Center for Nursing Excellence in 2006 with the goal of deploying philanthropy to improve healthcare through nursing. The Jonas Nurse Leaders Scholars program was started in 2008 and uses the largest share of the center’s resources. $2 million will be provided for the 2012-2014 cohort through institutional grants, with another $1.5 million to be leveraged by participating schools. The program is administered by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.
As a Jonas scholar, Best’s course of study will have increased emphasis on leadership and education. She will complete a project on leadership and take part in the Jonas Center for Nursing Excellence/AACN leadership development conference in Washington, D.C. in 2013. She will also take part in online program activities and will work under the guidance of a mentor.
“I’m looking forward to learning leadership through mentorship,” Best said of the opportunity. She also expressed her enthusiasm for being counted among the new Jonas Scholars. “It’s amazing to have my name on that roll call,” Best said. “And to be the first one at UNC. I’m very honored.”
Best maintains a clinical practice at WakeMed Heart Center. Her research interests are in informatics, with a focus on improving outcomes, delivery, access, and decreasing health disparities through the use of telehealth. As a doctoral student, she will work with Dr. Barbara Mark on the Institutional Research Training Grant (T32), Research Training in Quality Health Care and Patient Outcomes.