Your support makes a difference.
Last year, gifts from more than 1,300 alumni and friends helped us provide
Allowing us to continue our work as the
#1 public School of Nursing
Mail a check, payable to the UNC School of Nursing.
UNC School of Nursing
c/o UNC-Chapel Hill Gift Services
P.O. Box 309
Chapel Hill NC 27514-0309
*Please note the specific fund you are designating your gift to in the memo line of the check.
There are many ways to make your gift to the UNC School of Nursing. You may wish to speak with your financial adviser before you give, to determine the best way to structure your gift to benefit yourself, your family and the School. If you have questions about your giving, please contact our Office of Advancement.
Top Priorities for the School of Nursing
The overall nursing faculty shortage and, specifically, the shortage of nurse scientists, challenges us.
The national pool of faculty scholars is insufficient to match demand. Our faculty members are heavily recruited and candidates for our positions often accept another offer with a more attractive compensation package.
More than 20% of our full-time faculty will retire in the next five to seven years. As senior faculty members retire, we face gaps in faculty expertise.
Donor-endowed Distinguished Professorships as well as funds to support scholarly leaves for faculty, research endeavors, innovative teaching, international exchanges, and recognition for excellence, are urgently needed.
The Value of Faculty Support
Faculty members are among our most valued assets. When a donor chooses to endow a professorship, this represents one of the highest honors bestowed on a university, reflecting its reputation and prestige.
An endowed professorship enables us to attract and retain the very best nurse scientists and teachers because they know the funding is secure to support their crucial work. Endowed professorships hold a 10-year appointment that can be renewed. This endowment provides for a faculty member’s salary, benefits, and research support; honors past achievements; and offers encouragement to strive for continued health care discovery and breakthroughs that will benefit people in North Carolina and throughout our nation. In the next few years, more than 20% of our renowned faculty will retire. Endowed professorships are crucial for filling this gap.
The School of Nursing, through the generosity of donors, supports five endowed professorships that were established through private gifts. More are critically needed.
The Carol Morde Ross Distinguished Professorship in Psychiatric-Mental Health
The Carol Morde Ross Distinguished Professorship in Psychiatric-Mental Health was established through a generous gift from Carol and Coleman Ross. Carol Ross is an advocate for the nursing profession and a strong supporter of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Nursing. In 2003, Carol and her husband Coleman established the Eunice Morde Doty undergraduate nursing scholarship to honor Carol’s mother, who was also a nurse. Carol completed a term as an active member of the School of Nursing Foundation Board of Directors from 2005-2012. Read more here.
Victoria Soltis-Jarrett, PhD, PMHCNS-BC, PMHNP-BC, FAANP
Dr. Soltis-Jarrett is the Carol Morde Ross Distinguished Professor of Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing and is board certified by the ANCC as a Family Psychiatric and Mental Health Nurse Practitioner and Clinical Nurse Specialist. Dr. Soltis-Jarrett has practiced psychiatric nursing for over 30 years, focusing her clinical practice, educational pedagogy and scholarship on rural mental health care, integrating behavioral health into primary, acute and long-term care settings, participatory research and community engagement. She actively practices as a PMHNP at two clinical sites in North Carolina (Winston-Salem & Durham) and provides psychiatric-mental health consultation-liaison with a variety of agencies and organizations.
From 2005-2015, Dr. Soltis-Jarrett was the coordinator of the UNC-CH School of Nursing’s Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner option, the only program of its kind in North Carolina. During that time, Dr. Soltis-Jarrett was able to successfully guide the PMHNP faculty to transform the graduate specialty curriculum as well as recruit, retain and graduate over 125 new PMHNPs, many of whom are working now in rural and remote counties in NC. Throughout this time, she has been successful in obtaining over 3 million dollars from various funding (Federal, State and Private Foundations) to transform the curriculum, provide ongoing tuition assistance for students and expand community outreach and engagement to improve the health and well being of North Carolina communities and beyond. This is best exemplified in her strong partnerships with organizations, health care leaders and employers who seek out to hire our graduates. She is a Past-President of the International Society for Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurses (ISPN), Past Chair of the NC Nurses Association Council of PMHN in Advanced Practice and past Chair of the NCNA Commission for Advanced Practice Nursing.
Under her leadership, the program has also been able to meet and maintain a 100% pass rate on the ANCC board certification exam (PMHNP) for graduates of the program. Now as the program is robust and sustainable, Dr. Soltis-Jarrett has stepped down as the coordinator and has focused on developing an Axis of Excellence for PMHN Practice, Education and Scholarship for the State of North Carolina in her new role as a Distinguished Professor. This ‘Axis’ will continue to develop, maintain and build partnerships and collaborative agreements with organizations at the state and national level to place Carolina on the map for excellence in psychiatric-mental health nursing. Her focus is to broaden the availability of PMHN education, practice and scholarship for all nurses in the state with the view to link with other states to strengthen the national recruitment of PMHN for the future.
The Dr. Frances Hill Fox Distinguished Professorship in Nursing Research
The Dr. Frances Hill Fox Distinguished Professorship in Nursing Research was established in 1991 through a generous gift from Frances Hill Fox. In addition to her career as a physician, Dr. Fox served the School of Nursing for 38 years, first as a member of Elizabeth Scott Carrington’s Advisory Board to establish the School in 1950, and then as a charter director of the Foundation. The professorship recognizes and supports a doctorally-prepared nurse leader who is committed to continuing an active program of research, collaborating with colleagues, providing leadership to faculty and students in research development and scholarship, and participating in the School’s educational programs.
Kathleen Knafl, PhD, FAAN
Dr. Knafl is the current Frances Hill Fox Distinguished Professor. Through a series of qualitative studies, her program of research has focused on describing different patterns of family response to childhood chronic conditions (family management styles). She has been especially interested in exploring the interplay between how family members define and how they manage family life in the context of a child’s chronic condition. Understanding different patterns of family management is an essential first step in developing interventions that promote positive outcomes for families and their individual members. She collaborates with colleagues at University of Illinois at Chicago, University of Pennsylvania, and Yale University, in developing a valid and reliable measure of how families manage a child’s chronic condition, the Family Management Measure (FaMM). By measuring critical aspects of family management of a child’s chronic condition, FaMM will further our ability to generate knowledge of the family context of illness and foster the development of interventions that support optimal functioning and quality of life.
Deborah K. Mayer, PhD, RN, AOCN, FAAN
Deborah K. Mayer, PhD, RN, AOCN, FAAN is the Frances Hill Fox Distinguished Professor of Nursing and an advanced practice oncology nurse who has 40 years of cancer nursing practice, education, research, and management experience. Dr. Mayer earned a PhD from the University of Utah, her MSN from Yale University, her BSN from Excelsior College, her Nurse Practitioner Certificate from the University of Maryland, and her diploma from Pennsylvania Hospital School of Nursing.
Dr. Mayer is past president of the Oncology Nursing Society (ONS), was a member of the National Cancer Institute’s National Cancer Advisory Board (a Presidential appointment) and Board of Scientific Advisors. Dr. Mayer was elected as a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing. She is active in ONS and the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and is the Past Chair of the ASCO Survivorship Committee. She served as the Editor for the ONS’ Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing(CJON) from 2007-2015 and has published over 150 articles, book chapters and editorials on cancer related issues. She was awarded the ONS Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015 and, in 2016, was appointed as the only nurse to Vice President Biden’s Cancer Moonshot Blue Ribbon Panel.
Her program of research focuses on the issues facing cancer survivors and on improving cancer care. She has a clinical practice working with breast cancer survivors.
Molly (Mickey) Dougherty, who retired in 2004, was named the first Frances Hill Fox Distinguished Professor in 1996. Her teaching and research interests covered women’s health, aging, minority health issues and community-based nursing interventions. She continuously received federal grants for leading research on topics such as pelvic muscle function and management of urinary incontinence and prevention of diabetes. In the Rural Women’s Health Project, led by Dr. Dougherty, preventative healthcare strategies are developed and tested with older rural women. Professor Dougherty was a Visiting Fellow with the Royal College of Nursing in Oxford, England and the University of Ulster in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Her research projects made important contributions to the quality of nursing and healthcare in years to come. She serves as the Editor of Nursing Research, the premiere national nursing research journal. Before coming to Chapel Hill, Dr. Dougherty taught at the University of Florida College of Nursing for 23 years. A native of Jacksonville, Florida, she holds bachelors, masters, and doctorate degrees from the University of Florida.
The Sarah Frances Russell Distinguished Professorship in Nursing Systems
The Sarah Frances Russell Distinguished Professorship in Nursing Systems was established in 1996 through a gift from Carl Vernon Russell in honor of his wife who passed away in 1987. Sarah Frances Russell was a 1959 alumna of the School of Nursing’s master’s degree program. Her career included service in the US Army Nursing Corps, during which she achieved the rank of full colonel. After receiving her PhD in administration from Carolina, she served as a consultant with the National Board for Standards and Licensing for Nurses, during which she helped develop national standards for nursing supervisors and nursing administration. This chair helps the School of Nursing continue its national leadership role in studying patient safety and quality of care issues in the health care system.
Barbara Mark, PhD, RN, FAAN
Dr. Mark is a national leader among researchers who are monitoring hospitals on key indicators of patient safety. She is currently funded by the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality to study the effect of changes in nurse staffing levels and hospital financial performance on quality of patient care. She is also funded by the National Institute of Nursing Research to examine how nursing organization in general hospitals affect patient and administrative outcomes. She came to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Nursing in 2001 from Virginia Commonwealth University where she served for 20 years, most recently in a joint appointment of professor in their School of Nursing and the Department of Health Administration. While at VCU, Dr. Mark held administrative posts of assistant dean, director of the graduate program, and doctoral program director. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing. Dr. Mark earned the BSN at Skidmore College, the MSN at University of Washington, and the PhD from Case Western Reserve University.
The Helen Watkins and Thomas Leonard Umphlet Distinguished Professorship in Aging
The Helen Watkins and Thomas Leonard Umphlet Distinguished Professorship in Aging was established in 1999 through a generous gift from Mrs. Umphlet in honor of her late husband. Dr. Umphlet, known affectionately as “Dr. Tom” by those who worked closely with him during his 40-year career in internal medicine, held nurses in high esteem for their work to care for others. In seeking the best way to keep the memory of her husband alive, Mrs. Umphlet established an endowed professorship at the School of Nursing to honor and support the nurses who had been her husband’s valued colleagues. A fellow of the American College of Physicians, Dr. Umphlet served as the chief of medical services and chairman of the executive council at Rex Hospital in Raleigh, North Carolina. Shortly before his death, he was recognized as the Rex Classic Distinguished Physician of Merit for his 10 years of leadership.
Mary H. Palmer, PhD, RN, FAAN
Selected in 2001 for the Umphlet Distinguished Professorship, Dr. Palmer is a recognized leader in the field of gerontology, with nearly 20 years of research and policy expertise in the management of urinary incontinence in older populations. She previously served as associate professor and director of the Office of Research in the College of Nursing at Rutgers University, Newark, New Jersey. Her study on the changes in continence status of nursing home residents over their first year of admission to the nursing home was the first of its kind and has served as a national model. Dr. Palmer works to enhance the appreciation of older adults in society. She has taught intergenerational creative writing classes to foster relationships and mutual learning opportunities between nursing home residents and high school students. She earned her BSN and MSN from the University of Maryland School of Nursing, and her PhD from The Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health, and a MFA in creative writing from Goddard College, Plainfield, Vermont. She is a member of the American Geriatrics Society, International Continence Society, Eastern Nursing Research society, and a fellow in the Gerontological Society of America and the American Academy of Nursing.
Beerstecher-Blackwell Distinguished Professorship in Health Care
The Beerstecher-Blackwell Professorship was created by Yolande E. Beerstecher in memory of her daughter Carol Anne Beerstecher Blackwell. The professorship supports interdisciplinary work aimed at the management of life threatening illness, end-of-life care, or palliative care in adults or children.
Sheila Santacroce, PhD, APRN, CPNP
Dr. Santacroce is the Beerstecher-Blackwell Distinguished Professor. She researches uncertainty surrounding illness and its biopsychosocial effects on the patient and family. Her interest in uncertainty during diagnosis of a potentially life-threatening illness developed through her work at the NIH National Cancer Institute. There she worked with children with cancer or HIV disease diagnoses, as well as at Duke University Medical Center with infants who were HIV sero-positive. Her recent studies include a pilot randomized clinical trial of telephone-delivered coping skills training that was delivered along with usual clinical care and aimed at adolescent/young adult patients and their parents to develop functional means of managing uncertainty in childhood cancer survivorship.
Beerstecher-Blackwell Distinguished Term Scholars
Patricia Silveyra, PhD
Dr. Silveyra is the Director of the Biobehavioral Laboratory in the UNC School of Nursing. Her research focuses on sex differences in inflammatory lung disease. She studies the role of sex hormones and steroid hormone receptor signaling in mechanisms of lung inflammation. Her expertise includes animal models of asthma and air pollution exposure, rodent endocrine models of gonadectomy/hormone replacement/estrous cycle regulation, and transgenic models of sex steroid hormone receptors. She also has expertise in biomarker research, employing transcriptomics and miRNA profiling to clinical studies of bronchopulmonary dysplasia and pulmonary hypertension of the newborn. Her work has been funded by multiple foundation grants and the National Institutes of Health. She currently holds K01 and R03 awards from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.
Dr. Silveyra received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, and her Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina. She trained as a postdoctoral fellow at Penn State College of Medicine, focusing on mechanisms of pulmonary surfactant protein expression with Dr. Joanna Floros, after being selected as an Ambassadorial Scholar of The Rotary Foundation. She joined the Penn State faculty in 2011 as Research Associate, and as Assistant Professor and NIH K12 BIRCWH scholar in 2013. She was promoted to Associate Professor in 2018, prior to joining UNC in September 2018.
Dr. Silveyra is a mentor and advocate for women and underrepresented minority trainees, and she serves in various national organizations and committees, including the American Physiological Society, the American Thoracic Society, the Organization for the Study of Sex Differences, and the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) where she is Treasurer-elect and member of the Board of Directors. She is also a member and co-chair of the inaugural National Academies of Sciences “New Voices” program.
Anna Beeber, PhD, RN, FAAN
Dr. Beeber is a recognized leader in gerontological nursing and health services research. She is an associate professor and Beerstecher-Blackwell Distinguished Term Scholar at the School of Nursing, as well as a research fellow with the Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research.
Dr. Beeber is an Investigator in the Translating Research in Elder Care program at the University of Alberta Canada. She is devoted to improving the quality and safety of long-term care and enriching the quality of daily living for older adults residing in these settings. With funding from the John A. Hartford Foundation, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, and the Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality, she has worked on large-scale studies aiming to examine the role of staff – nursing assistants, RNs and LPNs in the quality and safety of health services provided in long-term care settings, as well as research to improve the care of older adults with dementia and the complex care of older adults residing in nursing homes and assisted living.
With her team, Dr. Beeber recently received a $1.5 million grant from AHRQ to create an evidence-based toolkit to improve resident and family caregiver engagement in the safety of assisted living (AHRQ R01 HS026473-01, 08/01/2019-05/31/2022). She is a Fellow in the Gerontological Society of America and the American Academy of Nursing.
Dr. Beeber is passionate about inspiring the next generation of nurse and interprofessional scholars to provide innovative care for older adults across care settings and is currently accepting students (of all levels), and post-doctoral fellows interested in gerontological nursing and long-term care research.
Lixin Song, PhD, RN, FAAN
Dr. Song received her Ph.D. from the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor and completed a postdoctoral training in chronic illness management at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill School of Nursing. Dr. Song’s research crosscuts a range of areas in cancer survivorship, mHealth intervention, post-treatment care transition, symptom management, patient-reported outcomes, stress and coping, health disparities, as well as communication and interaction among cancer survivors, family caregiver, and health care providers.
Jane Sox Monroe Distinguished Professorship in Nursing
Endowed by W. Paul Monroe to honor his late wife, a Carolina Nursing alumna, the Jane Sox Monroe Professorship in Nursing was established to recognize a distinguished teacher and scholar at the School who upholds the work ethic and altruistic ideals Jane possessed.
Professor Diane Berry, PhD, ANP-BC, FAANP, FAAN
Dr. Berry obtained a Diploma in Nursing at the Sisters of Charity Hospital School of Nursing and Canisus College in Buffalo, New York in 1976. She received a BSN from Lenoir Rhyne College in Hickory, North Carolina in 1987. In 1997, she received her MSN and ANP-BC from Boston College in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. Dr. Berry received her PhD at Boston College in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts in Philosophy of Science. She was a Postdoctoral Fellow at Yale University from 2003-2005 in Nursing and Self and Family Management of Chronic Conditions. Dr. Berry focuses on management and prevention of obesity, type 2 diabetes and gestational diabetes mellitus using community-based research in English and Spanish in the United States and in Mexico. Current research interests include translation science focusing on dissemination and implementation using web-based and smart phone interventions.
Melissa and Harry LeVine Family Distinguished Professor of Quality of Life, Health Promotion and Wellness
Melissa BSN ’77, MSN ’81 and Harry LeVine, long-time friends and supporters of the UNC School of Nursing, have long been interested in wellness, quality of life, workplace health, and well-being. In 2000, the couple established the SON’s LeVine Wellness Program, encouraging faculty and staff to engage in activities that promote a healthy lifestyle, including exercise and weight control. Faculty and staff continue to enjoy the benefits of the program through the LeVine Wellness Room, a fitness facility in the new addition to Carrington Hall.
Cheryl Woods Giscombe, PhD, RN, PMHNP-BC, FAAN
Cheryl L. Woods Giscombé, PhD, RN, PMHNP-BC is the Melissa and Harry LeVine Family Professor of Quality of Life, Health Promotion and Wellness. Her program of research focuses on understanding and reducing stress-related health disparities among African Americans. Her research incorporates sociohistorical and biopsychosocial perspectives to investigate how stress and coping strategies contribute to stress-related psychological and physical health outcomes. Dr. Giscombé has a particular interest in the potential for integrative approaches to reduce mental health-related disparities among African Americans.
Dr. Giscombé is dually trained in nursing and psychology. She completed a BA in psychology from North Carolina Central University and a BSN from Stony Brook University in New York. She earned MA and PhD degrees in social and health psychology from Stony Brook University and a MSN from the psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner/clinical nurse specialist program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Giscombé completed certification in holistic health from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition in Manhattan, New York. In addition, she completed postdoctoral training at UNC Chapel Hill (Interventions to Prevent and Manage Chronic Illness funded by NIH/NINR and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Minority Fellowship Program in collaboration with the American Nurses Association). In 2007 Dr. Giscombé was selected as a “Leader in the Field” by the American Psychological Association when she was awarded the Carolyn Payton Early Career Award.
To inquire about an investment in the future, please contact:
Kelly Kirby, Associate Dean for Advancement
Phone: (919) 966-4619
Scholarships offer students an opportunity to pursue a nursing education when financial and other obstacles may otherwise prevent them from attaining their dream. Financial support recognizes talent and a student’s will to achieve.
For doctoral candidates and master’s degree students, a financial award could determine whether they are able to pursue the degree. Most have families and need to put careers on hold for two to seven years, which calls for significant sacrifice and a need for outside resources.
In addition to the competition for elite faculty members, the School also competes with other schools of nursing for the best students. Often, the most critical factor in attracting excellent students is the financial assistance we can offer them. Undergraduate, master’s students and doctoral candidates who have financial need and are academically talented benefit from donor support. Below are opportunities to support students:
$5,000 annual award
Thank you to the donors who have created the endowments that award scholarship support to School of Nursing students. Their generosity is a living gift that provides educational support for future nursing students in perpetuity.
Student Support: A Commitment to Educational Opportunity
Through private giving, The School of Nursing is the beneficiary of alumni and friends who, through their generosity and commitment to nursing education and scholarship, have created funds for student support. To inquire about this support and other forms of financial aid, please contact the Office of Admissions and Student Services or call (919) 966-4260.