Debra Barksdale Appointed to National Health Panel

Debra Barksdale, associate professor at the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill School of Nursing, has been appointed to a new national health-care research panel. Barksdale (PhD, RN, CFNP, CANP) is one of the 19 members of the Board of Governors for the new Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI).

The institute was established under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, part of the federal government’s health-care reform legislation signed into law earlier this year. The Act specified that at least one nurse be on the board, and Barksdale will fulfill this requirement.

“There are some major needs regarding health and health care in our country, and I hope to be able to make a contribution,” Barksdale said. “I bring my knowledge and skill as a researcher, primary care nurse practitioner, and educator to the board. I will also be an advocate for the disadvantaged, underserved and underrepresented in regard to issues of health and research.”

The institute’s role is to assist patients, clinicians, purchasers and policymakers in making informed health decisions by carrying out research projects. Those studies should provide quality, relevant evidence on how diseases, disorders and other health conditions can effectively and appropriately be prevented, diagnosed, treated, monitored and managed.

The board members were announced by Gene L. Dodaro, acting comptroller general of the United States and head of the U.S. Government Accountability Office.

“The research to be developed by PCORI has the potential to improve the quality of health care for people across the nation,” Dodaro said. “This outstanding group of individuals brings an impressive range of knowledge, expertise and professional experience to this important initiative.”

Board members’ terms are staggered, with this first set of appointments set at two, four and six years. Barksdale, who will hold a two-year term, was nominated by a consortium of 28 nursing organizations, the AARP, Chancellor Holden Thorpe, Dean Kristen Swanson, North Carolina US Senators Richard Burr and Kay Hagan, and NC State legislators Verla Insko, Bob England and William Purcell.

A researcher, certified nurse practitioner and educator, her research focuses on psychological and physical stress, coping, and cardiovascular health in African-Americans. She is also a research fellow of the UNC Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, president-elect of the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculty, a fellow of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners and a volunteer family nurse practitioner in a clinic for the homeless. She received a BS in nursing from the University of Virginia, a masters degree in nursing from Howard University, a post-masters in teaching from the University of Pennsylvania, and a PhD in Nursing Research from the University of Michigan.

“The Carolina Nursing faculty, staff, students and alumni are delighted and proud that Dr. Barksdale has been appointed to the Board of Governors for the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute,” said Kristen M. Swanson, Dean and Alumni Distinguished Professor of the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Nursing. “As a nurse scientist and national leader in advanced practice nursing, Dr. Barksdale brings exceptional experience and expertise to the board. Nurses play a key role in sustaining life and advancing health: It is important that they help shape national research priorities regarding patient care.”

For more information, see the Government Accountability Office’s announcement at:

School of Nursing contact: Nancy Lamontagne, (919) 966-4619,

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