Debra Barksdale Selected for RWJF Executive Nurse Fellows Program

Debra_Barksdale_headshot Debra Barksdale

Debra Barksdale, an associate professor at SON, has been named one of just 21 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Executive Nurse Fellows for 2011. Barksdale joins a select group of nurse leaders from across the country chosen to participate in this world-class, three-year leadership development program designed to enhance nurse leaders’ effectiveness in improving the United States health care system.

Barksdale (Ph.D., F.N.P.-B.C., C.N.E.,. F.A.A.N.P) is a certified nurse practitioner and educator who holds several leadership positions. She is president-elect of the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties and a Fellow of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. She is a member of the National League for Nursing’s Nursing Education Research Think Tank and is the only nurse on the Board of Governors for the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Board (PCORI), which was created by the Affordable Care Act. Her research to date has focused on stress and cardiovascular disease among Black Americans.

Begun by RWJF in 1998, the RWJF Executive Nurse Fellows (ENF) program strengthens the leadership capacity of nurses who aspire to shape health care locally and nationally. The program will provide Barksdale and her colleagues with coaching, education and other support to strengthen their abilities to lead teams and organizations in improving health and health care. The ENF program is located at the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL), and co-directed by: Linda Cronenwett (Ph.D., R.N., F.A.A.N.) the Beerstecher Blackwell Term Professor and former dean of the School of Nursing at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; and David Altman, executive vice president of Research, Innovation and Product Development at CCL.

“The Institute of Medicine report on the Future of Nursing, issued last fall, underscores the importance of nurse leadership as we work to improve the health and health care of all Americans,” Cronenwett said. “The RWJF Executive Nurse Fellows program is building and enhancing the leadership skills of extraordinary nurses around the country. Our alumni are a virtual ‘who’s who’ of accomplished nurses, and we know that Debra Barksdale and the other members of this new cohort will join them in doing great things. The RWJF Executive Nurse Fellows program supports nurse leaders with potential to develop innovative ways to improve health care delivery.”

“For years I heard about the Executive Nurse Fellows program, but never in my wildest dreams did I think it would be something I could be part of,” said Barksdale. “But as I took on more leadership roles, I discovered that I’m good at leadership. I know that participating in this program will help me grow and enhance my ability to lead and to contribute to nursing and to improving our nation’s health care.”

Executive Nurse Fellows hold senior leadership positions in health services, scientific and academic organizations, public health and community-based organizations or systems, and national professional, governmental and policy organizations. They continue in their current positions during their fellowships, and during the fellowship each develops, plans and implements a new initiative to improve health care delivery in her or his community.