University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee

Nurse Faculty Scholars

Nurse Faculty Scholars
National Program Office
Phone: (877) 738-0737

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Sep 13, 2008 
Runquist named a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Nurse Faculty Scholar

Jennifer Runquist

Jennifer Runquist

Jennifer Runquist, R.N., Ph.D., an assistant professor in the College of Nursing at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, was one of 15 junior faculty nationwide to receive an inaugural Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Nurse Faculty Scholar award. The three-year, $350,000 grant will begin Sept. 1.

The award will support Runquist’s research to study how sleep deprivation affects depression in urban women after childbirth. Depression is the number one complication of childbirth, affecting at least 600,000 women in the United States each year. More than half of women with depression are never diagnosed, and only 20 percent of those who are diagnosed will receive appropriate treatment. The effects of a mother’s untreated depression on her infant can be serious, and can persist into adulthood.

The months after childbirth are often fraught with exhaustion and lack of sleep. This may be especially true for women who have fewer economic resources and little social support. The mental effects of sleep deprivation build up over time and may increase women’s likelihood of depression.

This study will measure sleep patterns and depression in urban women for the first three months after childbirth to identify which sleep-related factors are most important to a mother’s mental health. The award will also support Runquist’s participation in a training program that will help prepare her for academic leadership, and provide funding for translating evidence into policy and practice initiatives.

“I hope to use this generous support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to make concrete improvements in the health of some of our nation’s more vulnerable mothers and infants,” said Runquist.

Her faculty mentors for this research are Christine Kovach, R.N., Ph.D., F.A.A.N., professor in the UWMCollege of Nursing, and Michael Fendrich, Ph.D., professor in UWM’s Helen Bader School of Social Welfare.

“We are very proud that Dr. Runquist has been selected for this prestigious appointment,” said Sally Lundeen, dean of the UWM College of Nursing. “Her area of research has the potential to improve the quality of life for urban families and is totally consistent with the urban mission of the UW–Milwaukee College of Nursing.”

Runquist received the 2007 New Investigator Award from the Childbearing Nursing Research Section of the Midwest Nursing Research Society, and the 2008 UWM College of Nursing New Investigator Award.

The goal of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Nurse Faculty Scholars program is to develop the next generation of national leaders in academic nursing through career development awards for outstanding junior nursing faculty. The program aims to strengthen the academic productivity and overall excellence of nursing schools by providing mentorship, leadership training, salary and research support to young faculty.

The program is run out of the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing. Jacquelyn C. Campbell, R.N., Ph.D., F.A.A.N., Anna D. Wolf chair and professor in the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing, directs the program. For more information, go to: