CAMDEN — A pair of Rutgers–Camden nursing faculty members have been selected as American Academy of Nursing fellows, one of the highest honors in nursing scholarship.
Robert Atkins, an associate professor with a joint appointment in nursing and childhood studies at Rutgers–Camden, and Janice Beitz, a professor of nursing, will be inducted into the academy in Oct. 19 during its 40th annual meeting in Washington, D.C.
The Rutgers–Camden scholars join a distinguished group of more than 2,000 academy fellows as leaders in nursing education, management, practice and research. The 172 new fellows represent all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and 19 countries.
“To be selected as a fellow is a great honor, one of the highest honors an American nurse can achieve,” Beitz says. “Selection for the academy means you have demonstrated major achievements in your nursing career that benefit patients and society especially in the realm of research and scholarship.”
Atkins and Beitz join Rutgers School of Nursing–Camden Dean Joanne Robinson and Carol Germain, a senior adviser to the School of Nursing for scholarship and research, in the exclusive fellowship. Germain was induced as an academy fellow in 1979. Robinson was inducted in 2011.
“The induction of me and Dr. Beitz into the academy means that three faculty members affiliated with the Rutgers School of Nursing–Camden will be fellows in this respected academy,” Atkins says. “This is an important achievement for the Rutgers School of Nursing–Camden because it heightens the profile of the school. As a new school of nursing working to attract the best and brightest students and faculty in the region and the nation, it is important to have faculty who have national and international recognition.”
The academy’s goal is to serve the public and nursing profession by advancing health policy and practice. Its fellows have a responsibility to continue to contribute to and transform America’s health care system by enhancing the quality of health and nursing care; promoting healthy aging and human development across the life continuum; reducing health disparities and inequalities; shaping healthy behaviors and environments; integrating mental and physical health care; and strengthening the nursing and health care delivery system, nationally and internationally.
Fellows include association executives; university presidents, chancellors and deans; state and federal political appointees; hospital chief executives and vice presidents for nursing; nurse consultants; and researchers and entrepreneurs.
“Being inducted as a fellow into the academy is a nice recognition to receive from my colleagues in nursing. The honor suggests that I have made a few worthwhile contributions through my scholarship and service,” Atkins says. “However, more importantly, it is a signal that it is my time to take a seat at the table and participate in the conversation around improving health and healthcare in this country.”
Beitz adds that the fellowship demonstrates the Rutgers School of Nursing–Camden “is on the way to being a major center of quality education for nurses at baccalaureate and advanced practice levels —including doctoral level — located in South Jersey.”
“I see the fellowship as a way for both Bob and myself to improve the health and wellness of New Jersey residents via education, research, and scholarly work,” she says.
Atkins, a Cherry Hill resident, earned bachelor’s degrees in political science and American civilizations from Brown University and in nursing from the University of Pennsylvania. He earned his master’s degree from Rutgers University and his doctoral degree from Temple University.
Prior to coming to Rutgers–Camden, Atkins worked as a school nurse at East Camden Middle School and co-founded the Camden STARR Program, a nonprofit youth development program dedicated to improving the life chances of youth living in Camden.
He currently serves the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation as national program director of its New Jersey Health Initiatives (NJHI) program. NJHI is the Foundation’s signature statewide grant-making program.
Beitz is a Cherry Hill resident and Philadelphia native who joined the Rutgers–Camden nursing faculty in 2012 after teaching at La Salle University. She has co-authored more than 25 research publications and more than 75 articles in refereed nursing and interdisciplinary journals, and co-authored multiple book chapters and one book. She has dedicated her research to developing algorithms to determine the best practices for ostomy care.
Beitz received her bachelor’s degree from La Salle University, her master’s degree from Villanova University, and her doctoral degree from Temple University. She also graduated from the Germantown Hospital School of Nursing and received her post master’s certificate from La Salle University.
The American Academy of Nursing, an independent affiliate of the American Nurses Association, was established in 1973 to help advance the profession of nursing through health policy and practice by generating, synthesizing and disseminating nursing knowledge. For more information, visit aannet.org.