School of Nursing Professor Selected for National Honor

Nancy Pontes

By Mike Sepanic

A Rutgers University–Camden nursing scholar has been selected as an American Academy of Nursing (AAN) fellow, one of the highest honors in nursing scholarship.

Nancy Pontes, an assistant professor at the Rutgers School of Nursing–Camden, will be inducted into the AAN during its annual meeting in Washington, D.C. in October.

The Rutgers–Camden scholar joins a distinguished group of more than 2,600 academy fellows as leaders in nursing education, management, practice, and research. The 231 new fellows represent 38 states, the District of Columbia, and 17 countries.

“To be selected as a fellow is a great honor, one of the highest honors a nurse can achieve,” Pontes says. “Selection for the academy means you have demonstrated major achievements in nursing leadership that benefit patients and society through research, education, management, or practice.”

Pontes joins Rutgers School of Nursing–Camden Dean Donna Nickitas and faculty colleagues Robert Atkins, Janice Beitz, and Marie O’Toole in the exclusive fellowship.

“The induction of Dr. Pontes into the academy means that five faculty members affiliated with the Rutgers School of Nursing–Camden will represent South Jersey in this respected academy,” Nickitas says. “This important achievement for the Rutgers School of Nursing–Camden lets the world know that our faculty are among the very best in the nation. We applaud Dr. Pontes for this milestone accomplishment in her impressive career.”

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.

Pontes, a Wenonah resident, earned her bachelor’s degree in nursing from Pensacola Christian College in 1985. She then received her master’s degree in nursing from the University of Florida in 1994 and her Ph.D. in nursing from Columbia University in 2003.

Prior to coming to Rutgers–Camden, Pontes conducted research at New York University and Columbia University, practiced as a family nurse practitioner in a variety of settings, and served as assistant vice president for health and wellness at Rowan University. Her research focuses on the social determinants of health and well-being among youth and families and has appeared in such publications as the Journal of Pediatric Nursing, the Journal of Research in Nursing and Health, and the journal Nursing Research. She was honored with the Eastern Nursing Research Society’s 2019 Nursing Research Authorship Award.

A Distinguished Fellow of the National Academy of Practice, Pontes received a three-year, $600,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Education to establish an innovative program to prepare students in nursing and other health professions to work in health settings among Spanish-speaking populations with limited English proficiency. Created in collaboration with Spanish professors at Rutgers–Camden, the certificate program has received national attention for its creative approach to preparing health practitioners to better serve their patients, including such honors as the American Association of Colleges of Nursing’s Innovation Award.

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.

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