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Gillespie wins RWJF grant

Gillespie wins RWJF grant
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Publish Date: 08/29/12
Media Contact: Angela Koenig, 513-558-4625
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UC Researcher Receives $350,000 Grant to Continue Study of Violence in the ED

CINCINNATI—University of Cincinnati (UC) researcher Gordon Gillespie, PhD, has been named a "Nurse Faculty Scholar” by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) to study the resilience of emergency department workers. 

Gillespie, an assistant professor in the UC College of Nursing, was among 12 recipients of the highly competitive and prestigious RWJF "Nurse Faculty Award,” which recognizes junior faculty who show outstanding promise in academic nursing and includes a $350,000 grant in the awardee's field of study.  

The RWJF award also includes a leadership element that provides Gillespie with mentorship at both the local and national level.

In Gillespie’s previous studies, he found that emergency department workers have the capacity to be resilient despite severe occupational stressors such as workplace violence. The emergency department is often reported as the No. 1 health care setting where workplace violence is likely to occur.

"I am excited to be selected, and this generous award will allow me to determine the characteristics of resilience modeled by so many emergency department workers after being physically and verbally abused by the patients and visitors they are caring for,” Gillespie said. "These characteristics will become the foundation of a large-scale intervention aiming to foster resilience in all emergency department workers before the workers quit or transfer to other occupational settings.” 

For his research project, Gillespie will survey approximately 225 workers and conduct focus groups with six emergency departments. The information from his project will be used to design an intervention that promotes the resilience and psychological health of victimized workers. The ultimate goal of this project is an intervention that is highly adoptable and sustainable by the emergency departments long after the research team has left.  

The emergency department is quite often reported as the number one health care setting where workplace violence is likely to occur. Gillespie says, "Unfortunately, in today’s emergency care environment, violence is a matter of ‘when,’ not ‘if.’” The findings from this study will be used to manage the aftermath when the violence does occur.  

Gillespie’s selection comes as the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is embarking on a collaborative campaign to transform the nursing profession to improve health and health care, and the grant comes at a time that the UC College of Nursing is also expanding its research efforts and faculty development. 

"We are aggressively working to advance our visibility both at the university and nationally through significantly increasing the numbers of externally funded grants and the research dollars associated with them,” says Donna Martsolf, PhD, the new associate dean of research and translation at the UC College of Nursing, who will serve as Gillespie’s mentor. 

She adds: "Dr. Gillespie is an exceptionally promising faculty member with significant potential to become a leader in academia. I look forward to serving as his nursing faculty mentor and to assisting him to take full advantage of the outstanding opportunity that the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Award gives him.” 

The grant period begins next month. 

For more information on the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, visit 

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