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Dr. Sunny Hallowell Selected as Prestigious Macy Faculty Scholar

Dr.  Sunny Hallowell

Sunny G. Hallowell, PhD, PPCNP-BC, IBCLC, a pediatric nurse practitioner and assistant professor at the Villanova University M. Louise Fitzpatrick College of Nursing (FCN), has been selected as a Macy Faculty Scholar, following a highly rigorous and selective national process. She joins a forward-thinking group of five researchers in the 2021 class of nurses and physicians, honored for their creativity and impact. Dr. Hallowell will receive salary support for two years as part of the program.

“I am delighted that Dr. Hallowell has been selected as a Macy Faculty Scholar. This prestigious designation recognizes her innovative and promising scholarship to further nursing education and patient care, emblematic of the inclusive excellence work being done here at Villanova Nursing,” notes Donna S. Havens, PhD, RN, FAAN, Connelly Endowed Dean and Professor. The scholar program is supported by the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation and includes career development.

As a Macy Faculty Scholar, Dr. Hallowell will design, develop, and test Inclusive Clinical Advocacy - Responsible Education through a web-based virtual gaming simulation (ICARE-VGS) to support healthcare providers’ development of clinical and communication skills to promote equity, diversity and belonging in the communities they serve. FCN’s Professor Elizabeth Burgess Dowdell, PhD, RN, FAAN, coordinator for Undergraduate Research, serves as Dr. Hallowell's mentor.

“I am honored to join an interdisciplinary cohort of researchers and educators committed to preparing future healthcare professionals to meet the diverse and dynamic needs of patients in the 21st century. I am deeply grateful for the generous support of the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation which will enable me to create a game-based, virtual learning environment where future nurses may develop the necessary skills to become experts in clinical assessment, decision making and patient advocacy,” explains Dr. Hallowell, noting, “The goals of the project are to empower students to be clinical change agents and problem solvers, facile at approaching patient care using health equity lens, in order to improve patient outcomes for the diverse communities of children and families we serve.”

Dr. Hallowell has been recognized for her innovative mixed-methods approach to reduce medication administration errors using a game-based, immersive virtual reality simulation. Her pioneering work with nursing students in the design of virtual gaming simulations has created clinical learning environments rooted in science and social justice. As a member of Aequitas, Villanova's Presidential Task Force on Race, she is committed to cultivating positive cultural change across the campus.

“We are pleased to welcome Dr. Sunny G. Hallowell to the 2021 class of Macy Faculty Scholars,” said Holly J. Humphrey, MD, MACP, president of the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation. “Her work with virtual reality simulation training is revolutionary in advancing care.”

Since 1930, the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation has worked to improve health care in the United States. Founded by Kate Macy Ladd in memory of her father, prominent businessman Josiah Macy Jr., the Foundation supports projects that broaden and improve health professions education. It is the only national foundation solely dedicated to this mission. The Macy Foundation can be found at and followed on Twitter at @macyfoundation.

Follow Dr. Hallowell on Twitter at @SGHallowell.