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Villanova University Honors Nursing Faculty for Research and Scholarly Contributions


Two Villanova Nursing faculty are to be honored by the University for their science at the May 19 Commencement as well as in fall 2023.

Professor Elizabeth Burgess Dowdell, PhD, RN, AFN-C, FAAN, Coordinator of Undergraduate Research has been selected as the recipient of Villanova University’s Outstanding Faculty Research Award for 2023. Professor Helene Moriarty, PhD, RN, FAAN, the Diane L. & Robert F. Moritz Jr. Endowed Chair in Nursing Research, and Nurse Scientist and Co-Program Director of VA Interprofessional Fellowship in Patient Safety at the Corporal Michael J. Crescenz Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Philadelphia, has been selected as the recipient of the University's Scholarly Achievement Award for 2023.

Dr. Elizabeth Dowdell
Dr. Elizabeth Dowdell is the recipient of Villanova University's 2023 Outstanding Faculty Research Award.

Dr. Elizabeth Dowdell

The Outstanding Faculty Research Award is presented to a member of the University faculty who demonstrates the highest standards of excellence in their research, scholarship and contributions to their field, and has established a national and international scholarly reputation in their field as evidenced by their publications in highly cited journals, invited presentations at national and international symposia, as well as leadership and other scholarly activities that indicate stature in their field.

The award selection committee noted Dr. Dowdell’s impressive, groundbreaking scholarship in critical areas related to child and adolescent health, safety and well-being which has an important and wide-ranging impact across disciplines; also cited was her how her innovative work has helped shape policy. She has made major contributions quantifying the health risks facing vulnerable children and providing leadership to address vital, compelling issues in child health and in nursing care with pioneering science in such areas as child internet safety with Department of Justice-funded studies, cyber aggression, school shooters and pediatric gun violence risk, sleep texting, compassion fatigue in emergency department nurses, and trauma-informed care.

Dr. Dowdell has shared her work through numerous, high-impact journals and across disciplines and the media. Additionally, many colleagues and graduate and undergraduate students have benefited from her mentoring in the rigor of nursing research and its dissemination. In particular, the undergraduate research program has grown extensively under her direction, creating the next generation of nurse scientists. 

As an external recommender noted, Dr. Dowdell has “…demonstrated the unique ability to build and sustain an impactful cutting-edge program of research, to lead the national dialogue and shape policy, … and to mentor and teach others to make their own contributions. This is a rare and highly valuable combination...”

Dr. Helene Moriarty
Dr. Helene Moriarty is the recipient of Villanova University's 2023 Scholarly Achievement Award.

Dr. Helene Moriarty

The University's Scholarly Achievement Award recognizes excellence on the part of faculty for published research, scholarship, and/or creative expression and is given for accomplishments in the preceding three academic years.

Dr. Moriarty is a widely successful scholar rooted in both academic and service settings, including the Veterans Affairs health care system.  When selecting her, the award committee noted her proven track record of scholarly success, including her research on traumatic brain injury (TBI), veterans and their families and its impact in many spheres, as well as her many honors, including being selected as a member of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) Committee on TBI care.

Her focused research on the impact of traumatic brain injuries on veterans has had a tremendous effect on the well-being of those who have served in war as well as their families. Her research is influential from both an academic and practitioner perspective and broadly influences how our society can create a more supportive and inclusive community.

In addition, her long list of publications, honors and awards are remarkable, including the NASEM committee 2022 publication Accelerating Progress in Traumatic Brain Injury Research and Care.  Dr. Moriarty was one of two nurses in the group of 18 experts representing many disciplines to develop the publication. The committee worked for over a year and created the report that identifies barriers, outlines potential areas for collaboration, and provides a 10-year roadmap for advancing TBI research and clinical care in the United States, covering both military and civilian issues.  

Since 2019, Dr. Moriarty is part of the VA Office of Nursing Service, Nursing Research Field Advisory Committee whose mission is to develop, implement and evaluate a strategic plan for nursing research in the VA health system. She is currently serving as chair through February 2024, while she continues to mentor faculty and students.