Siegel named a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Nurse Faculty Scholar

Elena Siegel © UC Regents
Elena Siegel

Posted Sept. 14, 2011

Elena O. Siegel, an assistant professor and founding faculty member at the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis, is one of only 12 nurse educators around the country named a 2011 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Nurse Faculty Scholar.

Siegel won the competitive, three-year $350,000 grant to examine the organizational and leadership factors that affect how quality improvement measures are adopted, implemented and sustained in nursing homes. The grants are awarded annually to junior faculty who show outstanding promise as future leaders in academic nursing.

"I'm excited about the opportunity to have focused time for my research and structured mentorship to support my development as an academic nurse leader," Siegel said.

Achieving sustainable quality improvement in nursing homes

For her research project, Siegel plans to examine the ways in which nursing home leaders make decisions about which quality improvement initiatives their organizations will adopt and the organizational and leadership factors that contribute to successful implementation and sustainability of those initiatives. The project will involve interviews with executive and administrative decision makers, including nursing home owners, corporate executives, nursing home administrators, and directors of nursing.

Several studies addressed implementation of quality-improvement measures, but few involved in-depth examination of the role of leadership in the implementation of quality improvement measures. Siegel said the study results will facilitate the development of an assessment tool to help leaders ascertain their own readiness and identify possible challenges or barriers to successful implementation of quality improvement measures.

Transforming nursing, improving health care

About the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis

The Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis, established in March 2009, was UC Davis' first major initiative to address society's most pressing health-care problems in its second century of service. The school was launched through a $100 million commitment from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the nation's largest grant for nursing education. The vision of the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing is to transform health care through nursing education and research.

Through nursing leadership, the school will discover knowledge to advance health, improve quality of care and health outcomes, and inform health policy. The school's first programs, a doctoral and a master's degree program, opened in fall 2010.

The Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing is part of the UC Davis Health System, an integrated, academic health system encompassing UC Davis School of Medicine, the 645-bed-acute-care hospital and clinical services of UC Davis Medical Center and the 800-member physician group known as the UC Davis Medical Group. For more information, visit

Siegel's selection comes as both the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation embark on a collaborative campaign to transform the nursing profession to improve health and health care. Based on the recommendations from the groundbreaking Institute of Medicine nursing report released last year, "The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health," the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation leads the Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action to engage nurses and non-nurses in a nationwide effort to overhaul the nursing profession.

At the same time, faculty and leaders from the UC Davis School of Nursing lead a variety of efforts to implement the initiative in California. The campaign is working to implement solutions to the challenges facing the nursing profession and to build upon nurse-based approaches to improve quality and transform the way Americans receive health care.

Siegel's mentors include Associate Vice Chancellor for Nursing and Founding Dean Heather M. Young and Joy Melnikow, professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine in the School of Medicine.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Nurse Faculty Scholars program aims to strengthen the academic productivity and overall excellence of nursing schools by developing the next generation of national leaders in academic nursing. Supporting junior nurse faculty will help curb a shortage of nurse educators that could undermine the health and health care of all Americans. The program provides talented junior faculty with salary and research support as well as the opportunity to participate in institutional and national mentoring activities, leadership training, and networking events with colleagues in nursing and other fields, while continuing to teach and provide institutional, professional and community service at their universities. To learn more about the program, visit