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Dec. 8, 2011 Volume 33, No. 15

Tina Bloom receives Robert Wood Johnson Foundation grant

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NURSE FACULTY SCHOLAR Tina Bloom, assistant professor of nursing, received a three-year $350,000 award from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Photo courtesy of the MU Sinclair School of Nursing


$350,000 Nurse Faculty Scholar award for pregnancy, violence study

Tina Bloom, an assistant professor in the MU Sinclair School of Nursing, has won a competitive grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to study an online intervention to protect pregnant women in rural communities from domestic violence.

Bloom is one of 12 nurse educators from around the country to receive the three-year $350,000 Nurse Faculty Scholar award this year. It is given to junior faculty who show outstanding promise as future leaders in academic nursing. The grant period began in September.

“The generous funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation will enable me to assess the feasibility of online, individualized safety planning for abused pregnant women in rural communities,” Bloom said. “My ultimate goal is to improve maternal and child health by helping pregnant women experience less violence, prevent and manage depression, navigate abusive relationships and extend intervals between pregnancies.”

For her research project, Bloom will recruit 40 pregnant women in rural communities throughout Missouri who are in abusive or unsafe relationships. Twice during pregnancy and twice after delivery, the women will be asked to access an online safety planning resource, which includes a survey about their experiences with violence. Bloom will then interview the participants to learn about their experiences with the online resource. This project will establish the feasibility and acceptability of the online resource for rural pregnant women. It also will lay a foundation for a larger study that will assess whether online safety planning improves the health of pregnant women and babies in rural communities who live in abusive or unsafe relationships.

Domestic violence during pregnancy poses significant health risks for mothers and babies. Abused pregnant women are at greater risk of injury, sexually transmitted infections, vaginal bleeding, depression and death. Babies of abused women are more likely to be born prematurely and to have low birth weights — two leading causes of infant mortality.

“Domestic violence during pregnancy is more common than placenta previa (an obstetric complication in which the placenta is attached to the uterine wall), gestational diabetes, and high blood pressure during pregnancy, yet risks associated with domestic violence are largely overlooked,” Bloom said. “I hope to change that.”

Bloom’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. 

Based on the recommendations from a groundbreaking Institute of Medicine nursing report released last year — “The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health” — the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is spearheading the Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action. Its goal is to engage nurses and non-nurses in a nationwide effort to overhaul the nursing profession. The campaign will work to implement solutions to the challenges facing the nursing profession and to build upon nurse-based approaches to improving quality and transforming the way Americans receive health care.

Bloom’s mentors include Vickie Conn, Sinclair School of Nursing associate dean for research, and Kim Anderson, associate professor of social work.

— Shoshana Herndon