SON Researcher’s Heart Failure Work Lands Esteemed HFSA Award

October 22, 2008

Ponrathi Athilingam, Ph.D., A.C.N.P., assistant professor of Clinical Nursing at the University of Rochester’s School of Nursing, was awarded the Heart Failure Society of America Nursing Investigator Award at the organization’s annual scientific meeting in Toronto last month.

Athilingam was one of five finalists chosen to compete for the award. A nurse practitioner with the University of Rochester Medical Center’s Program in Heart Failure and Transplantation, she presented her dissertation research, titled “Montreal Cognitive Assessment May Be an Appropriate Tool to Assess Cognitive Dysfunction in Heart Failure,” for which she is proposing a longitudinal study to expand the research.

For Leway Chen, M.D., M.P.H., director of the Program in Heart Failure and Transplantation, who works closely with Athilingam, the award was no surprise.

“Pon is an amazingly dedicated nurse practitioner,” Chen said. “She was able to design, complete and analyze her study in a very short period of time. She is tireless, working full-time on the heart failure and transplantation unit, teaching full-time at the School of Nursing school, and conducting research. I foresee a tremendous academic career in her future.”

Athilingam graduated from nursing school in India in the early 1970s, the first young woman in her village to go to nursing school. She went on to complete two master’s degrees, one in community health from the University of Liverpool in England, the other as part of the accelerated M.S./Ph.D. program at the University of Rochester’s School of Nursing. She was the first to graduate from this rigorous program that was started in 2002. She has been an employee of the University of Rochester Medical Center since 2000.

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