UR Nursing Professor to Receive Lifetime Achievement Award

May 10, 2005

Harriet Kitzman, the Loretta C. Ford Professor of Nursing at the University of Rochester School of Nursing, will receive the University Award for Lifetime Achievement in Graduate Education at commencement ceremonies for UR doctoral recipients Saturday, May 14, in Eastman Theatre.

The award honors University of Rochester faculty members who have, throughout a significant portion of their career, provided outstanding guidance and mentorship to doctoral students at the University, and whose students have gone on to make important contributions in scholarship, business, or government related to their doctoral studies.

“Of all the awards I could receive, this is the most cherished because it so closely reflects my underlying beliefs about our responsibility for the next generation of scholars,” said Kitzman, PhD, RN.

Kitzman, a member of the University’s School of Nursing faculty for more than 35 years, is a well-known and accomplished researcher and developer of nursing programs.

In the early 1970s, she helped start one of the first graduate programs in the nation to train nurse practitioners in primary care. More than 20 years ago, Kitzman helped develop a program through which nurses make home visits to young women who are pregnant with their first child.

Under the program, nurses help pregnant women improve their health by eating nutritiously and reducing their use of cigarettes, alcohol, and illegal drugs. Nurses also identify emerging obstetrical problems and make sure they’re treated before they become more serious. After the child is born, nurses help guide the parents to provide more responsible and competent care for their children.

Research has shown that compared to families who did not receive prenatal and infancy home visits by nurses, families who were visited spent fewer months on welfare and food stamps. There also was increased involvement by fathers. Mothers in these families also had fewer subsequent pregnancies and longer intervals between the birth of their first and second child. Nurse-visited children also demonstrated fewer behavioral problems and improved school readiness and had fewer injuries.

The program now serves more than 13,000 families in 23 states. In New York, programs operate in Elmira and in Cayuga County.

In 2001, Kitzman received the Distinguished Scholar in Nursing Award from New York University. Kitzman is a Pittsford resident.

At commencement ceremonies, which begin at 10 a.m., a total of 221 doctoral degrees will be awarded.

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