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November 18, 2016
NINR Marks Anniversary with Symposium

Director of ceremonies Dr. Afaf Meleis (l) and NINR director Dr. Patricia Grady
Director of ceremonies Dr. Afaf Meleis (l) and NINR director Dr. Patricia Grady

NINR recently hosted the scientific symposium “Advancing Science, Improving Lives: A Window to the Future” at the Washington Hilton in Washington, D.C. NINR director Dr. Patricia Grady opened the event—one of the concluding activities in NINR’s year-long 30th-anniversary commemoration—and Dr. Afaf Meleis, professor of nursing and sociology and former dean of nursing at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, served as master of ceremonies. More than 500 scientists, health care professionals and members of the public discussed current and future research in nursing science.

The symposium featured scientific speakers and included panel discussions on the topics of sleep and omics science. Dr. David Dinges of the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine moderated the symptom science panel on sleep, joined by Dr. Nancy Redeker of Yale School of Nursing and Dr. Terri Weaver of the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Nursing.

The group discussed a transformation in our understanding of the role of sleep on human health, including the effect of sleep on the outcomes of chronic conditions, and vice versa. Panelists noted that there are effective treatments for sleep disorders and that continued research will help ensure that those with chronic disease receive these treatments when they need them.

Dr. Yvette Conley of the University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing moderated the omic science panel on precision health. Panelists included Dr. Bernice Coleman of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and Dr. Jessica Gill of NINR’s Division of Intramural Research.

Panelists noted the great strides made in omic sciences, with the first map of the human genome taking over 10 years to complete, compared with the mere days this process requires now. Because of such advances, it’s now practical to use omics sciences to identify diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers for disease.

NINR released its new strategic plan at the symposium, Advancing Science, Improving Lives: A Vision for Nursing Science, which details the institute’s priorities for the conduct and support of future nursing science. The plan, which incorporates feedback from the recent NINR Innovative Questions Initiative, highlights four areas—symptom science, wellness, self-management and end-of-life and palliative care—as well as two cross-cutting areas of emphasis: promoting innovation and developing 21st century nurse scientists. The plan is available at www.ninr.nih.gov/strategicplan.

In closing, Grady noted that nursing science, ultimately, is about people. She encouraged those in attendance to work side by side with representatives of the communities who will benefit from their research. “Be active listeners,” she advised. “Their insights, knowledge and perspectives will help ensure the success of your research by informing, guiding and shaping its design and implementation.”

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