Skip to header Skip to main navigation Skip to main content Skip to footer

Alumni Magazine

College of Health Professions

    1. Home
    2. Spring 2021 issue
  1. News
  2. Additional Awards and Achievements

Additional awards and achievements

2020 CHP grant awards

In FY 2020, 22 faculty in the College of Health Professions received 32 sponsored research awards totaling $3,739,348.

Faculty Awards

Allison DeLaney, M.A., BCC, M.P.H., PT, chaplain for the pediatric, neonatal and women’s health units at VCU Medical Center and instructor in the Department of Patient Counseling, was honored during National Nurses Week in May 2020 with Collaborative Practice Awards given by the NICU nurses and the labor and delivery nurses. 

Jiale “Gary” Hu, Ph.D., RN, assistant professor and director of research and global outreach in the Department of Nurse Anesthesia, received the Sigma Omega Chapter Excellence in Nursing Research Award in spring 2020.


The following College of Health Professions faculty were recognized for their achievements, honors and awards during the 2020 CHP Faculty Awards Recognition virtual session:

Teaching: Jessica Mittler, Ph.D., Health Administration

Research and Innovation: Peter Pidcoe, Ph.D., PT, D.P.T., Physical Therapy

Service: Dianne Simons, Ph.D., Occupational Therapy

Overall Excellence: Lauretta Cathers, Ph.D., Dean’s Office, Ph.D. Program, Rehabilitation Counseling

Faculty grants and funding

Virginia Chu, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Occupational Therapy, was awarded funding from the VCU Wright Center for Clinical and Translational Research Endowment Fund Committee for her research project, “Development of Proprioceptive Assessments for Early Childhood.”

Denise Hall, clinical coordinator in the Department of Rehabilitation Counseling, is principal investigator for two grants from the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services: Peer Recovery Specialist Program Technical Assistance and Ethical Decision Making Technical Assistance.

Sarah Marrs, Ph.D., research and evaluation specialist in the Virginia Center on Aging’s Virginia Geriatric Education Center, was awarded a Presidential Research Quest Fund grant for “Assessing Recognition of and Response to Cases of Abuse in Later Life.” This project is a critical first step toward improving the recognition of and responses to abuse in later life, as well as developing evidence-based practices to support older adults.

Harold Barnwell, D.N.A.P., CRNA, CHSE, second-year Ph.D. student and Department of Nurse Anesthesia faculty member, was awarded an $11,100 grant by the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists Foundation to support his dissertation research, “Perioperative Brain Health: A Quantitative Evaluation of a Novel Electroencephalogram Headset for Assessing and Tracking Neurocognition in Older Surgical Patients.”

Corey Davis, Ph.D., CRNA, vice chair for clinical affairs, and Adam Eddy, business manager, both Department of Nurse Anesthesia faculty, each received a nurse anesthesia traineeship grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Faika Zanjani, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Gerontology, received a VCU COVID-19 Rapid Research Funding Opportunity grant for “Telephone-based Health Coaching to Address COVID-19 Risk, Stress, Social Isolation on Racial/Ethnic Minority Low-Income Older Adults.” Through this initiative, VCU has awarded nearly $350,000 in funding to 31 outstanding and timely proposals. In addition to the Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation and the Wright Center for Clinical and Translational Research, this effort was supported by the Office of the Senior Vice President for Health Sciences and VCU’s Institute for Inclusion, Inquiry and Innovation.

Faculty in the media

Laura McClelland, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Health Administration, was featured in a podcast by the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association regarding her research on compassion in health care.

Cindy Watts, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Health Administration, was featured on WalletHub, a personal finance website. Watts discussed the expansion of telemedicine during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

Jason Callahan, M.Div., instructor in the Department of Patient Counseling, was interviewed in a Huffington Post story about the role of hospital chaplains during the pandemic, “Hospital Chaplains Grapple with COVID-19’s ‘Tsunami’ of Grief.”

Mark Crosthwaite, M.Ed., CNMT, PET, RS, FSNMMI-TS, director of the nuclear medicine program in the Department of Radiation Sciences and president of the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging’s Technologist Section, was interviewed about the impact of COVID-19 on nuclear medicine technologists. The article, “From One Technologist to Another – COVID-19 Questions Answered,” was published in May 2020 in the Journal of Nuclear Medicine Technology.

Carolyn Hawley, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Rehabilitation Counseling and president of the Virginia Council on Problem Gambling, was featured in Virginia media twice in 2020. In February, the Richmond Times-Dispatch published an op-ed she wrote about the unintended consequences of legalized gambling in the commonwealth. In April, she was quoted on WAVY.com about how the closure of gambling facilities due to the coronavirus pandemic could cause withdrawal similar to other addictions.

Jen Pryor, program director and director for community education for the Department of Gerontology, was quoted in a Virginia Public Radio article on how residents of long-term care facilities and their families are coping during the pandemic. Pryor encouraged people to reach out to their families and stay connected.

Kelli Williams Gary, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Rehabilitation Counseling and president-elect of the Brain Injury Association of Virginia, was featured in the Richmond Free Press in January 2020. Her research related to brain injury drew the attention of the newspaper. 

View graphic version