Advancing strong research is primary goal for nursing associate dean

Research at the USF College of Nursing has grown tremendously over the past decade, the most recent milestone being a jump in rank to 28th for 2010 federal research funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Poised for another jump to the top 25, the College recently welcomed Cindy Munro, ANP, PhD, as associate dean for Research and Innovation. With a background steeped in research, Dr. Munro said she is eager to help advance the school to this next level, as well as guide it toward other innovative milestones.

Dr. Cindy Munro

Prior to joining USF, Dr. Munro was the Nursing Alumni Endowed Professor at the School of Nursing, Virginia Commonwealth University. In addition, she held affiliate faculty appointments in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, and the Department of Emergency Medicine, both in the School of Medicine at the Virginia Commonwealth University. Dr. Munro has been federally funded for more than a decade for her research in improving outcomes for critically ill adults. Dr. Munro is currently coeditor of the American Journal of Critical Care. She also volunteered two days each month as an adult nurse practitioner at the Petersburg Health Care Alliance in Petersburg, VA.

Dr. Munro said she was drawn to the USF nursing school by its foundation in research.

“The USF College of Nursing has really strong senior researchers and a lot of energetic up-and-coming researchers, providing a long road ahead for producing quality scientific investigation,” she said.

“All of the faculty I’ve met so far have wonderful ideas about how to improve patient care, many of which should be translated into ground-breaking studies.”

Helping fuel the College’s research efforts are its strategic Centers of Research Excellence, where faculty members craft interdisciplinary grant proposals that have appealed strongly to NIH and allowed the college to remain competitive even in recent fiscally challenging years. These centers focus on the nursing research areas of symptom management/end-of-life care, women’s health, and psychoneuroimmunology.

“Dr. Cindy Munro is a distinguished author, a researcher in the prevention of pneumonia in mechanically ventilated patients, has expertise in developing interdisciplinary research, and is nationally recognized as a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing,” said Dianne Morrison-Beedy PhD, RN, WHNP-BC, FNAP, FAANP, FAAN, dean of the USF College of Nursing and senior associate vice president of USF Health.

“All of this experience made her the natural choice as the College of Nursing’s new associate dean for Research and Innovation. Cindy is just the right person to move USF Nursing to the next level of national prominence in research and I am proud to have her as part of team nursing.”

Dr. Munro earned her undergraduate degree in nursing from the Millersville University of Pennsylvania, her master’s degree in medical-surgical nursing from the University of Delaware, and her adult nurse practitioner certificate from the Virginia Commonwealth University.

She earned her doctoral degree from the Medical College of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University, Clinical Science Program, which partners the School of Nursing and the Department of Microbiology and Immunology in the School of Basic Health Sciences. Her dissertation was titled “Sucrose-derived Exopolysaccarides of Streptococcus mutans are virulence factors in dental caries and endocarditis.” She graduated with a near 4.0 grade point average.

Dr. Munro is a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing.

Her funded research includes grants from the NIH National Institute of Nursing Research, NIH National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, and the NIH National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, as well as the Department of Defense, among others.

She is currently the principal investigator on a 9-year study looking at the reducing the incidence of infection associated with inserting a ventilator tube in patients with pneumonia.

In addition to USF’s strong nursing research, Dr. Munro said she was also attracted to USF because of the exceptional access faculty have to clinical facilities, such as Tampa General, Haley VA Hospital and Moffitt.

“These are world-class clinical facilities,” she said.

Dr. Munro added that the feeling she had after visiting USF seemed to make the decision to join even easier.

“I had such a sense of engagement and of interdisciplinary work,” she said.

“It felt real. I’m so glad I said yes.”

Story by Sarah A. Worth, photos by Eric Younghans, USF Health Office of Communications