Ruth Carrico, Ph.D., R.N., F.S.H.E.A., C.I.C., an associate professor at the School of Public Health and Information Sciences, University of Louisville, has been named one of just 21 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Executive Nurse Fellows for 2011. Carrico joins a select group of nurse leaders from across the country chosen to participate in this world-class, three-year leadership development program designed to enhance nurse leaders’ effectiveness in improving the United States health care system.
With more than 30 years of experience in health care, Carrico has focused her nursing practice on infection prevention in the health care and public health sectors, and is board-certified in infection control. She has received training in health care epidemiology and public health at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in conjunction with the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University and the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America. Carrico has authored or co-authored six books, as well as numerous peer-reviewed manuscripts, abstracts, posters, e-learning modules, and book chapters.
“Ruth is very deserving of this honor,” said Richard Clover, M.D., dean, UofL School of Public Health and Information Sciences. “She is a leader in the field of infection prevention and control and was recently appointed to the Healthcare Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee (HICPAC) to help advise the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).”
Begun by RWJF in 1998, the RWJF Executive Nurse Fellows (ENF) program strengthens the leadership capacity of nurses who aspire to shape health care locally and nationally. The program will provide Carrico and her colleagues with coaching, education and other support to strengthen their abilities to lead teams and organizations in improving health and health care. The ENF program is located at the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL), and co-directed by: Linda Cronenwett, Ph.D., R.N., F.A.A.N., the Beerstecher Blackwell Term Professor and former dean of the School of Nursing at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; and David Altman, executive vice president of Research, Innovation and Product Development at CCL.
“The Institute of Medicine report on the Future of Nursing, issued last fall, underscores the importance of nurse leadership as we work to improve the health and health care of all Americans,” Cronenwett said. “The RWJF Executive Nurse Fellows program is building and enhancing the leadership skills of extraordinary nurses around the country. Our alumni are a virtual ‘who’s who’ of accomplished nurses, and we know that Ruth Carrico and the other members of this new cohort will join them in doing great things. The RWJF Executive Nurse Fellows program supports nurse leaders with potential to develop innovative ways to improve health care delivery.”
“I’m thrilled by the opportunity that the Executive Nurse Fellows program offers to build my advanced leadership skills,” Carrico said. “Nursing practice is critical to addressing the problem of health care-associated infections, so I hope to have the chance to consider educational curricula and possible improvement opportunities. Participation in the program represents a once in a lifetime opportunity for leadership development.”
Executive Nurse Fellows hold senior leadership positions in health services, scientific and academic organizations, public health and community-based organizations or systems, and national professional, governmental and policy organizations. They continue in their current positions during their fellowships, and during the fellowship each develops, plans and implements a new initiative to improve health care delivery in her or his community. Carrico plans to focus her initiative on health care-associated infections.
In addition to Carrico, the other 20 RWJF Executive Nurse Fellows – selected from 138 applicants – are: