Elizabeth Merwin
Ann Henshaw Gardiner Professor of Nursing in the School of Nursing

Elizabeth (Beth) Merwin, PhD, RN, FAAN, is the Ann Henshaw Gardiner Professor of Nursing and Executive Vice-Dean at Duke University School of Nursing. As the School’s first Executive Vice-Dean, she provides senior leadership for the School of Nursing, with direct responsibility for the three divisions of faculty and for academic affairs. Dr. Merwin previously served as the Madge M. Jones Professor of Nursing and associate dean for research at the University of Virginia (UVA) School of Nursing, and was a former specialty coordinator for the UVA School of Nursing's Health Systems Management (HSM) concentration and the nursing component of the HSM/MBA program. She has built a distinguished administrative career both in academia and in health care delivery systems, and has been recognized nationally for innovative academic initiatives.

Dr. Merwin earned a PhD in Health Services Organization and Research in 1988 and an MS in Nursing in 1979, both from Virginia Commonwealth University. She received a BS in Nursing from Radford College in 1976. Her nursing and healthcare delivery research, supported by NIH, NIMH, and NINR, has focused on improving care for underserved and rural populations, particularly those in rural communities and minority populations. She is a methodological expert in the use of secondary data to address health care problems. Dr. Merwin was elected to the American Academy of Nursing in 1994, and in 2008 she received the Distinguished Professor Award from the School of Nursing of the University of Virginia, she received the Outstanding Alumni Award from the School of Nursing at Radford University in 2013 and she received the 2018 Distinguished Contributions to Nursing Science award from the Duke University School of Nursing.  She taught a course in Health Services Research as a visiting professor at The University of Hong Kong, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, Department of Nursing Studies in 2011, 2013, 2015 and 2017.

Dr. Merwin is currently a Professor and Executive Vice-Dean of the Duke University School of Nursing. She is an accomplished nursing and health services researcher whose work has focused on improving care for underserved and rural populations, particularly those in rural communities and minority populations. With consistent funding from NIH and other agencies over the last 25 years, improving access and outcomes of care has been the focus of her research program, particularly for rural, mental health, impoverished and/or minority populations. While at UVA, she conducted a NIH R01 funded study on Shortages of Health Professionals and was the principal investigator of a NIH/NINR funded P20 Rural Health Care Research Center. She is a methodological expert in the use of secondary data to address health care problems, often conducting studies on shortages of health professionals.  Dr. Merwin was previously the Madge M. Jones Professor of Nursing and Associate Dean for Research at UVA, School of Nursing. At UVA, she was the Principal Investigator and Director of the Rural Health Care Research Center (RHCRC), funded by the National Institute of Nursing Research. In 2008, she served as volume editor for the Annual Review of Nursing Research: Focus on Rural Health. She is a prior president of the Rural Nurse Organization. She served as a standing review committee member for AHRQ’s Health Systems Research review committee for five years ending in 2012 and more recently, in 2018, completed a four year term as a Scientific Reviewer on AHRQ's Healthcare Research Training (HCRT) standing study section

Dr. Merwin’s primary area of research focuses on improving care and health outcomes for underserved populations including those residing in rural areas, the mentally ill, those impoverished and/or minority populations. Dr. Merwin has particular interest in reducing health disparities, in reducing shortages of health professionals in rural and underserved areas and in identifying strategies to increase the diversity within the health. Currently she is Multiple PI (contact PI) for a four year, NIH funded R01 study of the nation’s Medicare population on Reducing Health Disparities for SMI, Rural and Minorities which includes multiple, national large Medicare datasets and creates trajectories of care over a 14-year period of time. This study focuses on special populations enrolled in Medicare including the Seriously Mentally-Ill, Rural Residents, Minority Populations and the Disabled.  It utilizes the nation’s Medicare data with a nationally representative sample and is funded by the National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities, National Institutes of Health.

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