Hearst Endowed Scholarship

“This scholarship has allowed to me achieve my career goals and improve my nursing leadership skills. It has also allowed me to enroll in extra elective classes...that have further helped me to become a proficient, competent, and capable AGACNP.” - 2021 Hearst Endowed Scholar

Mendoza Ruvalcaba
Cristian Mendoza Ruvalcaba, B.S.N., B.A., R.N., Hearst Endowed Scholar AY 2021-22

The Hearst Endowed Scholarship provides funding for students enrolled in Doctor of Nursing Practice programs at OHSU's School of Nursing who are in the final year of their program. All advance practice nursing students who are dedicated to the unique needs of our older adult population and improving their health and well-being are encouraged to apply.

Up to $15,000 will be awarded to qualified students.

Applications for academic year 2023-24 are due April 3, 2023 by 5:00 p.m. and are made through the School of Nursing website.


The Hearst Endowed Scholarship provides funding for students focused on gerontological advanced practice nursing and who are enrolled in the final year of study in the Doctor of Nursing Practice (D.N.P.) program at the OHSU School of Nursing.

Eligible advanced practice nursing students must have an interest in and commitment to the care of older persons, in any setting, be it acute care, primary care, long-term care or community-based care.

To learn more, please read this flier for our 2023 call for applications.

About the Hearst Endowed Scholarship

The goal of the Hearst Foundations’ Endowed Scholarship is to support clinical scholarship and prepare advanced practice nursing students in the care of older persons. As our population ages it becomes vital that nurses, the largest segment of the nation’s health care system, be trained and competent in the care of older adults.

Since 2002, over $572,000 has been awarded to 76 graduate students who are preparing to become the next generation of advanced practice nurses with expertise in the care of older adults. The Hartford Center of Gerontological Excellence is honored to steward this significant endowment.

About the Hearst Foundations

“The Hearst Foundations are national philanthropic resources for organizations working in the fields of culture, education, health, and social services. The Hearst Foundations identify and fund outstanding nonprofits to ensure that people of all backgrounds in the United States have the opportunity to build healthy, productive, and inspiring lives” with an emphasis on those providing specialized care for the complex needs of older adult populations.

The Hearst Foundations - visit their website

Hearst Endowed Scholarships Awarded for AY 2022-23

Our Hartford Center of Gerontological Excellence is pleased to announce the recipients of the Hearst Foundations’ Endowed Scholarship for AY 2022-23. These four D.N.P. students are, without exception, excellent clinicians and leaders dedicated to improving older adult patient health outcomes through person-centered care and quality improvement.

They exemplify the passion and compassion, dedication to excellence, and critical thought required of our next generation of nurse leaders.

Please join us in congratulating them!

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Tiffany Allen, M.N., R.N., PCCN-K, Family Nurse Practitioner program (FNP)

“Tiff” has been with OHSU SON for over 20 years either as a student, research assistant or faculty member, often executing more than one role at a time. Much of her work and learning has been focused on older adults and their care. Here is a list of journal articles she co-authored. As an undergraduate in 2013-14, she completed the Hartford Center’s Gerontological Nursing Honors program and, after graduation, worked at a regional access hospital in their telemetry unit and quickly took on a leadership role. Upon completion of her Masters in Nursing Science in 2018, she joined the SON as faculty.

Tiff is enrolled in our Family Nurse Practitioner program’s expansion into regional/rural Oregon. Her nursing clinical practice has been focused on complex case management in the care of older adults with heart failure. As an advanced practice RN she has worked in a regional health center to improve systems of care and her patients’ access to specialist care after acute exacerbations of heart failure.

She will be focusing her D.N.P. project on access to advanced heart failure therapies to rural and geographically isolated populations.

Jackie Webb, D.N.P., FNP-BC, RN and FNP Program Director, wrote in her Letter of Support for Allen’s scholarship, “I have no doubt that she will be able to affect social and health care policies as a DNP-FNP working with vulnerable populations. She is committed to the leadership role of the DNP-FNP… [and she] pays attention to those she works with to create effective work environments. She has the expertise to advocate for her community’s needs, address health inequities and decrease access barriers to healthcare.”

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Jennifer Ericson, B.S.N., RN, CPTC, Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner program (AGAC-NP)

In addition to a full course load in our AGAC-NP program, for the past three years, Jennifer has worked as an Organ Donation Coordinator for a local transplant bank. Here she has been fortunate to bear witness to the resilience of the human spirit and the altruism of donor families on what may be the worst day of their lives. While serving donor families, a common theme she noticed is the lack of communication regarding end-of-life wishes and how beneficial advanced care planning could have been.

It is because of her experiences she has become more appreciative of the importance of palliative care. While many believe palliative care is synonymous with hospice, palliative care is a comprehensive approach to improving quality of life by providing relief from pain, nausea, depression, difficulty sleeping, constipation and more. Many of these symptoms are experienced by older adults in combination with the symptoms of progressive illnesses such as heart failure.

She believes palliative care is uniquely situated to be integrated with heart failure treatment to improve management of the high symptom burden experienced.

For her DNP project, she would like to implement a screening tool for patients with heart failure that would aid providers in evaluating the patient’s readiness for referral to palliative care for more advanced symptom management. This screening tool would help overcome barriers to palliative care such as the mistaken belief that it is only for those at end-of-life, or that the patients are “too healthy” for referral.

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Coleen Ju, B.S.N., RN, FNP program

After completing the Accelerated Bachelor of Science nursing program at OHSU, Coleen soon began working as a hospice nurse; work that only further inspired her desire to care for older adults. She is focused on holistic, patient-centered care; care where needs are heard, wishes are honored and respect is given to the variety of ways in which people envision the last moments of their lives.  

In her thank you letter to the Hearst Foundations, who fund this endowed scholarship, she wrote, “As I quickly approach my last year in the DNP – Family Nurse Practitioner program, I take with me all the beautiful lessons I have gained while working with older adults. Unfortunately, geriatric care continues to see a great lack of providers and as a future FNP, I hope to play a role in filling that gap.”

“Coleen is focusing her DNP project on addressing the clinical problem of assessing safety concerns in older adult drivers. She recently submitted a benchmark paper on this topic, completing a literature review and noting that this is an area often overlooked in primary care due to a variety of barriers and rationales. She plans to focus on provider education to teach evidence-based practices to improve patient outcomes concerning older adult driving safety (M. W. McKimmy, D.N.P., FNP-C, APRN, personal communication, March 21, 2022).”

Coleen closed her thank you letter with, “A person’s later years are often full of exciting change and I am eager to work with these individuals through both the positive and negative changes”.

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Brianna Shilling, B.S.N, RN, AGAC-NP program        

Inspired by the values informed by her upbringing and personal experience, Brianna’s career in healthcare began over ten years ago when she volunteered with nurses to support patient care. She recognized that she wanted to pursue a profession where compassion was an integral part of her daily practice.

To attain her doctorate in Adult-Gerontology Acute Care and to practice as a nurse practitioner will present her with opportunities for leadership, work as faculty in nursing education and in clinical settings, and service to her community. Her compassionate, clinical competencies in acute and chronic disease management hold great promise for the older adults who come under her care. 

Brianna is developing her DNP project with OHSU’s orthopedic trauma surgery team. She is in the initial stages of designing an evidence-based, clinical pathway to identify and address frailty in geriatric patients to prevent adverse outcomes such as prolonged length of stay, increased risk of admission, loss of independence and treatment plan non-compliance.

In addition to the development of her doctoral project and being immersed in clinical rotations and upper-level disease and symptom management course work, she maintains part-time employment at a hospital in the greater Portland region. With her remaining time, she volunteers in community wellness clinics to provide care for individuals struggling with the effects of the COVID pandemic. She wrote, “Through this incredibly challenging time, I feel the most beneficial thing we can do is continue to invest in our community and support those around us.”

She believes that her practice will help meet the demand our nation faces to provide transformative, evidence-based care to our growing population of older adults.