Parade profiles leading nursing scholar
March 21, 2004 -- This week Parade magazine's cover story, Dianne Hales' "The Quiet Heroes," profiles six "superstars" of health care research, including Loretta Sweet Jemmott, PhD, RN, FAAN, a nursing professor at the University of Pennsylvania and a national leader in the prevention of HIV transmission.
The profile of Dr. Jemmott, "Taking Science to the Streets," describes her as "the nation's leading expert on HIV prevention in teens." It says that the "scientifically field-tested, abstinence-based programs" she and her husband John (a psychologist) have developed are used for at-risk teens around the world. The two have reportedly received more than $74 million in research grants. The piece briefly describes Dr. Jemmott's working class, West Philadelphia background, noting that after caring for pregnant teens as a young nurse, she went to graduate school and tried to find ways to "reach girls before they got pregnant."
The Center commends Parade for selecting Dr. Jemmott for one of its profiles, and for giving a fairly good brief sketch of some of her achievements. We do note that of the six profiled researchers, only the two physicians are described as "Dr. ____," though Dr. Jemmott and the others (who include professors of neurobiology, chemical and biomedical engineering, and so on) clearly have doctorates as well. In addition, though the emphasis on the practicality of Dr. Jemmott's work is fair enough and is representative of nursing research generally, the piece could have made a little more effort than the phrase "scientifically field-tested" to help readers understand that her work requires as much scholarly rigor as that of the cellular-level researchers profiled. And at least based on publicly available information, the piece's description of her work does not seem quite adequate. Her research does focus on health promotion among underserved city dwellers, especially HIV transmission, but it does not appear to be limited to teens nor promoting abstinence, instead taking a far more comprehensive approach to these critical health problems.
This is a description of the work done by the Center for Urban Health Research, which Dr. Jemmott heads, from that organization's web site:
"The Center for Urban Health Research focuses on fostering health promotion and building coalitions between Penn and its urban communities to improve health and quality of life for underserved, highly vulnerable, and ethnically diverse populations. Studies examine behaviors that determine healthy lifestyles, interventions that reduce health risks, and strategies that promote better quality of life and health, with a focus on AIDS, pregnancy, and violence prevention."
See Dianne Hales' article "The Quiet Heroes" from the March 21, 2004 issue of Parade magazine.