Nursing researcher named to international hall of fame

Tonda Hughes

Nursing researcher Tonda Hughes studies health risks for sexual-minority women, “one of the most stigmatized groups,” she says. Photo: Jenny Fontaine/UIC Public Affairs


College of Nursing professor Tonda Hughes, an internationally known researcher on sexual-minority women’s health and substance use, was inducted into the Nurse Researcher Hall of Fame.

Hughes is one of 19 researchers from around the world selected for the award from Sigma Theta Tau International, the honor society of nursing. She was honored at the organization’s meeting in Puerto Rico last month.

“In addition to this being a tremendous accolade for me personally, I am gratified that this prestigious body of nurse-scientists recognizes the importance of research with sexual-minority women, one of the most stigmatized groups throughout the world’s populations,” Hughes said.

Over the past 25 years, Hughes has received more than $20 million in grants to study health issues in this population, identified as greatly understudied by the Institute of Medicine.

“Compared to heterosexual women, sexual-minority women have been shown to be at higher risk for a number of unsafe health behaviors and negative health outcomes, such as overweight/obesity, smoking, heavy/hazardous alcohol use — all of which are assumed to be associated with stress arising from stigma and discrimination,” Hughes said.

Hughes has been a consultant in the U.S., Canada, India, Rwanda, South Africa, South Korea, Thailand, Australia and New Zealand. Her publications include four edited books and journals and more than 150 scholarly papers. Her first book, Addiction in the Nursing Profession, won the American Journal of Nursing Book of the Year award.

Hughes is an honorary professor in nursing at two Australian universities, University of Technology-Sydney and Deakin University. Other honors include the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame and the Betty Ford Award from the Association of Medication Education and Research in Substance Abuse.


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