UIC Nursing Professor Elected to Institute of Medicine

Diana Wilkie, professor and Harriet H. Werley Endowed Chair for Nursing Research at the University of Illinois at Chicago, has been elected a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences.

Wilkie is a renowned researcher whose work focuses on end-of-life, palliative care, and informatics research with an emphasis on sickle cell disease, cancer and other conditions. Among her many achievements is establishing the first National Institutes of Health-funded Center for Excellence for End-of-Life Transition Research, which has a special focus on reducing health disparities in dying infants, children, adults and older adults.

“Diana is a visionary and extraordinary scientist,” says Terri Weaver, dean of the UIC College of Nursing. “Her impressive and prodigious scholarship and research programs have been a tremendous asset to raising the profile of, and building on, the research capacity of our college, as well as the university. She is most deserving of this honor.”

Wilkie is one of 70 new members and 10 new foreign associates elected to the IOM. New members are elected by current active members through a selective process that recognizes individuals who have made major contributions to the advancement of the medical sciences, health care and public health. The new members raise the institute’s total active membership to 1,732 and the number of foreign associates to 112. An additional 84 members hold emeritus status.

Wilkie said she was excited to learn she was elected to the institute, as “there are not a lot of nurses who are members.”

“I’m happy to represent the profession,” she said. “The Institute of Medicine influences the direction of health care in the U.S., and this gives UIC one more voice in making a difference.”

UIC Chancellor Paula Allen-Meares was elected to the IOM in 2004, and Dr. Joe G. N. “Skip” Garcia, University of Illinois vice president for health affairs, was elected in 2011.

During her career, Wilkie has amassed more than $30 million in grant funding for research. Her work has been continuously funded for 26 years, with support from a variety of sources including four of the National Institutes of Health: the National Cancer Institute, National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, National Institute of Mental Health and National Institute of Nursing Research.

Wilkie has used technology to create innovative applications for clinical decision-making and clinician education. She and her colleagues developed PAINRelieveIt, a computer application that integrates guidance for clinical decisions for pain management based on evidence-based practices and multimedia education for the patient. The program is tailored to the patient’s misconceptions about pain management.

With funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Wilkie and her colleagues developed an innovative tool for evidence-based palliative care education. The Toolkit for Nurturing Excellence at End of Life Transition, or TNEEL, is now used widely throughout the world.

Wilkie joined the UIC nursing faculty in 2003. She received an associate degree in nursing from the University of Hawaii; a bachelor’s of science degree in nursing from Mesa College; and master’s of science and doctor of philosophy degrees in nursing from the University of California, San Francisco.

The IOM is the health arm of the National Academy of Sciences, which was chartered under Abraham Lincoln in 1863. Since 1970, the institute has served as an independent, non-profit organization outside of government to provide unbiased and authoritative advice to decision-makers and the public.

UIC ranks among the nation’s leading research universities and is Chicago’s largest university with 27,500 students, 12,000 faculty and staff, 15 colleges and the state’s major public medical center. A hallmark of the campus is the Great Cities Commitment, through which UIC faculty, students and staff engage with community, corporate, foundation and government partners in hundreds of programs to improve the quality of life in metropolitan areas around the world. More information about UIC.

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