UIC researcher inducted into nursing hall of fame

University of Illinois at Chicago professor Tonda Hughes will be one of 19 nurse-researchers inducted into the Nurse Researcher Hall of Fame of the Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International.

Tonda Hughes, professor of health systems science and associate dean of Global Health, UIC College of Nursing. Photo: Alicia McConnell Hatch/UIC College of Nursing

Tonda Hughes, professor of health systems science and associate dean of Global Health, UIC College of Nursing. Photo: Alicia McConnell Hatch/UIC College of Nursing

Fewer than 100 nurses worldwide have earned this distinction.

The ceremony will be held July 25 at Sigma Theta Tau’s 26th International Nursing Research Congress in Puerto Rico. Researchers from the United States, Australia, Belgium and Canada will be honored.

Hughes is an internationally recognized researcher on sexual-minority women’s health and substance use. Over the past 25 years she has received more than $20 million in grants to study health issues of this population.

“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.

She was among the first researchers to draw major funding for research with sexual-minority women, a population the Institute of Medicine has identified as greatly understudied.

“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 served as a consultant to numerous federal agencies and institutes and to researchers 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 holds honorary professor appointments at the University of Technology-Sydney’s Faculty of Nursing and Deakin University’s School of Nursing and Midwifery, both in Australia. She has received numerous honors and awards for her scholarly work and research, including being named a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing in 2001 and induction into the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame and the University of Kentucky College of Nursing Hall of Fame in 2003 and 2011, respectively. She received the Distinguished Contribution Award from the Midwest Nursing Research Society and the first UIC College of Nursing Distinguished Researcher Award in 2014. Most recently, she received the Betty Ford Award from the Association of Medication Education and Research in Substance Abuse.

Sigma Theta Tau International’s Hall of Fame, created in 2010, recognizes nurse-researchers who have achieved significant and sustained national or international recognition and whose research has improved the profession and the people it serves.

“These 19 honorees have achieved life-changing results through their research,” said Hester C. Klopper, Sigma Theta Tau International’s president. “In keeping with the STTI mission to celebrate nursing excellence in scholarship, leadership, and service, I congratulate the 2015 Nurse Researcher Hall of Fame honorees.”

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