MAY 26, 2006 | A professorship salutes a distinguished career, which for Kathy Richards, Ph.D., R.N., includes valuable leadership on behalf of the College of Nursing at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS).
Richards recently was named the inaugural recipient of the Alice Sun Professorship. College of Nursing Dean Linda Hodges, Ed.D., R.N., recalled at the professorship ceremony how Richards, a renowned sleep and geriatrics researcher, has elevated the college’s national profile.
Hodges noted that Richards had been the principal investigator on more than $6 million in extramural research funding, served as co-principal investigator on $12.7 million in research funding and had 47 peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters and 70 presentations at the international, national, regional and local levels.
“Lest you think Dr. Richards is all about grants, scholarly publications and presentations, I can assure you she is not,” Hodges said. “She is a dedicated and talented scientist with a drive to make patient care for the elderly, particularly those who are cognitive impaired, experience a greater quality of life by helping them with a basic need – getting a good night’s sleep.”
Richards has led ground-breaking research that is leading to solutions to sleep disorders in the elderly by designing and tailoring behavioral programs to patients individually.
Hodges said Richards is an excellent mentor and has taken the lead on projects that raised the national prestige of the College of Nursing. One of those was the work involved in securing funding for the John A. Hartford Center for Geriatric Nursing Excellence in 1999 and again in 2004. She also led efforts to gain funding for the college’s Tailored Biobehavioral Interventions Research Center.
Richards, a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing, is director of the college’s Tailored Biobehavioral Intervention Research Center. She also co-directs the John A. Hartford Center for Geriatric Nursing Excellence. She is associate director for the Health Services Research, Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center at the Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System.
Named for the late Alice An-Loh Sun, who dedicated 53 years to the nursing profession, the professorship comes with a $500,000 endowment that will help anchor Richards’ research efforts. She is one of the few nurses in the country to be certified by the American Board of Sleep Medicine and has earned the title of diplomat.
“Dr. Richards’ work has resulted in pioneering research and laid the foundation for future researchers interested in sleep with geriatric populations,” Hodges said.