College of Nursing Researcher Dr. Leslie Ritter Receives Prestigious Presidential Award

George Humphrey
Nov. 17, 2000


Leslie Ritter, Ph.D., RN, an assistant professor at the University of Arizona College of Nursing in Tucson, is one of 59 researchers nationwide to receive the prestigious Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE).

The award, which is the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government on young professionals at the outset of their independent research careers, was presented to Dr. Ritter during a recent White House ceremony.

Ritter was nominated for the award by the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). She is principal investigator for an NINR-funded study at the UA of brain inflammation following stroke. Inflammation is known to damage the brain several hours, to days, following stroke. Ritter's study, which began in 1998, will aid in the development of optimal therapies for stroke and be useful in formulating nursing research questions related to the treatment of acute stroke. The PECASE award will be used by Ritter to further her stroke research.

"I am extremely honored to receive this award," she says. "And I'm extremely pleased that this award will provide vital support for our effort to better understand and treat this debilitating disease."

Prior to joining the UA College of Nursing in 1999, Ritter was an NIH NINR-funded post-doctoral fellow. She has a doctorate in physiological sciences, a bachelor's degree in nursing and master's degrees in nursing and exercise and sports sciences, both from the UA.

As assistant professor in the UA College of Nursing, Ritter teaches courses in the management of chronic and disabling conditions. Co-author of numerous articles, Ritter also is a member of the UA Sarver Heart Center and is a research associate in the UA neurology department.

Eight federal departments and agencies join together annually to nominate the most meritorious young scientists and engineers who will broadly advance the science and technology that will be of the greatest benefit to fulfilling the agencies' missions. These awards, established by President Clinton in February 1996, provide young scientists and engineers up to a five-year research grant to further their study in support of critical government missions.

The federal agencies involved include the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Energy, Health and Human Services, Veterans Affairs, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the National Science Foundation.

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