New Investigator Award

The Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association New Investigator Award recognizes the work of an individual in the beginning of his or her research career who has done quality research which can be a pilot or preliminary study that focused on clinical care, professional development, or advancement of palliative nursing. Nominations will be screened by the HPNA Research Advisory Council who will make recommendations to the HPNA Board of Directors for approval.  


  • First author of a high-quality research article.
  • Has been the principal investigator for a study focused on clinical care, professional development, or the advancement of palliative nursing.
  • Be an HPNA member.
  • Be a nurse.
  • Doctoral degree or finished post-doctoral studies within the past five years.  

Award Nomination Form

New Investigator Award Recipients

2020 - Joan Carpenter, PhD, GNP-BC, NP-C, CRNP, ACHPN, FPCN

Dr. Carpenter is a research associate at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, a health scientist at the Corporal Michael J. Crescenz Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Philadelphia, and a palliative care nurse practitioner at Coastal Hospice and Palliative Care. 

Her program of research is specifically focused on the development and implementation of palliative care interventions for adults with serious illness in nursing homes. She has authored over 20 peer reviewed articles and six book chapters and has presented her research findings at numerous national and international conferences. Since 2011, her research has been funded by both federal agencies and private foundations, including the National Institute of Nursing Research, the Rita and Alex Hillman Foundation Serious Illness and End-of-Life Emergent Innovation Program, and The John A. Hartford Foundation. 

Dr. Carpenter has been honored throughout her career and has received numerous awards, including the ACHPN of the Year honor from HPCC, and the HPNF Individual Education Scholarship grant. 

She is actively involved with HPNA. She served as co-chair of Case Submissions for the Annual Assembly, she's a member of the Research Agenda Task Force and the Research Advisory Council, and she is a manuscript reviewer for the Journal of Hospice and Palliative Nursing. Dr. Carpenter previously co-chaired the Emerging Research Scholars Special Interest Group and was chair of the Exam Development Committee for the National Board for Certification of Hospice and Palliative Nursing Assistants. She was designated an HPNA research scholar in 2015 and 2016 and received her Fellow in Palliative Care Nursing designation in 2018. 

2019 - Megan Pfitzinger Lippe, PhD, RN

Dr. Lippe is an assistant professor and simulation specialist at the University of Alabama Capstone College of Nursing, where she is also a current Learning in Action Fellow. As the author of more than a dozen peer-reviewed scholarly manuscripts, mostly focused on palliative care education, Dr. Lippe is well-respected in the field. She has obtained $100,000 in grant funding to conduct research in palliative care and education and was the recipient of the 2017 End of Life Nursing Education Consortium award. She has been an active member of HPNA as well as the Central Alabama Chapter and was a recent reviewer for the Hospice and Palliative Nurses Foundation conference scholarship.  

2018 - Stephanie Gilbertson-White, PhD, APRN-BC

Dr. Gilbertson-White serves as Assistant Professor at the University of Iowa College of Nursing and is a palliative care advanced practice nurse at the University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics. She has authored nearly 20 scientific publications on developing and testing a symptom self-management intervention for patients with advanced cancer living in rural areas. She also has focused on identifying the psychological and biological factors associated with an increased risk of developing distressing symptoms in patients with advanced cancer.

Dr. Gilbertson-White was awarded the National Palliative Care Research Center Junior Facility Career Development award and the prestigious Sigma Theta Tau International award and the Hospice and Palliative Nurses Foundation End of Life Nursing Care Research grant. She has been an active member of HPNA and has served on the Research Advisory Council and the Annual Assembly Scientific Committee.

2017 - J. Nicholas Dionne-Odom, PhD, RN, ACHPN

Dr. Dionne-Odom is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) School of Nursing in Birmingham, AL. In just three years since earning his PhD from Boston College, he has accumulated nearly 30 peer-reviewed publications, presented at more than 30 conferences, and received grants totaling over $1 million from the National Institutes of Nursing Research, National Cancer Institute, National Palliative Care Research Center, and the UAB Center for Palliative and Supportive Care. He is currently funded by a five-year K99/R00 Pathway to Independence Award from the National Institute of Nursing Research.

He has received numerous prestigious awards including UAB’s Most Esteemed Postdoc of the Year, UAB’s John R. Durant Award for Excellence in Cancer Research, and the Boston College William F. Connell School of Nursing Distinguished Dissertation Award.  Dr. Dionne-Odom was the lead author of the randomized trial outcomes of an early palliative care support intervention for advanced cancer family caregivers called ENABLE, published in 2015 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, the demonstrated the profound positive impact that early palliative care can have on family caregivers.  The study was cited by the American Society of Clinical Oncology as one of 2015’s top advances in clinical cancer research. Dr. Dionne-Odom has been the co-lead for the last three years at the annual State of the Science Plenary Session for the AAHPM/HPNA Annual Assembly. 

2015 - Lisa Lindley, PhD, RN

Lisa Lindley is an Assistant Professor at the University of Tennessee College of Nursing. Dr. Lindley’s education includes a BSN from St. Catherine’s University, an MBA from the University of Wisconsin–Madison, and a PhD in Nursing from the University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill School of Nursing. She is the 2015 recipient of the HPNA New Investigator Award. As a health services and policy researcher, Dr. Lindley’s research focuses on access, cost, and quality of pediatric hospice care. She was recently awarded a Mentored Research Scientist Development Award (K01) from NINR for the study, An Examination of Hospice Use Among Children. In addition, she received federal funding during her doctoral program from NINR (T32) and AHRQ (R36).

Dr. Lindley has authored and coauthored more than 20 pediatric hospice care studies published in peer-reviewed journals, including the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management and American Journal of Hospice and Palliative Medicine. She is a reviewer for the Journal of International and Interdisciplinary Business Research, Nursing Economics, and Health Care Management Review. Dr. Lindley serves on several national and local hospice and palliative care committees that advance nursing research and practice. 

2014 - Lynn Reinke, PhD, ANRP

For her research focusing on the delivery of end-of-life care for patients with advanced, life-limiting illnesses, particularly COPD and lung cancer, her experience and initiative recruiting patients for clinical trials and observational studies, and her recent completion of an NRI-funded pilot study assessing the palliative care needs of Veterans newly diagnosed with lung cancer, the 2014 recipient is Lynn Reinke, PhD, ANRP. 

Dr. Reinke is a clinical assistant professor in the School of Nursing’s department of Biobehavioral Nursing and Health Systems at the University of Washington. She is a Principal Investigator in Health Services Research and Development in the department of VA Puget Sound Health Care System. Her research focuses on the capacity of the VA to meet the needs of veterans recently diagnosed with lung cancer. While identifying several unmet physical and psychosocial needs of these patients, her recent work has also unmasked a need to integrate outpatient palliative care services for these veterans and their informal caregivers. 

2012 - Karen Kehl, PhD, RN, ACHPN, FPCN

Dr. Kehl has held positions in palliative care and hospices since 1989. She was the 2009 recipient of the Hospice and Palliative Nurses Foundation Certification Grant, a College of Palliative Care Research Scholar in 2008-2009 and received recognition as a KL2 Scholar, Clinical and Translational Science Award at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Additionally, as an HPNA member volunteer, Dr. Kehl is a current reviewer for the Journal of Hospice and Palliative Nursing (JHPN) and the Journal of Palliative Medicine (JPM) journals and serves as a member of the Scientific Sub-committee for the AAHPM/HPNA Annual Assembly (2007-2011).

Additionally, Dr. Kehl has received funding from the National Center for Research Resources, National Institutes of Health from 2007-2011. Dr. Kehl’s many years of experience as both a clinician and an educator are generating new and exciting research ideas in the field of hospice and palliative nursing care. Dr. Kehl is currently an Assistant Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Nursing in Madison, Wisconsin. 

2011 - Terrah L. Foster, PhD, RN, CPNP

Terrah L. Foster, PhD RN CPNP, is an Assistant Professor at the Vanderbilt University (VU) School of Nursing in Nashville, Tennessee. Dr. Foster completed her Bachelor of Science at Jacksonville State University (1999) and her Master of Science in Nursing at VU (2001). After gaining several years of experience as a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, she continued her education and completed her PhD in Nursing Science at VU (2008).

Her research interests include pediatric palliative care, particularly legacy-making and continuing bonds in children living with life-threatening conditions and their families. Dr. Foster has published her work in Death Studies, Journal of Palliative and Supportive Care, Journal of Pediatric Oncology Nursing, Journal of Palliative Nursing, and Journal of Hospice and Palliative Nursing. She has been recognized for her scholarly activities with several awards such as the International Palliative Medicine Symposium Outstanding Poster Award and the Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association Outstanding Research Abstract Award. She was named a College of Palliative Care Research Scholar by the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine. Dr. Foster is also actively involved in her community, serving as a volunteer with international medical organizations to assist underserved children and families. 

2010 - Maryjo Prince-Paul, PhD, APRN, ACHPN

Dr. Prince-Paul is a Postdoctoral Fellow at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. This is a National Institutes of Health/National Cancer Institute Prevention Research Education Post-Doctoral Training Program (PREP) position, considered to be a highly competitive position that speaks to her commitment to a research career. Extending her research beyond the postdoctoral dissertation, Dr. Prince Paul was recently awarded a grant from the Fetzer Institute as co-investigator on a study of “The Role of Forgiveness in End-of-Life Care and Bereavement”.

Dr. Prince-Paul’s education includes Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in nursing from Wright State University and Case Western Reserve University, Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing. Currently, she is an Assistant Professor at Case Western Reserve University and Research Assistant at the Hospice Institute, Hospice of the Western Reserve in Cleveland, Ohio. With 7 publications in peer reviewed journals, Dr. Prince-Paul recently co-authored a chapter in the Textbook of Palliative Care, 3rd Ed., Oxford University Press (2010). She has an extensive record of presentations at national conferences and co-chaired both the 2008 and the 2009 AAHPM/HPNA Annual Assembly. 

2009 - Anne M. Hughes, PhD, RN, FAAN

Dr. Hughes’s research, “Meaning and Experiences of Dignity to Urban Poor with Advanced Cancer”, is a focus on dignity in the urban poor with advanced disease. Currently, she is an advanced practice nurse in palliative care at Laguna Honda Hospital and Rehabilitation Center and an Associate Clinical Professor in Nursing in the Department of Physiological Nursing at University of California San Francisco. A 2007 graduate of the University of California San Francisco, Dr. Hughes received the 2008 Oncology Nursing Society Excellence in Cancer Nursing Research Award as well as the University California San Francisco Distinguished Dissertation of the Year for 2007. 

2007 - Garrett Chan, PhD, APRN, BC-PCM, CEN 

Dr. Chan is Assistant Clinical Professor and faculty in the Critical Care/Trauma Graduate Program at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) School of Nursing. His doctoral dissertation examined an area of end of life care often overlooked: the experiences of critically and terminally ill patients, their family members, and health care professionals in emergency department situations. His work has led to a greater understanding of how palliative care may be integrated into emergency nursing and medicine practices.

Dr. Chan has received funding for his research from the Emergency Nurses Association Foundation and Sigma Theta Tau International, Alpha Eta Chapter. He has published his research in Academic Emergency Medicine and Nursing Philosophy, with other articles under review in the Journal of Palliative Medicine and American Journal of Hospice and Palliative Medicine. At UCSF, he teaches classes which help prepare future advanced practice nurses. He received his PhD in Nursing from UCSF in 2005. 

2006 - Amy O. Calvin, PhD, RN

Amy Calvin, PhD, RN, is the first winner of this award. Dr. Calvin has served as the Palliative Care Nurse Researcher at St Luke’s Episcopal Hospital in Houston, Texas as an assistant professor in the Department of Acute and Continuing Care at the University Of Texas School of Nursing at Houston. She collaborated with Dr. Porter Storey to write the protocol for the Use of Oxycodone Hydrochloride for Dyspnea In Patients With Advanced Heart Failure and recently conducted a study titled “The Neuroscience Nurse’s Experience With End-of-Life Care.” She is currently leading the Palliative Care Team’s study entitled “Use of the Edmonton Symptom Assessment Scale by Patients Admitted to an Acute Palliative Care Service.”