Ladda Thiamwong, associate professor in UCF’s College of Nursing, is one of 253 distinguished nurse leaders — and among four in Florida — who have been named to the 2023 class of fellows by the American Academy of Nursing.

The prestigious honor recognizes substantial, sustained and outstanding impact on health and healthcare. This year’s inductees, which represent 40 states, the District of Columbia, and 13 countries, will be recognized during the Academy’s annual Health Policy Conference in October in Washington, D.C.

“This year’s group of inductees truly represents today’s thought leaders and the diversity of our profession’s policy leaders, practitioners, educators, and innovators,” says Kenneth White, president of the American Academy of Nursing in a statement. “Each fellow of the academy is changing the future of health and healthcare through their support to advance equity, promote inclusion, and lift up the next generation of nurses, advancing the academy’s vision of healthy lives for all people.”

A nationally recognized expert on aging, Thiamwong has made significant contributions to promote healthy aging and reduce health inequalities. She developed the Healthy Aging Instrument to assess processes involved in healthy aging, which has been used in research institutions in nine countries.

Her pioneering research focuses on fall prevention using innovative technology framed on the mind and body connection. Falls are the second leading cause of injury and death worldwide among older adults, and disproportionately impact low-income communities.

Thiamwong has been recently awarded more than $6 million in funding for her research. One of her studies was the first in the nation to examine the associations among fall risk appraisal, body composition and physical activity using assistive health technology and activity monitoring devices.

Currently, she is leading an interdisciplinary team of UCF researchers on a $2.3 million project funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to conduct a large-scale pilot of the team’s innovative intervention that seeks to prevent falls in low-income senior communities.

“Through her research and international collaborations, Dr. Thiamwong has made a substantial impact in the area of fall prevention in ethnically diverse, older adults, with a focus of those who reside in the community and have limited access to resources,” says Mary Lou Sole, dean of UCF’s College of Nursing.

In addition to her research, Thiamwong is committed to advocating for older adults and actively engaged in community service. Most recently, she has served on the City of Orlando Mayor’s Committee on Livability and Healthy Aging, chairs the Aging/Gerontology Research Interest and Implementation Group of the Southern Nursing Research Society, and is a member of both the NIH Health Promotion in Communities and the Community Influences on Health Behavior study sections.

Thiamwong has received several awards for her contributions to the field, including a Catalyst Award from the U.S. National Academy of Medicine Healthy Longevity Global Grand Challenge, the Distinguished Educator in Gerontological Nursing Award from the National Hartford Center of Gerontological Nursing Excellence, and the Excellence in Geriatric Nursing Research Mid-Career Award from the Aging/Gerontology Research Interest and Implementation Group of the Southern Nursing Research Society.