Carmen Giurgescu, the Chatlos Foundation endowed chair, associate dean of research and professor in UCF’s College of Nursing, is among 22 distinguished nurse researchers who will be inducted in the 2023 Sigma International Nurse Researcher Hall of Fame. The honorees will be inducted during Sigma’s International Nursing Research Congress in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, on July 22, 2023.

Sigma’s International Nurse Researcher Hall of Fame is the highest level of recognition for nurse scientists, and honors those who have achieved significant and sustained research contributions to improve the nursing profession and the people it serves.

“On behalf of the International Board of Directors, staff and membership of Sigma, it is my honor to recognize these inspiring, world-renowned nurse researchers who embody the immense collective impact of nursing and nursing research on global healthcare,” says Sigma President Kenneth Dion ’91.

For nearly two decades, Giurgescu has focused her research on identifying factors associated with the high rates of preterm birth among Black women who are nearly twice as likely to experience preterm birth compared to non-Hispanic white women. Recently, she has expanded her research to also focus on maternal morbidity and mortality among Black women who are three times more likely to die during pregnancy or within six weeks of giving birth than white women.

Her pioneering work is advancing nursing science on the impact of social determinants of health, such as neighborhood disorder and racial discrimination, on birth outcomes among Black families. This work is inspired by, and built upon, her clinical career of 15 years as a labor and delivery nurse and women’s healthcare nurse practitioner.

To date, her research has received more than $14 million in funding, including three studies funded by the National Institutes of Health that examine pathways such as inflammation and epigenetic aging by which social determinants of health increase risk for preterm birth among Black women.

“Dr. Giurgescu has a strong commitment to nursing research and has demonstrated exceptional success in scholarship and mentorship,” says Mary Lou Sole, dean of the College of Nursing. “Her innovative work applying both social determinants of health with physiological biomarkers is groundbreaking and will result in improved maternal and newborn outcomes.”

Giurgescu has championed research since joining UCF in 2019. Under her leadership as associate dean of research, the College of Nursing has increased research funding by 250 percent. The college also received funding for its first National Institutes of Health pre-doctoral and post-doctoral fellows. Additionally, as a result of her mentorship, students and junior faculty have received research funding, presented findings and published scripts in peer-reviewed journals.

Giurgescu joins 270 previously inducted nurse researchers in the Sigma International Nurse Researcher Hall of Fame, including three from UCF’s College of Nursing: Dean Mary Lou Sole, Department and Endowed Chair Mona Shattell, and Professor Emerita Karen Aroian.