Head shot of College of Graduate Nursing alumna Lisa Roberts

CGN alumna Lisa Roberts, DrPH, MSN, RN, FNP-BC, CHES, FAANP

Western University of Health Sciences College of Graduate Nursing alumna Lisa Roberts, DrPH, MSN, RN, FNP-BC, CHES, FAANP, earned a Fulbright-Nehru Academic and Professional Excellence award, which will combine collaborative teaching and research efforts in India.

Roberts, a 2001 graduate of CGN’s Master of Science in Nursing/Family Nurse Practitioner program, is research director and a professor at Loma Linda University School of Nursing. Her project is titled “Constructing collaborative partnerships through teaching and research capacity building.”

During the Fulbright-Nehru grant period, Roberts is combining teaching at Christian Medical College, Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India and collaborative research addressing the health impact on Indian women facing challenges of globalization and urbanization.

She will lead a collaborative, mixed-method descriptive study to explore how globalization and urbanization, causing rapid changes in Indian society, are affecting poor urban women facing intersectional challenges. This study will provide research exposure and hands-on engagement for College of Nursing-CMC, Vellore students.

Women from rural village areas, which are quite traditional, migrate with their husbands or families to urban areas in search of work and the promise of a better life, Roberts said. There they are often expected to maintain traditional values at home while also navigating the work world outside of the home with all its non-traditional influences.

“An intersectional lens helps us understand the tensions such a situation creates, on top of other life challenges. Unfortunately, these women are at higher risk for mental health issues such as anxiety and depression,” Roberts said. “Mental health in the Indian social context is highly stigmatized, which is compounded by a lack of mental health professionals. Therefore, research is important to gauge feasibility and acceptability of innovative solutions that are self-help, community based programs which overcome the barriers of stigma and are also sustainable. Nurses are the most prevalent health care providers and have public health knowledge, positioning them as key individuals to provide training and oversight of such programs.”

The research portion of the Fulbright is informed by Roberts’ prior work in India, as well as the research she has conducted in California among Asian Indian immigrants. Her project is scheduled to begin in January 2021 and thus far has not been rescheduled due to COVID-19.