Public Release: 

National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship for Penn nursing professor

University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing


IMAGE: This is Cynthia A. Connolly, PhD, RN, PNP, FAAN, Associate Professor of Nursing in the Department of Family & Community Health at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing. view more

Credit: Penn Nursing

PHILADELPHIA (January 26, 2016) Cynthia A. Connolly, PhD, RN, PNP, FAAN, Associate Professor of Nursing in the Department of Family & Community Health at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing (Penn Nursing), has been awarded a fellowship from The National Endowment for the Humanities. The fellowship - one of the most prestigious in the humanities - will be used to complete her forthcoming book, Children, Drug Therapy, and Pharmaceuticals in the United States, 1906-1979.

Connolly's book will be the first history of children and drugs. It traces the development, use and marketing of pharmaceutical products for children. It is critically important to study this issue because even though almost every twentieth century law governing drug safety was enacted in response to a pediatric drug disaster, drug safety improved for adults but not for children. Connolly's research addresses this paradox.

"It is very gratifying for me to be recognized by the National Endowment for the Humanities, especially for this particular research project," said Connolly. "An historical approach allows one to bring together the history of childhood, parenting, pediatric experimentation, and scientific and technological change. It underscores the rich, novel, and significant insights that can be gained by studying the paradox of children and drug safety policy through a humanities lens."

Connolly, who holds a secondary appointment in the History and Sociology of Science department, and is also a Fellow at the Barbara Bates Center for the Study of the History of Nursing, the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics, and the Alice Paul Center for Research on Gender, Sexuality, and Women, focuses her research on analyzing the forces that have shaped children's health care delivery and family policy in the United States.

She brings to her scholarship thirty-five years of experience practicing and teaching pediatric nursing across settings and ages, from infants through adolescents. This informs her approach to teaching as does her policy experience on Capitol Hill and scholarship on the historical and political context in which children's health and social welfare policy is generated. Connolly draws on this expertise to improve the lives of children today through her appointment as one of four Faculty Directors at Penn's Field Center for Children's Policy, Practice, and Research.

Connolly's award-winning first book, Saving Sickly Children: The Tuberculosis Preventorium in American Life, 1909-1970, analyzed an early twentieth century child-focused intervention, the preventorium. This unique facility was intended to prevent tuberculosis in indigent children from families labeled irresponsible or at risk for developing the disease. Yet, it also held deeply embedded assumptions about class, race, and ethnicity. Saving Sickly Children was supported by numerous research grants, including a Scholarly Award in Biomedicine and Health from the National Library of Medicine.

Besides Connolly, only two other nurses have ever been awarded an NEH fellowship. They too are from Penn Nursing: Patricia D'Antonio, PhD, RN, FAAN, the Killebrew-Censits Term Professor in Undergraduate Education, Chair of the Department of Family and Community Health, and Director of the Barbara Bates Center for the Study of the History of Nursing; and Julie Fairman, PhD, RN, FAAN, the Nightingale Professor of Nursing and Chair of the Department of Biobehavioral Health Sciences.


Editor's Note: A high-resolution head shot of Dr. Connolly is available for publication. Please contact Ed Federico.

About the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing

The University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing is one of the world's leading schools of nursing and is ranked the #1 graduate nursing school in the United States by U.S. News & World Report. Penn Nursing is consistently among the nation's top recipients of nursing research funding from the National Institutes of Health. Penn Nursing prepares nurse scientists and nurse leaders to meet the health needs of a global society through research, education, and practice.

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