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Leah Vota Cunningham, MNEd, MEd, RN

Clinical Assistant Professor
School of Nursing
Nursing

Fisher Hall 530
Phone: 412.396.6383

Education:

MNEd, Nursing, University of Pittsburgh, 1976
MEd, Counseling, Duquesne University, 1973
BSN, Nursing, Duquesne University, 1970
Bio

As a nurse educator and administrator at Duquesne for over 25 years, Mrs. Cunningham has assumed various positions from clinical instructor, clinical coordinator, and chair, to her current position as Assistant Dean for Student Services.  Her career as a nurse educator includes diploma and RN-BSN education prior to beginning her position at Duquesne in 1987. Her nursing career includes experience in medical surgical and public health nursing, as well as hospice and palliative care nursing. In 2002, she received certification as an ELNEC trainer. 

Mrs. Cunningham's interest in global health and nursing and has resulted in travel to Nicaragua over 25 times since 1995 to lead student community health nursing experiences as well as teaching, academic consulting, and conducting research with nursing faculty from the Universidad Politecnica de Nicaragua (UPOLI) School of Nursing.  This annual student trip to Nicaragua has become a much sought after experience by Duquesne nursing students.  Her international consultation has included general curriculum development with schools of nursing in Nicaragua, curricular integration of women's health throughout the lifespan and, more recently,  academic support initiatives for students.  She served as co-investigator with Dr. Joan Lockhart  for a participatory action study on early detection and screening of breast and cervical cancer in low-income Nicaraguan women as well as several ethnographic health belief studies.  Leah has been instrumental in the development of a successful school of nursing partnership agreement between UPOLI and Duquesne and has promoted several ongoing initiatives involving online consultation and research initiatives between Duquesne and UPOLI faculty. 

As Assistant Dean of Student Services, Mrs. Cunningham has been instrumental in the growth of the student services office where she leads an outstanding staff who support the expanding enrollment in the School of Nursing.  Her interest in student academic support and coaching and the development of an academic  success initiative within the School of Nursing has resulted in increased student persistence,  retention and success.  She is recognized by students and faculty for her sincere care and concern for, and advocacy of, students.

She has actively sought and received a variety of educational funding for students and has served as principal investigator since 2003 for the HRSA Nurse Faculty Loan Program (NFLP) Grant.  NFLP funding has increased annually with the most recent award totaling over $700,000.00.  As co-PI of the Robert Wood Johnson New Careers in Nursing Grant Program for which the School of Nursing has received scholarships for a number of underrepresented students, she has been instrumental in the integration of the RWJF-NCIN Pre-Immersion Program module in addition to the mentoring and leadership development modules required for all grant recipients. 

Mrs. Cunningham earned a BSN and MEd from Duquesne University; a MNEd from the University of Pittsburgh, and has completed doctoral coursework at the University of Pittsburgh in higher education administration.


Research

Understand the Meaning of Mental Health and Illness in an Urban Nicaraguan Community: An Ethnography". Co-investigator with R. Zoucha. American Psychiatric Nurses Foundation, July 1, 2008 - December 30, 2009. $5000.

Implementation of a Nurse-managed Community-Based Breast and cervical Cancer health Program for Underserved High-risk Women in Villa Libertad, Managua, Nicaragua. Co-investigator - J. Lockhart. 2002-2003. $50,000.

Health Beliefs of Nicaraguan Women of Childbearing Age. Principal Investigator with L. Resick. Sigma Theta Tau Research Award, June 1999. $500


Scholarship

 U.S. Information Agency (USIA).  Academic Specialist Grant, L.V. George and J. S. Lockhart, Curriculum Development, Universidad Politecnica de Nicaragua School of Nursing, July 1996, $2000.

HRSA Nurse Faculty Loan Program:

 2011-2012:   Department of Health & Human Services Health Resources and  Services Administration, 2010-2011 Nurse Faculty Loan Program Grant, L. Cunningham. Awarded $655,716..

2010-2011:    Department of Health & Human Services Health Resources and  Services Administration, 2010-2011 Nurse Faculty Loan Program Grant, L. Cunningham. Awarded $543,047.

2010-2011:    Department of Health & Human Services Health Resources and  Services Administration, American Recovery and Re-investment  Act of 2009, 2010-2011 NFLP-ARRA Program Grant, L. Cunningham. Awarded $102,094.

2009-2010:    Department of Health & Human Services Health Resources and  Services Administration, 2009-2010 Nurse Faculty Loan Program Grant, L. Cunningham. Awarded $302,052.

2008-2009:    Department of Health & Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration, 2008-2009 Nurse Faculty Loan Program Grant, L. Cunningham. Awarded $96,286.

2007-2008:     Department of Health & Human Services Health Resources and Services          Administration, 2007-2008 Nurse Faculty Loan Program Grant, L. Cunningham. Awarded $65,085.

2006-2007:     Department of Health & Human Services Health Resources and Services  Administration, 2006-2007 Nurse Faculty Loan Program Grant, L. Cunningham. Awarded $63,084

2005-2006:    Department of Health & Human Services Health Resources and Services   Administration, 2005-2006 Nurse Faculty Loan Program Grant, L. Cunningham. Awarded $109,664.

2004-2005:    Department of Health & Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration, 2004-2005 Nurse Faculty Loan Program Grant, L. Cunningham. Awarded $95, 690. 

2003-2004:    Department of Health & Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration, 2004 Nurse Faculty Loan Program Grant, L. Cunningham. Awarded $42,536.

2002-2003:    Department of Health & Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration, 2003 Nurse Faculty Loan Program Grant, L. Cunningham. Awarded $95,690.00.

 

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

2008-2009:      Robert Wood Johnson New Careers in Nursing (RWJ-NCIN) Scholarship Program, J. Lockhart and L.Cunningham.  Awarded $100,000.

 

2009-2010:    Robert Wood Johnson New Careers in Nursing (RWJ-NCIN) Scholarship Program, J. Lockhart and L.Cunningham.  Awarded $150,000.

 

Pennsylvania Higher Education Foundation Awards:

 2010-2011:    The Pennsylvania Higher Education Foundation 2009-2010 Nursing Education Grant, L. Cunningham. Awarded  $58,587.

2009-2010:    The Pennsylvania Higher Education Foundation 2009-2010 Nursing Education Grant, L. Cunningham. Awarded  $72,223.

The Pennsylvania Higher Education Foundation 2009 Graduate Nurse Educator Grant, L. Cunningham. Awarded $56,477.

2008-2009:     The Pennsylvania Higher Education Foundation 2008-2009 Nursing Education Grant, L. Cunningham. Awarded  $140,000.

The Pennsylvania Higher Education Foundation 2008 Graduate Nurse Educator Grant, L. Cunningham. Awarded $75,711.

The Pennsylvania Higher Education Foundation 2009 Edna McKenzie   Scholarship for Disadvantaged Students. L. Cunningham. Awarded $8,547.

2007-2008:   The Pennsylvania Higher Education Foundation 2007-2008 Nursing Education Grant,. L. Cunningham. Awarded $107,000. 

The Pennsylvania Higher Education Foundation 2007 Graduate Nurse Educator Grant, L. Cunningham. Awarded $72,164.

The Pennsylvania Higher Education Foundation, 2008 Edna McKenzie Scholarship for Disadvantaged Students. L. Cunningham. Awarded $10,310.

2006-2007:  The Pennsylvania Higher Education Foundation 2006-2007 Nursing Education Grant, L. Cunningham. Awarded $178,000. 

The Pennsylvania Higher Education Foundation 2006 Graduate   Nurse Educator Grant, L. Cunningham. Awarded $79,300. 

The Pennsylvania Higher Education Foundation, 2007 Edna McKenzie Scholarship for Disadvantaged Students. L. Cunningham. Awarded $9,615.

2005-2006:   The Pennsylvania Higher Education Foundation 2005-2006 Nursing   Education Grant, L. Cunningham. Awarded $93,000.

The Pennsylvania Higher Education Foundation 2005 Graduate   Nurse Educator Grant, L. Cunningham. Awarded $150,830.

The Pennsylvania Higher Education Foundation, 2006 Edna McKenzie Scholarship for Disadvantaged Students. L. Cunningham. Awarded $8,600.

2004-2005: The Pennsylvania Higher Education Foundation 2004-2005 Nursing   Education Grant, L. Cunningham. Awarded $54,000. 

2003-2004:      The Pennsylvania Higher Education Foundation 2003-2004 Nursing Education Grant, L. Cunningham. Awarded $65,000.

 


Honors/Awards

2013 Cameos of Caring Nurse Educator Award