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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

URI professor’s book receives Book of the Year award

Media Contact: Dave Lavallee, 401-874-5862

KINGSTON, R.I. - February 28, 2007 - University of Rhode Island Nursing Professor Patricia Burbank, a national expert on gerontological nursing and coordinator of the URI Gerontological Clinical Nurse Specialist Program, has received a major award for her book, Vulnerable Adults: Health Care Needs and Interventions.

It was named Book of the Year for 2006 in the field of gerontological nursing by The American Journal of Nursing. The books on the Journal’s list of books of the year are usually included in university and college nursing libraries to help schools to meet accreditation criteria. The editor of the book, Burbank, also wrote some of its chapters.

Burbank, a resident of Coventry who has always enjoyed the company of older adults and the stories and wisdom they share, was pleasantly surprised by the success of the book.

“It is a very specific book that addresses a pretty narrow and small part of the older population,” she said. “I’m very honored by the award and wish to thank the other chapter authors for their excellent contributions.”

Burbank said reviewers were impressed with the book because it offers an optimistic perspective and specific strategies that health professionals and others can use to improve care, provide comfort and serve as supporters of the families.

Vulnerable Older Adults focuses on five specific groups of older adults who tend to be more at risk then the average older adult population. These groups were frail, imprisoned, homeless, those with HIV/AIDS, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender older adults. Burbank said there was a need for a book like this because “there are certain pockets of older people within the larger aging population that really are vulnerable and invisible.”

According to Burbank, the most invisible group of older adults are those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. “As people get older, they often need more services, and many people who were once out of the closet are going back in because they do not want to be denied help and services that they need,” said Burbank. “Those over 65 are very fearful of discrimination when it comes to their health needs.”

This is not the first time Burbank has been acknowledged for her work in the field of gerontology. In 2004, the John A. Hartford Foundation, which is dedicated to improving health care for older Americans, honored Burbank for helping to create a stand-alone geriatric nursing course. In 2002, Burbank was awarded a $90,000 Hartford Foundation grant to enhance geriatric education of faculty and students in the undergraduate program.


URI News Bureau photo by Michael Salerno Photography