Dawn Bounds, assistant professor at the UCI Sue & Bill Gross School of Nursing

Dawn Bounds, assistant professor at the UCI Sue & Bill Gross School of Nursing. Steve Zylius/UCI

Assistant Professor Dawn Bounds will be honored with the Nursing Research Award at the 38th annual Athalie R. Clarke Achievement Awards Ceremony.

Bounds’s research centers around creating interventions to support adolescents who have had adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and their caregivers, particularly those with minimal resources and who live in difficult environments that may include violence and drug abuse. Her inclusion of caregivers is an important aspect of her work.

“Instead of pointing the finger at the caregiver, why not give the caregiver the intervention as well?” she asks.

Building resilience, relationships and buffers

One of her studies in her lab, Garnering Resilience in Traumatized Youth and Families (GRIT), is an intervention designed to build coping skills and resilience by strengthening those relationships and creating a buffer around adolescents.

“The biggest buffer for young people is having a supportive adult in their life, having somebody that nurtures them and is invested in their development.”

Such a buffer, Bounds says, can lessen the impact of ACEs, which are associated with a number of health problems later in life.

This summer, GRIT will recruit 20 adolescent/caregiver pairs to study the intervention. Eventually, Bounds hopes to receive national funding for a larger study to which primary care providers can refer patients with a high number of adverse childhood experiences.

A far-reaching impact

“Dr. Bounds’s innovative research has positively impacted hundreds of families,” says Founding Dean and Distinguished Professor Adey Nyamathi, ANP, PhD, FAAN.

“She has given so many young people hope for a brighter, healthier future, and hope for undoing the legacy of adverse experiences. I couldn’t be more proud of her for this well-deserved recognition of her work.”

Nursing Leadership Council member Eleanor Weinstein, PhD, RN, FAAN, is an admirer of Bounds’s work and voted for her to receive the award.

I find her research timely, relevant, and important for helping today’s youth. Our School of Nursing is committed to community health. Dr. Bounds’s research is aligned with our mission.”

Bounds joined the UCI nursing faculty in 2020. In addition to her research, she will help establish a psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner specialization in the Doctor of Nursing Practice program.

Also honored at the ceremony will be:

  • Susan M. O’Brien, MD, associate director for Clinical Services, UCI Health Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center and UCI School of Medicine professor
  • John Chaput, PhD, UCI School of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences

The 38th Annual Athalie R. Clarke Achievement Awards take place on June 22 at 5 p.m. Register today ›