Shaquita Starks, MSN, FNP-BC, PhD candidate at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC), is the recipient of the Minority Fellowship Program Award at the American Nurses Association funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). SAMHSA is the agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that leads public health efforts to advance the behavioral health of the nation. As a result, Starks will receive more than $30,000 towards her tuition, a stipend, and other behavioral health training and learning experiences.
A certified family nurse practitioner, Starks’ research focuses on determining what affects the quality of life for African American women caring for patients with End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) — to include examining the mood profile of study participants, reported substance use, prevalence of historical depression, anxiety, and physical symptoms of depression. Her long-term goal is to practice nursing and develop a program of research that will examine the connections between social influences and mental and physical health in ethnic minorities.