Five UIC faculty to become AAN fellows

Valerie Gruss, Carrie Klima, Susan Corbridge, Mary Kapella, Judith Schlaeger

Five UIC College of Nursing faculty were selected by the American Academy of Nursing to join its class of 2018 fellows.Fellowship in AAN is considered the highest honor in the nursing profession.


Susan Corbridge, PhD ’09, APRN, FAANP

Associate dean for practice and community partnerships
In her role, Corbridge is responsible for the development and maintenance of faculty practice, including the College of Nursing’s nurse managed clinic, Mile Square Health Center – Humboldt Park. She is currently overseeing a grant to expand the college’s education and practice initiatives with the Cook County Department of Corrections. Corbridge maintains a clinical practice with the Division of Pulmonary & Critical Care Medicine at UI Health and has received numerous teaching awards, including Nurse Practitioner Educator of the Year from the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties.

Valerie Gruss, PhD, APRN, CNP-BC

Clinical associate professor
Gruss’ position blends her role as researcher, clinician and educator. She is principal investigator of a Health Resources and Service Administration-funded grant, ENGAGE-IL, an education and practice initiative to enhance the care of older adults, made up of interprofessional UIC leaders. She is a practicing geriatrician who traveled to Shanghai, China, as a member of a geriatric expert panel sharing professional expertise and approaches to addressing the needs of a global aging society. She also serves on the vice chancellor’s Interprofessional Education Steering Committee, working to provide UIC students with interprofessional learning experiences.

Mary Kapella, PhD ’05, MS, RN

Associate professor and interim director of the Center for Narcolepsy, Sleep and Health Research
Kapella’s research focuses on fatigue and insomnia in people with chronic illness. She is currently investigating non-pharmacological therapy for people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease who have problems falling or staying asleep. In addition to teaching and serving as a mentor to graduate-level students, Kapella is a productive scholar with a long list of published research.

Carrie Klima, PhD, MS ’86, CNM, FACNM

Clinical professor and director of the nurse-midwifery program
Klima is a faculty member and program director of the nurse-midwifery program. For more than 20 years, she has been involved in Centering Pregnancy, a group model of prenatal care that combines assessment, education and support for pregnant women. She has been a group provider, national consultant and researcher in group pregnancy care. Klima’s current research focuses on group care for pregnant women in sub-Saharan Africa. She has won numerous awards, including the Illinois March of Dimes, Jonas Salk Health Leadership Award for nursing.

Judith Schlaeger, PhD, MS ’88, CNM, LAC

Assistant professor
Schlaeger is a practicing certified nurse midwife, licensed acupuncturist and Chinese herbalist. She is a pain researcher, interested in developing new assessments and treatments for chronic pain by integrating conventional medicine and traditional Chinese medicine. Specifically, Schlaeger’s research focuses on treatments for vulvodynia, which is characterized by vulvar pain and pain with vaginal penetration. It affects 7 million American women and has no consistently effective treatments. She was recently awarded a five-year, $2 million NIH grant to study the effect of acupuncture on vulvar pain and painful intercourse in women with vulvodynia.

Alumni and friends of UIC Nursing are invited to a reception in honor of these individuals on Friday, Nov. 2, at the Academy’s 2018 Transforming Health, Driving Policy Conference in Washington, D.C.