Eileen Collins named to leadership role in research

Dean Terri E. Weaver has announced the appointment of Eileen Collins, PhD, RN, FAACVPR, FAAN, as associate dean for research at the UIC College of Nursing, effective Feb. 16, 2018.

Collins is a professor in the Department of Biobehavioral Health Science, where she has been serving since 2002. She has vast experience in leadership roles. At the Edwards Hines Jr., VA Hospital, she served as director of the postdoctoral nurse fellowship program in the Center of Innovation for Complex Chronic Healthcare (2009-2014), as research career scientist (2010-2017), and recently as the acting associate chief of staff for research and development (2015-2017).

An exemplary scholar, Collins is internationally recognized for her innovative research in pulmonary rehabilitation. Specifically, she uses exercise interventions to increase exercise tolerance in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), diabetes and chronic renal failure. In her early work, Collins developed a computerized breathing-retraining system to help patients with COPD to control their breathing. Through this study, she and her colleagues demonstrated that, by teaching COPD patients how to prolong exhalation during exercise, dynamic hyperinflation is reduced and exercise tolerance is increased. For patients, this means that they can become more engaged in activities of daily living that are important to them.

In her career, Collins has been awarded more than $36 million in research funding. Her research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, National Institutes of Nursing Research, American Cancer Society, and Department of Veterans Affairs. She has widely disseminated her research in top-tier journals such as the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, Medicine & Science in Sport & Exercise, Respiratory Medicine, Lung, and the Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing. Collins has authored 81 manuscripts, two book chapters and 96 published abstracts, and has presented her research at numerous national and international conferences.

Collins' accomplishments have garnered her numerous awards and honors. She is a fellow in the American Academy of Nursing (the highest honor bestowed in the nursing profession) and a fellow in the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation. In 2014, the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation recognized her as the first nurse ever to receive the prestigious Thomas L. Petty Distinguished Research Award. In 2015, she received the UIC Distinguished Researcher Award. Most notably, she was inducted into the Sigma Theta Tau International Nurse Researcher Hall of Fame in 2016. She had held several leadership roles in the American Thoracic Society, where she is currently serving as chairperson for the Assembly on Nursing and member of the board of directors.