Kristen Choi

Kristen Choi, PhD, RN, FAAN, an assistant professor in the UCLA School of Nursing, is one of 12 nurse scientists accepted to the third cohort of the Betty Irene Moore Fellowship for Nurse Leaders and Innovators. This fellowship program, funded by a $37.5 million grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, recognizes early- to mid-career nursing scholars and innovators with a high potential to accelerate leadership in nursing research, practice, education, policy, and entrepreneurship.

As part of the three-year fellowship program, fellows receive $450,000 to conduct an innovative project or study with the potential to address a gap in knowledge, meet a vital need, alter care delivery, or design a new solution to advance health. Choi’s project focuses on access to mental health care for LGBTQ youth in the United States. She will also explore the potential for leveraging telehealth to address unmet mental health needs in this population.

“I am honored to receive this support from the Betty Irene Moore Fellowship for Nurse Leaders and Innovators for advancing research on LGBTQ youth mental health. As a psychiatric nurse, I have seen first-hand how challenging it can be for marginalized populations to access mental health care that is timely, affordable, and gender-affirming,” said Choi, who is also an assistant professor in the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. “LGBTQ youth experience a disproportionate burden of mental health challenges, and it is critical that we consider how to leverage technology and redesign systems of care to reduce mental health disparities.”  

“Dr. Choi is an exceptional nurse educator and scientist who continues to work to push health care forward,” said Lin Zhan, PhD, RN, FAAN, dean of the UCLA School of Nursing. “We are grateful to our colleagues at UC Davis for providing this impactful opportunity, which will allow Dr. Choi to advance her work in achieving health equity for all.”

In addition to the project, the fellowship program features a hybrid online and classroom curriculum designed and taught in partnership with the UC Davis Graduate School of Management to enhance leadership and innovation capacity, strengthen strategic thinking and collaborative skills, expand professional networks, develop entrepreneurial skills, and propel innovative ideas to fruition. A mentor selected by the fellow and an additional mentor provided by the national program office round out the educational experience.  

“Our fellows undertake a unique journey in which they get to explore and better understand their roles as leaders and how they can influence health systems to include more equitable and higher quality care for all the populations they serve,” said Heather M. Young, professor, as well as dean emerita of the school, who now serves as national program director for the fellowship. “This next generation of nursing leaders has great potential to have a nationwide impact on healthy equity and health care delivery.”

The fellowship program is made possible by Betty Irene Moore’s passion to advance nursing with the goal of better outcomes for individuals, families and communities. The foundation seeks to prepare nurses as collaborative leaders with the skills and confidence to inspire others, enact change and challenge the status quo. With the creation of the Betty Irene Moore Fellowship for Nurse Leaders and Innovators, the foundation supports nurse leaders who take ideas to scale that advance high-quality, high-value care and optimal health outcomes.

Applications for the 2023 cohort of nurse leader fellows open Sept. 23 with a submission deadline of 5 p.m. PST Dec. 1. To learn more, visit the School of Nursing website.