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Professor honored as Breakthrough Leader in Nursing

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Melissa Pinto, PhD, RN, assistant professor at the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing is one of ten recipients of the 2015 Culture of Health: Breakthrough Leaders in Nursing award.  The Future of Nursing presented the award as part of its Campaign for Action, a joint initiative of AARP, the AARP Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF).

The award was presented to nurses who have developed innovative approaches to improve health and health care.  Pinto was selected for her pioneering work on the use of avatars and mobile technologies to improve adolescent mental health outcomes. She also mentors doctoral students for the Georgia Action Coalition.

The Culture of Health: Breakthrough Leaders in Nursing award is part of a concerted effort to celebrate nurse leaders and position nurses for leadership and executive roles to help people live healthier lives and create healthier communities.

"Dr. Pinto is a pioneer in the discovery of effective health interventions," says Linda McCauley, PhD, RN, dean of the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing. "She is most deserving of this award that recognizes her innovative foresight and creative solutions to tackling some of the most challenging health care issues."

Pinto has received national acclaim and is recognized as a thought leader in the evolving role of technology in behavioral health. Her pioneering research using avatar-based interventions for mental health advances traditional health care delivery paradigms and has garnered national attention. In 2013, Dr. Pinto was invited to present her work at the White House Technology Innovations for SAMHSA Conference. Additionally, she addressed the North Carolina Governor's Institute on Substance Abuse, alongside the director of SAMHSA.  Most recently she was featured in the New Technologies for Whole Body Health and Wellness episode of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's (SAMHSA) television and radio series titled, Road to Recovery. In 2014,  she was inducted into the American Academy of Nursing.

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