Tamara George of the Hope College nursing faculty has won the 2000 "Excellence in Research Award" from the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation.

George, an associate professor of nursing, won the award in the area of health policy research for her research titled "Defining Care in the Culture of the Chronically Mentally Ill Living in the Community." The program recognizes excellence in health and medical research by Michigan investigators, and includes $10,000 for future research.

Her research considers that the chronically mentally ill who live in the community--as opposed to living in a mental hospital--are part of a subculture with certain general characteristics. Her goal in identifying the characteristics is to provide knowledge that will help care-givers, particularly nurses, to serve such patients better.

For example, she found that members of the group value care that includes listening and a giving presence, and that they in turn wish to help others. She also found that the chronically mentally ill desire normalcy, but fear rejection by the dominant culture.

To be eligible for the "Excellence in Research Award," research must have been published within the last two years or accepted for publication in a refereed journal on health or medical care. George's work, based on 11 months spent studying an urban, public, community mental health day/partial treatment center, was published in the April, 2000, issue of the "Journal of Transcultural Nursing."

During the past year and a half, George has presented the results of her research at three international conferences as well as locally. Most recently, in April, she was a presenter during the International Qualitative Health Research Conference, held in Banff, Alberta, Canada.

She joined the Hope faculty in 1992, and was previously a member of the nursing faculty at Nazareth College for 16 years. She holds a B.S.N. from The Ohio State University, and an M.S.N. and Ph.D. from Wayne State University.