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Assembly on Nursing Mentorship Award

Meet the 2023 Winner: Deena Kelly Costa PhD, RN, FAAN


Deena Kelly Costa is an Associate Professor at Yale School of Nursing and at Yale School of Medicine in the Section of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine. She is also Co-Director of the National Clinician Scholars Program at Yale University. Dr. Costa received an undergraduate degree in Italian studies from Boston University, her bachelor’s of science in nursing from Binghamton University, her masters and doctoral degree from University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing in the Center for Healthcare Outcomes and Policy Research and post-doctoral training in critical care medicine at the University of Pittsburgh in the Clinical Research, Investigation and Systems Modeling of Acute Illness (CRISMA) Center. She has been a member of the ATS since 2014 and a member of the Nursing Assembly since then. She is currently the chair of the Nursing assembly Planning committee, previously served as a member of the ATS Quality Improvement and Implementation Committee (2015 – 2019) and member of the Critical Care Program Committee (2017 – 2019).

Dr. Costa’s research examines how to optimize the organization of interprofessional critical care teams to improve the delivery of high-quality care to critically ill adults. She has received funding from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, National Heart Lung & Blood Institute, American Thoracic Society, and American Nurses Foundation. Her research has been published in leading journals such as New England Journal of Medicine, JAMA, American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, and Annals of ATS. Dr. Costa’s ongoing projects use quantitative and qualitative data to understand how to optimize the organization of nurses, physicians, and respiratory therapists to deliver high quality care.

Dr. Costa has a long-standing commitment to supporting nurses through her research, mentorship, and policy impact. Along with her research, she has mentored 7 pre- and post-doctoral nursing scholars and is involved in the mentorship of two early career faculty. The scholars who have been mentored by Dr. Costa have been incredibly productive and impactful, leading large federally funded research projects and improving care of neonatal babies, individuals with diabetes, pregnant and postpartum individuals, and critically ill adults worldwide. According to her, the impact her mentees have made is what she is most proud of.


The purpose of this award is to recognize exceptional contributions to mentoring and training of early career individuals in research and/or clinical practice. We encourage applications from: 1) Midcareer individuals (e.g. 6 + years since completion of post graduate training) who have mentored undergraduate and/or graduate students in research and/or clinical care; 2) senior investigators who have mentored pre- and/or post-doctoral scholars and; 3) early career faculty and clinicians. Individuals with a record of mentoring interdisciplinary and interprofessional colleagues and/or mentoring efforts that achieve a diverse, equitable and inclusive environment in nursing are preferred. We encourage applications from nominees with diverse backgrounds.

Materials for nomination:

  • Nominees CV which includes any scholarly or service activities of applicant within ATS
  • Table that lists current and past mentees including mentee’s current employment/position and number of products (e.g. grant funding, publications, educational attainment or other relevant metrics)
  • Nomination letter by one or more mentees describing the track record of successful mentorship, impact on career development and career advancement of the mentee
  • Personal statement (1 page max) describing scoring criteria (teaching/mentoring contributions including documented success in how their mentorship has supported the attainment of a diverse, inclusive and equitable environment in their institution, research setting or clinical setting, participation in ATS assembly or ATS activities).


a. Registered nurse

b. ATS nursing assembly member for at least one year

Scoring metric:

a. Mentoring experience

b. Interprofessional/Interdisciplinary mentorship

c. Efforts to achieve diverse, equitable and inclusive environment in nursing  

Scoring scale:

a. Mentoring experience: evaluated by number of mentees, quality of mentoring (as described by mentees) or years spent in a mentorship role. Those with multiple mentees, over a long period of time and with exceptional descriptions of their mentoring capabilities will be scored higher (5/5) than those with 1-2 mentees and weak nomination letters (1/5)

b. Interprofessional/interdisciplinary mentorship: evaluated by the nominees commitment to mentoring nurses and other interprofessional and interdisciplinary colleagues. Individuals who have worked with mentees from diverse disciplines and subspecialties (e.g., physicians, social workers, nurse clinicians) will be scored higher than those who have mentored nurse researchers in academia only.




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