Ada Sue Hinshaw changed the practice of nursing, elevating the profession to focus on patient outcomes. Hinshaw was the first director of the National Institute of Nursing Research at the National Institutes of Health. Under her leadership, nursing was transformed into a science, integrating behavioral and physiological measures to identify health risk factors, develop and evaluate health prevention methodologies, and implement educational and intervention strategies to reduce health risks.
Under Hinshaw, the NINR focused on seven priority areas: low birth weight infants and their mothers; HIV-positive patients, partners, and families; long-term care for the elderly; symptom management; health promotion; family adaptation to chronic illness; and improving quality of life during chronic illness. Federal research funding increased from $16 million to more than $48 million between 1986 and 1992 while she served as the director of the NINR.
Hinshaw received her B.S. from the University of Kansas, her M.S.N. from Yale University, and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Arizona. She served as dean of the schools of nursing at the University of Michigan and at the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences, as well as in leadership positions at the University of Arizona, University of California, San Francisco, and the University of Kansas. She is a past president of the American Academy of Nursing, and a former member of the Institute of Medicine and its governing council, as well as many study panels, task forces, and advisory boards.
Hinshaw has received numerous awards, including the Nursing Research Society Lifetime Achievement Award, the United States Public Health Service's Health Leader of the Year Award, and 13 honorary degrees. In 2011, she was named a "Living Legend" by the American Academy of Nursing.