Current Research

Research Wheel

The University of Kansas School of Nursing is in constant pursuit of research that will improve outcomes, support the promotion of healthy behaviors and manage the treatment of acute and chronic illnesses.

School of Nursing research focuses on five emphasis areas that impact precision health: social determinants of health, symptom science, data science, health outcomes and quality and safety. Precision health is an innovative approach to health promotion, disease prevention and treatment that takes into account individual differences in people's genes, environments and lifestyles.

  • Social determinants of health are conditions in the environments in which people are born, live, learn, work, play, worship and age that affect a wide range of health, functioning and quality-of-life outcomes and risks.
  • Symptom science focuses on the biological and behavioral aspects of symptoms to develop and test new interventions that reduce disabling effects and improve patient health and quality of life.
  • Data science is an interdisciplinary approach to extract information from structured or unstructured data to gain knowledge and insights for improved care.
  • Quality and safety comprise six dimensions of quality in health care: safety, effectiveness, patient/family centeredness, timeliness, efficiency and equity.
  • Health outcomes refers to the impact health care activities have on a person and their health, including attitudes they develop about their health. 

School of Nursing Research Faculty 

MARTHA B. BAIRD, Ph.D., APRN/CNS-BC, CTN-A, Assistant Professor and Director, 3047 School of Nursing Building, (913) 588-3351

Emphasis areas of research: vulnerable populations (women immigrants and refugees); bio-behavioral outcomes; community-based participatory approach 

Dr. Baird's research focuses on vulnerable populations, specifically immigrants and refugees. Her dissertation, completed in 2009, was an interpretive ethnography titled "Resettlement Transition Experiences among Sudanese Refugee Women." As a result of this research, she has developed a theory of well-being in cultural transition. She plans to continue to work with immigrants and refugees and test components of her new theory, specifically the influence of culture on bio-behavioral responses and access to the U.S. health care system.

She completed several Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR) projects with the South Sudanese refugee community in the Kansas City metropolitan area to address physical and mental health needs. She completed translation and cultural adaptation of the Hopkins Symptom Checklist-25 into Dinka and Nepalese languages and the Harvard Trauma Questionnaire into Nepalese for use with Sudanese and Bhutanese refuges.

Dr. Baird frequently presents on topics related to cultural competency for health care organizations and professionals. She is a scholar in the Transcultural Nursing Society and associate editor for the Journal of Transcultural Nursing. In 2016, she was accepted into the Fulbright specialist roster.

Research funding includes a Dissertation Research Award by the Transcultural Nursing Society, an internal grant from the Office of Grants and Research (OGR) in the School of Nursing and the MacArthur Interdisciplinary Research Award. Most recently, she received a Frontiers Pilot Research Grant to conduct a mental health intervention on healthy Sudanese families with the South Sudanese refugee women.
Dissertation Committee Member
PAMELA K. BARNES, Ph.D., M.B.A., CSSGB, Education Assistant Professor and Associate Dean, Student Affairs and Enrollment Management, G020-B School of Nursing Building, (913) 588-1619

Emphasis areas of research: quality and safety; social determinants of health education

Dr. Barnes' research efforts are focused on quality and continuous improvement in learning experiences and health care performance through competencies encompassing constituent insights, professional development, team learning and inter-organizational transfer of learning. Stemming from a breadth of educational and corporate experience, her research is approached from an interdisciplinary perspective, and focuses on how learning contributes to the education and social determinant of health.

In her role as associate dean, she collaborates as an executive team member with other associate deans in the School of Nursing for strategic planning, policy development, annual budgeting and fiscal monitoring, developing and implementing program initiatives, reviewing and revising admission requirements and evaluating quality.

Dissertation Committee Member

SANDRA L. BERGQUIST-BERINGER, RN, Ph.D., Professor, 3044 School of Nursing Building, (913) 588-1609

Emphasis areas of research: health outcomes; quality and safety; quantitative research methodologies 

Dr. Bergquist-Beringer's research focuses on structure, process and outcomes across health care settings to improve patient safety and quality of care. Studies conducted include research on pressure ulcer risk and prevention in home health care, prevention and outcomes in hospitalized patients, wound assessment and measurement, adoption of evidence-based practice, a pressure ulcer education program and reliability studies. Additional research includes eMeasure development and the effect of nurse certification on the outcomes of pressure ulcers, catheter-associated urinary infections and surgical site infections. Quantitative research methodologies include logistic and linear regression analysis with large and small databases, as well as focus groups and content analysis.

Research funding includes: Sigma Theta Tau, Gamma Chapter and ConvaTec, Inc. for the study "Risk Factors for Pressure Ulcers in Community Based Older Adults Receiving Home Health Care" (Dissertation); Faculty Research Grant, Office of Grants and Research for the study "Pressure Ulcer Prediction and Prevention in Home Health Care"; Sigma Theta Tau, Delta Chapter, for the study "Validation of a Tool to Monitor Healing of Pressure Ulcers"; Faculty Research Grant, Office of Grants and Research for the study "Extracting Reliable Electronic Data on Pressure Ulcer Risk in Elder Home Health Care Patients: A Feasibility Study"; American Nurses Association to guide and study the National Database of Nursing Quality Indicators (NDNQI) Pressure Ulcer Indicator and Pressure Ulcer eMeasure; Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) (R03) for the study "A Computerized Decision Support System (CDSS) to Translate Pressure Ulcer Prediction and Prevention to Home Health Care" and the Competency and Credentialing Institute to examine "The Relationship between Nursing Specialty Certification and Surgical Site Infection Rates in Acute Care Hospitals." 

Dissertation Chair, Dissertation Committee Member

WANDA BONNEL, Ph.D., GNP-BC, ANEF, Associate Professor, 2038 School of Nursing Building, (913) 588-3363

Emphasis areas of research: quality and safety dimensions related to health care education for varying patient, staff and student populations; additional quality and safety dimensions with gerontology populations 

Dr. Bonnel's research emphasizes improving clinical educator skills to support patient care quality and safety. Her work integrates best practices in educational technologies. She served as principal investigator for two federally funded training grants from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Division of Nursing. Her team initiated the online Nurse Educator Certificate and then blended with a School of Medicine HRSA grant to implement and evaluate the web-based Health Professions Educator Certificate. Her Career Ladder grant focused on developing clinical leaders and educators via accessible online RN to BSN and graduate programs. Descriptive project evaluation included qualitative and quantitative measures to evaluate program structure, process and outcomes.

Her current educational research interests focus on best practices in the observer role in simulation, as well as online course feedback to students. This work includes funded projects from Sigma Theta Tau, Delta Chapter, and the National League for Nursing. Dr. Bonnel has chaired multiple dissertations that focus on technologies, including high fidelity simulation teaching and learning strategies. 

Dr. Bonnel's interests in evidence-based practice, patient education, health literacy and geriatric clinical educator role development are evident in grants and Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) projects. Past research has addressed older adults and nutritional issues. Selected studies include "Meal Management Strategies of Older Adult Women and Residents' Perceptions of the Nursing Home Group Dining Room." Dr. Bonnel also served as a team member of the Culture Change in Nursing Homes study.

Dissertation Chair, Dissertation Committee Member

KELLY A. BOSAK, Ph.D., ANP-BC, Associate Professor, 3045 School of Nursing Building, (913) 588-1656

Emphasis areas of research: health behavior intervention technologies; novel methodologies; bio-behavioral outcomes 

Dr. Bosak received a Ph.D. in Nursing (2007) from the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Her dissertation research was partially funded by a grant from the American Heart Association. Dr. Bosak used clinical trial methods to develop a physical activity intervention to reduce cardiometabolic risk using internet technology. Her dissertation research received a graduate student award at the Midwest Nursing Research Society conference. She earned funding for her doctoral research from local, regional and national competitive grants, including a grant from the Clinical Research Center at the Nebraska Health System for laboratory work; a Sigma Theta Tau National Honor Society of Nursing, Gamma Pi Chapter, research award; and a Phi Delta Gamma, Nu Chapter, research award for internet intervention development.

Since joining the School of Nursing faculty in 2008, Dr. Bosak received the NIH K12 Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women's Health (BIRCWH) award with competitive renewal (2010-2015); participated in the Clinical and Translational Science Award, Post-Doctoral Research Practicum, at Mayo Clinic (2010); and received pilot funding from the KU Medical Center Research Institute (2011) and the MacArthur Foundation (2016) to study the brain-behavior connections that influence health outcomes in interdisciplinary collaboration with neuroimaging experts.

Dr. Bosak's program of research intersects the health outcomes, technology and methodologies research areas of emphasis of the School of Nursing. Her career goals are to conduct research based on novel methods for building and optimizing interventions to support health behaviors (e.g., physical activity) using wireless and wearable technology. The ultimate goal of her research is to develop more effective and adaptive health behavior interventions for translation to clinical practice.

Dissertation Chair, Dissertation Committee Member

MARGE J. BOTT, RN, Ph.D., Associate Professor and Associate Dean for Research, Office of Grants and Research, 3010D School of Nursing Building, (913) 588-1692

Emphasis areas of research: data science; quality and safety; health outcomes in gerontology populations; determinants of health

Dr. Bott's past research funding includes a project for the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR) that examined end-of-life care and the care planning process in nursing homes and a Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services contract that studied culture change (resident-centered care) and turnover in nursing homes. She is also involved with several studies that examine caregiving, end-of-life and palliative care. Dr. Bott has served as a co-investigator on a recently funded NINR project that developed Classical and Bayesian Instrument Development (CBID) software that combines the use of content expert and participant data with smaller sample size requirements to establish reliability and validity for instrument development. This allows for the development of new instruments for measuring determinants of health in smaller diverse populations or populations of rare diseases. She serves as a project collaborator and in a data analysis role on the "The National Database of Nursing Quality Indicators" funded by Press Ganey and the Blue Cross/Blue Shield.

Dr. Bott also has expertise in various types of data management, including working with large databases and data analysis procedures that incorporate structural equation modeling. 

Dissertation Chair, Dissertation Committee Member

CARA A. BUSENHART, Ph.D., CNM, APRN, Clinical Assistant Professor, 2071 School of Nursing Building, (913) 588-3354

Emphasis areas of research: quality and safety (interprofessional education, best practices for midwifery care); methodologies (Delphi) 

Dr. Busenhart is program director of the Nurse-Midwifery Education Program and Advanced Practice, which entails working collaboratively with the associate dean of academic affairs for graduate programs and other program directors to strategically plan, develop and implement program initiatives, as well as evaluate the quality for academic affairs. Additionally, Dr. Busenhart also implements and evaluates the advanced practice programs.

Dr. Busenhart provides women's health prenatal care at Silver City Health Center (the faculty practice of the School of Nursing), Maternal Options that Matter (a teaching clinic with family medicine residents and nurse-midwifery students) and JayDoc Free Health Clinic (a medical student-run clinic). She also practices intrapartum management at KU Hospital Labor and Delivery, where she supervises nurse-midwifery students, medical students and family medicine and emergency department residents.

Dr. Busenhart's research has dealt with the use of competencies in interprofessional education (IPE). She completed her dissertation on "Leveling ‘Core Competencies for Interprofessional Collaborative Practice' for Learners." This study was a modified Delphi study to gain consensus on the leveling or appropriateness of different IPE competencies for beginning, intermediate and advanced level health professions learners. Additionally, Dr. Busenhart has studied new RN's experiences with simulation during their nursing education and its impact on role transition. Currently, she is investigating best practices for transfer from a home birth setting to the hospital setting with adherence to a standard treatment bundle for severe sepsis in perinatal patients via a modified Delphi approach.

EMILY CRAMER, Ph.D., Research Assistant Professor, 3064 School of Nursing Building, (913) 588-1657

Emphasis areas of research: quality and safety; health outcomes; data science

Dr. Cramer specializes in health services research and secondary analysis with large databases. Her Ph.D. is in quantitative psychology from the University of Kansas. Since 2011, Dr. Cramer has conducted research related to the National Database of Nursing Quality Indicators (NDNQI). She is currently the co-principal investigator of a research contract with Press Ganey Associates to develop measures and continue research with NDNQI data, which focuses primarily on connecting the nursing work environment and RN characteristics, such as education and certification, to health outcomes for patients and the quality and safety of care delivery in hospitals. Dr. Cramer's other research activities include quality indicator and survey development as well as reliability and validity testing of quality indicators. She also has a strong interest in data science and specializes in several quantitative methodologies, including developing complex regression analyses for causal inference in large-scale observational data. Her interests in advanced statistical techniques also include longitudinal analysis, mediation models and latent variable models.

ELAINE WILLIAMS DOMIAN, ARNP, Ph.D., Clinical Associate Professor, 2040 School of Nursing Building, (913) 588-1657

Emphasis areas of research: social determinants of health; health outcomes 

Dr. Domian's research focus and interests are in qualitative research with vulnerable populations, specifically understanding the cultural impact on social determinants of health and interventions and outcomes for marginalized women and children globally.

Her past research includes a four-year funded National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR) National Research Service Award Individual Predoctoral Fellowship from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for her dissertation research on "Contextual Factors and Meaningful Pregnancies: An Ethnographic Study of Pregnant Hispanic Females and Their Families in Northern New Mexico." Dr. Domian has also been a co-investigator with Dr. Karen Wambach, principal investigator, on a NINR funded research study on "Promoting and Supporting Breast-feeding in Adolescents." She also completed a follow-up qualitative descriptive study on exclusive breastfeeding experience in Mexican-American women with Dr. Wambach. She has worked as a consultant on a qualitative NINR-funded research project studying interventions with children with chronically ill or disabled siblings (PI: P. Williams).

Dr. Domian completed a post-doctoral fellowship with the Juniper Gardens Children's Project at the University of Kansas in 2007. During her postdoctoral studies, she conducted qualitative research on mothers at risk for abusing and neglecting their children and factors influencing a mothers' ability to engage in a comprehensive parenting intervention program. She has continued her research in this area with a qualitative case study of mothers who received a three-year intervention program to prevent child abuse and neglect.

Dr. Domian has also been involved in community-based collaborative action research with Sudanese refugee women. Her most recent research was conducted in Uganda, Africa looking at the experiences and perspectives of northern Ugandan nurses with the Helping Babies Breathe (HBB) Educational Training Program.

Dr. Domain's research publications also include studies on HIV infection in young African-American women, African-American women's breastfeeding experiences, health care needs among Sudanese refugee women, how adults with diabetes struggle to find the meaning of their disease and nurses' experiences of grief following patient death. She has employed multiple qualitative research methodologies including ethnography, phenomenology, participatory action research, qualitative case study and qualitative description.

Dissertation Committee Member

NANCY DUNTON, Ph.D., FAAN, Research Professor, School of Nursing and the Department of Health Policy and Management. Director, Center for Data Science. 3069 School of Nursing Building, (913) 588-1456

Emphasis areas of research: data science; quality and safety in health care; health care quality measure development

Dr. Dunton's current research is funded by Econometrica, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Virginia Commonwealth University, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Press Ganey and the National Database of Nursing Quality Indicators. 

Her past research has focused on poverty, children's well-being and the quality of nursing care in hospitals, nursing homes and ambulatory settings.

Dissertation Co-Chair, Dissertation Committee Member

DIANE EBBERT, Ph.D., APRN, FNP-BC, Assistant Professor and Program Director for Advanced Practice Programs, 2010-B School of Nursing Building, (913) 588-1649

Emphasis areas of research: health outcomes; data science; evaluation methods

Dr. Ebbert's research interests are in the areas of health policy with a special interest in vulnerable populations, access to care and health care disparities. Her dissertation was a study of the relationship of duration of time without health insurance with access to and utilization of health care in Kansas. Other research interests include care of patients with diabetes, evidence based practice, competency in health care profession students and barriers to practice for nurse practitioners. She is currently working with the Kansas Action Coalition in implementing the recommendations of the Institute of Medicine report, The Future of Nursing: Leading, Changing and Advancing Health for nurses in Kansas.

Dissertation Committee Member

DEBRA J. FORD, Ph.D., Research Assistant Professor, 2010-A School of Nursing Building, (913) 588-1646

Emphasis areas of research: leadership; health care teams; quality and safety; policy

Dr. Ford's research primarily focuses on three areas related to leading and communicating about quality improvement systems and policy in health care: team leadership and processes; methods to influence the success of public-private partnerships; and strategies used by organizations to influence public policy, specifically health policy. In addition to a variety of peer-reviewed articles, she has published a textbook, Organizational Rhetoric: Situations and Strategies, with Mary Hoffman, Ph.D. (2010).

Dissertation Committee Member

NELDA GODFREY, Ph.D., RN, ACNS-BC, FAAN, Professor (tenure-track) and Associate Dean, Innovative Partnerships and Practice, 2036 School of Nursing Building, (913) 588-1654

Emphasis areas of research: quality in health care, including safety, effectiveness, patient/family centeredness, timeliness, efficiency and equity; evaluation and ethical approaches 

Dr. Godfrey currently receives funding from the Kansas Department of Corrections.

Dr. Godfrey leads School of Nursing initiatives for innovative partnerships and practice, and focuses her research interests on quality in health care, particularly in the areas of effectiveness and equity. She has taught courses in the BSN, Ph.D. and Organizational Leadership master's programs. She has also served as a Doctorate of Nursing Practice committee member and chair. Dr. Godfrey has recently been asked to join an interdisciplinary, international research team exploring the professional identity formation of nursing students at the University of Western Sydney in Australia. Additional research interests include leadership theory and application, health care ethics in the public square and philosophic inquiry.

Dissertation Committee Member

SALLY L. MALISKI, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, Dean, Professor and KU Cancer Center Associate Director for Health Equity, G040 School of Nursing Building, (913) 588-1665

Emphasis areas of research: oncology; treatment-related symptom management and health outcomes; underserved populations; qualitative methods

Currently funded on the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR) R01 as principle investigator for a randomized controlled trial evaluating effectiveness of a nurse-led, interdisciplinary intervention to minimize cardiovascular and metabolic adverse effects of androgen deprivation therapy for the treatment of prostate cancer among Latino and African-American men. Also, co-principle investigator on NINR R25 to explore decision-making processes among altruistic and directed kidney donors, and co-investigator on an American Cancer Society funded study to describe the transition from a prostate cancer specific navigated program to Medicaid or private insurance that does not provide navigation among low-income, previously uninsured men as result of the Affordable Care Act.

Previous federally funded studies in the principle investigator role have included: "Underserved Men's Understanding of Androgen Deprivation Therapy Related Risks," "Prostate Cancer Clinical Decision-Making by Diagnosed and High-Risk Latino Men," "The Impact of Prostate Cancer Treatment Related Symptoms Among Latino and African-American Men," "The Impact of Prostate Cancer Treatment Related Symptoms on Latino Couples," "Latino Men's Understanding of Androgen Deprivation Therapy" and "Health Literacy Among Low-Income Men with Prostate Cancer." 

Dissertation Chair, Dissertation Committee Member

E. LAVERNE MANOS, DNP, RN-BC, Clinical Assistant Professor, School of Nursing and Director, Master of Science in Health Informatics Program and Simulated E-hEalth Delivery System (SEEDS) Program - Center for Health Informatics at KU Medical Center, 2044-A School of Nursing Building, (913) 588-1671

Emphasis areas of research: health outcomes; quality and safety

Dr. Manos specializes in data visualization and use of structured data for knowledge discovery. She also concentrates on the design and testing of data structures with focus on data, information, knowledge and use of informatics to support nursing wisdom, as well as evaluating the use of academic electronic health records as an educational teaching strategy.

Her Interprofessional Collaborative Acute Care Practice (ICAP) research objective is to enhance interprofessional collaborative practice and education. Additional objectives include integration of the collaborative care model and transitions of care from inpatient through the discharge chasm utilizing telehealth and other technologies, and then through hand off to the outpatient primary care provider. She also focuses on communication research to understand how health care providers describe themselves and their roles in providing patient care; how providers describe other health care professionals and their respective roles in patient care; how patients describe language choices used by health care professionals to refer to each other in front of patients; and how the language choices made by these professionals possibly influences the ability of groups of health care professionals to function as a collaborative team.

JERRIHLYN L. MCGEE, DNP, RN, CNE, Clinical Assistant Professor and Program Director, 3024 School of Nursing Building, (913) 588-3359

Emphasis areas of research: healthy work environment, specifically workplace bullying; cultural competency; diversity and social determinants of health and education.

Dr. McGee wrote Managing Workplace Bullying: A Baseline Assessment of Nurses' Knowledge for her Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) project. Using the Adult Learning Theory, the Oppressed Group Model Theory and a systematic review of the literature, she created and distributed a self-assessment to measure nurses' baseline knowledge about workplace bullying. Using the results of the self-assessment and evidence from literature, Dr. McGee created a very comprehensive yet concise "badge buddy" for nurses with the necessary learning tools to manage workplace bullying. This content is now included in local nurse residency programs where Dr. McGee lectures three to four times each academic year.

Dr. McGee is program director for the School of Nursing Leadership Program. This program includes Master of Science (MS) and DNP degrees in: organizational leadership, public health nursing, nursing informatics, clinical research management, as well as certificates in the aforementioned tracks including the health educator certificate. As program director, Dr. McGee works collaboratively with the associate dean of academic affairs and faculty to assess, plan, develop, enhance, implement and evaluate the leadership programs of study.

Dr. McGee serves as a member and sub-committee co-chair for the KU Medical Center Diversity and Inclusion Cabinet, and is the current president of Delta chapter, Honor Society of Nursing - Sigma Theta Tau International.

KAREN L. MILLER, RN, Ph.D., FAAN, Professor, 4037 School of Nursing Building, (913) 588-1658 

Emphasis areas of research: health outcomes; data science

Dr. Miller's research focus is health care outcomes through study of health care delivery systems, economics, clinical and systems outcomes, administration in health care, organizational context of clinical care, interdisciplinary clinical practice and educational modalities for health professions education and cultural competence in health professions education. Her research has been recently funded by the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City & REACH Foundation Grant Project for the Cultural Competency Curriculum Enhancement Project. From 2008-2010, the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City & REACH Foundation Grant Project funded her research for the Cultural Competency Faculty Preparation Pilot Program, University of Kansas School of Nursing. Dr. Miller received previous funding as a co-investigator from the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR) for "Effects of a Policy for Managing Children's Pain," as well as for her research as a co-investigator on "Work Sampling Validation of Pediatric Patient Classification I-II," funded by The Children's Hospital, Denver, Colorado. She also acted as a principal investigator on "Multiple Case Comparison of Nursing Practice Models: Rehabilitation Unit Pilot Study," funded by the Kempe Research Center, Denver, Colorado.

Among current and past national committee appointments, Dr. Miller has held memberships on an Institute of Medicine committee examining a federal health care facility merger and the Commission on Workforce for Hospitals and Health Systems of the American Hospital Association. She is active in the Association of Schools of Allied Health Professions and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. Dr. Miller completed a 4-year term on the National Advisory Council on Nurse Education and Practice of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and served on the National Advisory Council of the National Institute of Nursing Research of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Dr. Miller was named a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing in 1995.

Currently, Dr. Miller is a past president of the board of the Friends of the National Institute of Nursing Research and is on review/editorial boards of IMAGE: Journal of Nursing Scholarship, Collateral Reviewer, Sigma Theta Tau International and the online Journal of Nursing Education. She also serves on corporate boards of directors including the University of Kansas Hospital, KU HealthPartners, Inc. and the Watson Caring Science Institute.

Dissertation Chair, Dissertation Committee Member

HEATHER V. NELSON-BRANTLEY, Ph.D., RN, CCRN-K, Clinical Instructor, 3066 School of Nursing Building, (913) 588-1696

Emphasis areas of research: organizational systems; leadership; rural health; data science; health outcomes; mixed methods approach

Dr. Nelson-Brantley's research is focused on nursing leadership and organizational development, with emphasis in understanding how to prepare and enable nurses at all levels for leading change to transform healthcare systems. Her dissertation titled, "Leading Change in Critical Access Hospitals: A Case Study of the Journey to Magnet®," was a qualitative index case study that explored the first independent critical access hospital to achieve Magnet® designation. Dr. Nelson-Brantley has developed a conceptual model of leading change and is currently working to test the model with the following aims: theory development, instrument development and interventional research to improve rural hospital outcomes.

Dr. Nelson-Brantley has experience in both qualitative and quantitative research methods. She is a co-investigator for the National Database of Nursing Quality Indicators (NDNQI), where she studies the nursing work environment and its impact on nurse, patient and system health outcomes. She also is a co-investigator for the Programs of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE), where she develops measures to investigate the effectiveness of meeting its goal of caring for the elderly in the community. Dr. Nelson-Brantley is also working with the KU Center for Data Science to develop data visualization techniques for effectively interpreting and communicating big data.

Dr. Nelson-Brantley is a Jonas Nurse Leader Scholar alumna whose Jonas-funded study was the first to enumerate registered nurse participation on health-related Boards of Directors in Kansas. Other interests include complexity leadership, adaptive leadership, systems theory and interprofessional healthcare teams.

Dissertation committee member

LISA M. FINK OGAWA, Ph.D., RN, CNE, Clinical Assistant Professor, Program Director, Quality and Safety Scholarship, 2018 School of Nursing Building, (913) 588-1684

Emphasis areas of research: qualitative research methods; evaluation methods; quality and safety outcomes

Dr. Ogawa has experience in educational technology and classroom learning, interprofessional teamwork in the online environment, as well as learning theories and pedagogies to enhance and improve student experiences and improve outcomes in the classroom and the online environment. She also has experience with quality and safety initiatives in the clinical setting, such as fall prevention and improving outcomes of care across diverse populations in the inpatient and outpatient settings.

Dr. Ogawa leads an organizational program to increase the number of trained faculty, students and university and hospital staff on quality and safety science. She has received funding from local sources and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement to design, conduct and evaluate this program. She plans to build her trajectory of research around enhancing student learning experiences in the academic setting by using interprofessional learning strategies, emerging health care technology and simulation. In addition, she is building a program of research and scholarship examining quality and safety from the academic perspective. She will support students who are using quality and safety as a method for capstones and dissertations.

Dissertation Committee Member, Doctor of Nursing Practice Chairperson and Committee Member

DANIELLE M. OLDS, M.P.H., Ph.D., RN, CIC, Research Assistant Professor, 3065 School of Nursing Building, (913) 588-0426

Emphasis areas of research: quality and safety; data science; health services research

Dr. Olds is focused on furthering the science of health care quality and patient safety. As a faculty member, Dr. Olds has been involved in all aspects of quality measure development and evaluation for both the National Database of Nursing Quality Indicators (NDNQI) and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Program for All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE). This includes measure conceptualization, data collection guideline development and training, pilot testing, reliability and validity assessments and use and usability determination.

Dr. Olds has extensive experience working with large sets of diverse clinical, operational and survey data. She is part of the Center for Data Science at the School of Nursing and is interested in using data from a variety of sources to answer complex questions about nursing care delivery. Dr. Olds has published on safety and quality topics including antibiotic stewardship, restraint use, pain management processes, nurse work hours and adverse events as well as innovations in quality improvement research methods.

She completed a Ph.D. at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing as a pre-doctoral fellow in the Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research. Following her Ph.D., Dr. Olds completed a three-year fellowship with the Veterans Affairs Quality Scholars (VAQS) program with a focus on quality improvement research methods and interprofessional education. She has worked as an RN on an infectious disease unit and as an infection preventionist and maintains Certification in Infection Control (CIC).

SHIN HYE PARK, Ph.D., RN, Assistant Professor, 3049 School of Nursing Building, (913) 588-1624

Emphasis areas of research: patient safety; quality improvement; health care effectiveness; nursing workforce; nursing work environment; data science; nursing health services research

Dr. Park's program of research has been focused on the nursing workforce and work environments and their relationship to patient safety and quality of care. She has been involved in various research projects on the nursing workforce and patient safety using large-scale databases, such as the National Database of Nursing Quality Indicators (NDNQI), the University HealthSystem Consortium and the American Hospital Association Annual Survey of Hospitals. Dr. Park has extensive experience in advanced statistical methods, quantitative research methods, quality measure development, reliability and validity testing and quality improvement projects.

Dr. Park's publications focus on nurse staffing and turnover, work environments of nurses, patient outcomes, quality and safety. She has published her papers in journals such as Health Services Research, Medical Care, Research in Nursing & Health, Journal of Nursing Scholarship and Journal of Nursing Administration. Dr. Park has received grants to support research projects on patient turnover and its impact on nursing work environments, nursing workforce projection and quality of care, which were funded and supported by Sigma Theta Tau International, the School of Nursing and NDNQI, now owned by Press Ganey. Dr. Park was also a recipient of the 2014 Council on Graduate Education for Administration in Nursing (CGEAN) Experience Career Award. She is currently the principal investigator for a project on the patient turnover indicator development at NDNQI and a co-investigator for development, implementation and maintenance of quality measures for the Program of All‐Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE). She has served as a journal peer reviewer for Medical Care, Nursing Research and International Journal for Quality in Health Care.

JILL N. PELTZER, Ph.D., APRN-CNS, Assistant Professor, 3027 School of Nursing Building, (913) 588-3396

Emphasis areas of research: health disparities and African Americans; HIV/AIDS and women's health; genomics and symptom science; qualitative research methodologies

Dr. Peltzer's program of research focuses on health disparities experienced by African Americans. She is currently evaluating self-care practices among HIV-positive African-American women to alleviate psychological distress. She recently conducted community-based qualitative research to understand the perceptions of health and health care services among African-American adults living in Wyandotte County, and is a member of a transdisciplinary team examining mindfulness, stress and hypertension among African Americans.

Dr. Peltzer is actively involved in the Kansas Action Coalition, as the advocacy team lead; co-project d irector of a statewide initiative, funded by the REACH Healthcare Foundation, to promote cultural competency among Kansas nurses; and project staff for a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation-funded nurse leader residency program.

Her research has been funded by the Academy of Medical Surgical Nursing, the American Holistic Nurses Association and Sigma Theta Tau International Delta Chapter.

Dissertation Committee Member

MOYA PETERSON, Ph.D., RN, Associate Clinical Professor, 3055 School of Nursing Building, (913) 588-1644

Emphasis areas of research: social determinants of health (e.g., special needs adults with conditions such as Down syndrome); historical research methods

Dr. Peterson has conducted historical research on nurses in the military, in particular WWI and WWII. She also has ongoing research on a variety of topics concerning adults with Down syndrome. Projects are variable, but must all have the final outcome of impacting and improving the life of adults with Down syndrome.

Funding for past projects has been provided by the Special Olympics, First Downs for Down Syndrome and the Kansas Department of Health and Human Services, Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs.

Dissertation Committee Member

JANET D. PIERCE, Ph.D., APRN, CCRN, FAAN, Professor, 3028 School of Nursing Building, (913) 588-1663

Emphasis areas of research: precision health; data and symptom science related to traumatic brain injury and diastolic heart failure 

Currently, Dr. Pierce's research team is investigating if ubiquinol (coenzyme Q10) reduces cellular damage in traumatic brain injury (TBI). She will examine the effects of intravenous ubiquinol as it relates to brain mitochondrial bioenergetics to determine if this treatment will attenuate brain apoptosis and mitochondrial damage. For brain apoptosis, Dr. Pierce uses fluorescent microscopy, transmission electron microscopy for imaging mitochondrial damage, proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (P1PH-MRS) for measuring specific brain chemicals (NAA, lactate, serine, alanine, creatine, glutathione, ascorbate) and serum biomarkers (GFAP and UCH-L1) to measure the severity of the TBI. The study has the potential to reveal a pathway capable of reducing cellular injury in TBI. Furthermore, this study would test the usefulness of imaging (neurochemicals) and serum biomarkers of TBI in response to a therapy. Dr. Pierce is also beginning to investigate brain genomic variations as it relates to TBI and ubiquinol administration. This includes using RNA sequencing techniques and mapping specific transcriptome changes.

Dr. Pierce's research team is also studying the effects of ubiquinol and D-ribose in diastolic heart failure, which is also termed heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF). She uses a biobehavioral approach to examine the symptoms of patients with HFpEF with cardiovascular performance and ATP production. Specific techniques used in this study include speckle tracking echocardiography, BNP and ATP biomarkers and evaluation of symptom changes. Use of these products should improve the bioenergetics of myocardium and reduce reactive oxygen species in patients with HFpEF. Thus, these patients would have more energy, less fatigue and improved myocardial activity.

Dissertation Chair, Dissertation Committee Member

QIUHUA SHEN, Ph.D., APRN, RN, Assistant Professor, 3050 School of Nursing Building, (913) 588-1855

Emphasis areas of research: symptom science; data science; health outcomes

Dr. Shen's research focuses on understanding pathophysiological mechanisms of oxidative stress and mitochondrial bioenergetics impairment associated with various acute and chronic diseases, and investigating potential intervention strategies to reduce symptoms and improve health outcomes of patients, particularly in relation to heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (diastolic heart failure), insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. Other research interests includes promoting nursing academic progression in implementing the Institute of Medicine recommendations on the Future of Nursing.

Dr. Shen's current research includes examining the roles of cellular energetic impairment and oxidative stress in development of diastolic dysfunction and heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (diastolic heart failure). The research aim is to explore potential interventions to prevent and treat diastolic heart failure. She is also investigating the effects of ubiquinol (reduced form of coenzyme Q10) in preventing and reducing cellular damage following traumatic brain injury and promoting nursing education and leadership through working with the Kansas Action Coalition's Promoting Nursing Education in Kansas (PNEK) team.

Past research activities include examining the relationship between major depression and insulin resistance using the national database of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), and investigating biomarkers for oxidative stress following hemorrhagic shock and fluid resuscitation. The study aim was to determine the effects of antioxidant therapy in reducing cellular damage and microcirculation inflammation associated with reperfusion injury.

Research methodologies include quantitative, correlational/regression analyses, quasi-experimental, experimental and large database analysis.

Dissertation Committee Member

CAROL E. SMITH, RN, Ph.D., Professor, 3062 School of Nursing Building., (913) 588-1667

Emphasis areas of research: cardio-pulmonary and gerontology populations; bio-behavioral and health services outcomes; comparative effectiveness approach

Dr. Smith is currently funded by the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR) for "iPad Connections into Patients Homes for Support from Multidisciplinary Professionals and Peers," as well as the National Biomedical Engineering Institute for "Mobile Technologies Assisting Patients and Family."

Dr. Smith was invited to present testimony on Capitol Hill for "Technology Support of Family Home Caregiver" at the 21st Century Healthcare Congressional Caucus chaired by Congressional Representative Patrick Kennedy. As a member of a nurse practitioner group clinic, the group was selected by the American Association of Heart Failure Nurses as "A Program Design Innovation Showcase." Dr. Smith has been named an NIH Interdisciplinary Women's Health Research Mentor, an interdisciplinary sponsor on clinical trials research by the American Heart Association and a research mentor and senior scientist by the U.S. Army.

Dr. Smith's current research activities and interests are assisting patients and family caregivers who manage complex chronic illnesses with parenteral nutrition daily infusions and highly technical care in the home. Subjects in her past studies were family members, including teenagers, with adults in the home dependent on mechanical respiratory assistance, such as CPAP or other complex devices. Dr. Smith has developed and replicated across these populations the Caregiving Effectiveness Model using the social ecological model, named a Midrange Theory Exemplar, to guide practice. (C.E. Smith's Model of Caregiving Effectiveness replicated, reviewed and cited in Smith, M. J. & Liehr, P. R. eds. Middle Range Theory for Nursing. 3rd ed. Springer Publ Company; 2014 and in M. McEwan & E.Wills, eds., Theoretical Basis for Nursing, (2nd ed.) Philadelphia: Lippincott, Williams, & Wilkins.) Additional ongoing research includes model testing to identify variables associated with patient and family cost and quality of life.

Interventions being tested include support via in-home telehealth and systems with iPad audio-visual discussions with internet patient education for guiding daily home care. Dr. Smith's clinical trial outcomes have shown reduction in infusion catheter sepsis, improvements in managing depression and efficiency in managing resources of the family. Other nursing interventions such as caregivers mobile assistance, social support, patient to patient (peer) support and group clinics managed by nurse practitioners were likewise successfully tested. Cost-benefit analysis for family caregivers and nurse practitioner group clinics has been published. Research methodologies used include telephone interview and survey, model development/testing, meta-analysis, video scene and picture phone data analysis, time-series analysis and economic ratio comparisons.

Dr. Smith has more than 300 publications in medical, nursing and laymen journals. She has been invited to Washington, D.C., to present data and health policy information since the mid-1990s. Notably, she was an invited member of the State of the Science in Caregiving by AARP and Hartford Foundations. She was also an invited member of the NINR Special Emphasis Panel on Caregiving RFP applications. She was awarded the KU Higuchi Endowment Association Research Achievement Award, the University of Kansas Chancellor Teaching Award, the Sigma Theta Tau International Awards for Research and its Dissemination and the Chancellor's Research Award. Dr. Smith received an Honorary Doctorate in Medicine from the University of Turku in Finland where she has taught Clinical Trials Methods annually over the last 15 years.

Dissertation Chair, Dissertation Committee Member

CYNTHIA S. TEEL, RN, Ph.D., FAAN, Professor and Associate Dean, Academic Affairs, Professor, 2010C School of Nursing Building, (913) 588-1697

Emphasis areas of research: health services and bio-behavioral outcomes; evaluation approach

Dr. Teel's research emphasis areas are in social determinants of health, quality and safety. She is coordinating with the Kansas Action Coalition (KSAC), other state-supported schools of nursing and the University of Kansas Hospital to focus on advancing recommendations from the Institute of Medicine report, The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health. Dr. Teel's work with the KSAC includes partnering to better define the nursing workforce in Kansas and identify the needs of Kansas nurses. Among other projects, Dr. Teel's team conducted the state's first RN workforce study, a nursing leadership needs assessment, a determination of cultural competency awareness among nurses and an examination of the presence of cultural awareness content among the state's nursing educational programs. Each of these grant-funded projects has resulted in creating innovative, outcome-focused projects to address the identified needs. Most recently, the group is working on analyzing data from the 2016 Kansas Nurse Leader Residency Program and developing new resources for advancing cultural competency skill development based on study findings.

Dissertation Chair, Dissertation Committee Member

KAREN A. WAMBACH, Ph.D.,RN, IBCLC, FILCA, FAAN, Professor, Program Director, Ph.D. Program, and Coordinator BSN Honors Program, 3052 School of Nursing Building, (913) 588-1639

Emphasis areas of research: health promotion in women and children populations; bio-behavioral outcomes; comparative effectiveness approach; instrument development

Dr. Wambach's research program focuses on breastfeeding promotion and support, especially in vulnerable populations. She has conducted numerous quantitative and qualitative studies of social and behavioral factors relative to breastfeeding choice, initiation, exclusivity, maintenance and duration among adolescent mothers, ethnic minority groups and mainstream childbearing women. Her exploratory work with adolescent women led to comprehensive prenatal, in-hospital and postpartum interventions tested in a randomized clinical trial funded by the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR) titled "Promoting and Supporting Breastfeeding in Adolescents." Currently, Dr. Wambach and her interprofessional team are conducting a feasibility study of multiple health behavior interventions among pregnant and parenting adolescent women in preparation for a larger intervention trial. In addition, she is exploring the experiences of mothers donating their milk to a human milk bank for the purpose of developing a theory-based human milk donation intention and behavior measure.

Dr. Wambach's current and past funding includes, the MacArthur Interprofessional Collaboration Award; the National Institute of Nursing Research; multiple School of Nursing Faculty Research Awards; a KU Medical Center Research Institute bridging grant; funding from the International Lactation Consultant Association and Sigma Theta Tau Delta Chapter; and two National Research Service Awards, Individual and Institutional by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Dissertation Chair, Dissertation Committee Member

KRISTINE WILLIAMS, Ph.D., APRN, FNP-BC, FAAN, Professor, 3043 School of Nursing Building, (913) 588-1673

Emphasis areas of research: symptom science; health outcomes and the use of technology

Dr. Williams' research tests interventions to improve care for older adults by enhancing nursing communication, providing cognitive training for improved self-care and using technology to support caregivers. Her most recognized research focuses on establishing an association between elderspeak communication and disruptive behavior in persons with dementia. Elderspeak is talk that sounds like baby talk. A recently completed study funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) found that a three-session nursing home staff training program, called Changing Talk Intervention, significantly reduced the use of elderspeak and subsequently reduced disruptive behaviors during care activities. Dr. Williams' ongoing research includes expanding dissemination of Changing Talk Intervention to greater numbers of long term care settings and testing a self-monitoring app to reinforce reductions in elderspeak use by direct care staff.

Dr. Williams is currently working on an NIH-funded randomized clinical trial testing an application to support family members caring for a loved one with dementia at home. Caregivers of persons who exhibit dementia-related behaviors or experience challenging care situations can record episodes using a tablet-based app. The caregivers then upload the videos to a secure site for review by a team of experts who provide individualized feedback for managing care at home.

Additional NIH-funded research Dr. Williams is conducting found improvement in problem solving skills among a group of assisted living residents who received a cognitive training intervention focused on reasoning and applied problem solving skills compared to a control group. The next step for this research is a collaboration to test physical and cognitive exercise intervention in older adults with mild cognitive impairment.

Dissertation chair, Dissertation committee member

Last modified: Feb 03, 2017