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Current Research

Research Wheel

The KU School of Nursing research focuses on five emphasis areas-social determinants of heath, symptom science, data science, quality & safety, and health outcomes-that impact precision health. Precision health is an innovative approach to health promotion, disease prevention, and healthcare 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 understanding the biological and behavioral aspects of symptoms with the goal of developing and testing new interventions to reduce the disabling effects of symptoms and improving 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 is comprised of six dimensions of quality in healthcare: safety, effectiveness, patient-/family centeredness, timeliness, efficiency and equity.
  • Health outcome refers to the impact health and healthcare activities have on the person and their health, including the impact of the attitudes the person develops about their health and healthcare because of the activities.


SoN Research Faculty - 2018


MARTHA B. BAIRD, PhD, APRN/CNS-BC, CTN-A, Assistant Professor & Director, 3047 SoN Bldg. 913/588-3351

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

Dr. Baird's program of 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 US healthcare system.

She has 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 the topics related to Cultural Competence for healthcare organizations and professionals.  She is a scholar in the Transcultural Nursing Society Associate Editor for the Journal of Transcultural Nursing. In 2016 she was accepted into the Fulbright specialist roster.

Funded research includes a Dissertation Research Award by the Transcultural Nursing Society and an internal grant from the Office of Grants and Research (OGR) in the SoN; the MacArthur Interdisciplinary Research Award. Most recently she received a Frontiers Pilot Research Grant to conduct a mental health intervention, Healthy Sudanese Families with the South Sudanese refugee women,

Dissertation Committee Member


PAMELA K. BARNES, PhD, MBA, CSSGB, Education Assistant Professor & Associate Dean, Student Affairs and Enrollment Management, G020-B SoN Bldg., 913/588-1619

Emphasis areas of research:  Quality & Safety/Social Determinants of Health - Education

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

Dr. Barnes is associate dean for student affairs and enrollment management and an education assistant professor at the KU School of Nursing. In her role as associate dean, she collaborates as an executive team member with other associate deans in the School of Nursing in strategic planning, policy development, annual budgeting and fiscal monitoring, developing and implementing program initiatives, reviewing and revising admission requirements and evaluating quality for all missions of the school.

Dissertation Committee Member


SANDRA L. BERGQUIST-BERINGER, RN, PhD, Professor, 3044 SoN Bldg., 913/588-1609

Emphasis areas of research: Health Outcomes, Quality and Safety, and Quantitative Research Methodologies.

Program of research focuses on structure, process and outcomes across healthcare settings to improve patient safety and quality of care. Studies conducted include those on pressure ulcer risk and prevention in home health care, studies on pressure ulcer risk, prevention and outcomes in hospitalized patients, surveys to assess adoption of evidence based practice, the evaluation of a pressure ulcer education program, reliability studies, a study on wound assessment and measurement, emeasure development studies, and studies to examine the effect of nurse certification on pressure ulcer, catheter-associated urinary infection and surgical site infection outcomes. Quantitative research methodologies logistic and linear regression analysis with large and small databases. Qualitative methods include focus groups and content analysis.

Funded research studies include: (1) 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); (2) Faculty Research Grant, Office of Grants and Research for the study "Pressure Ulcer Prediction and Prevention in Home Health Care"; (3) Sigma Theta Tau, Delta Chapter for the study "Validation of a Tool to Monitor Healing of Pressure Ulcers"; (4) 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"; (5) ANA to guide and study the NDNQI Pressure Ulcer Indicator and Pressure Ulcer eMeasure; (6) AHRQ (R03) for the study "A Computerized Decision Support System (CDSS) to Translate Pressure Ulcer Prediction and Prevention to Home Health Care" and (7) 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, PhD, GNP-BC, ANEF, Associate Professor, 2038 SoN Bldg., 913/588-3363

Emphasis areas of research: Quality and Safety dimensions related to healthcare 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.

Dr. Bonnel served as Principal Investigator for two federally funded training grants from 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.

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 National League for Nursing.  Dr. Bonnel has chaired multiple dissertations with 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 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 served as a team member of the Culture Change in Nursing Homes study.

Dissertation Chair, Dissertation Committee Member


KELLY A. BOSAK, PhD, ANP-BC, Associate Professor, 3045 SON Bldg. 913/588-1656

Emphasis areas of research: Health behavior intervention technologies; novel methodologies; and bio-behavioral outcomes.

Dr. Bosak received a PhD in Nursing (2007) from the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Her dissertation research was partially funded by a grant from the American Heart Association #0610096Z.  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 Nebraska Health System, Clinical Research Center for laboratory work, Sigma Theta Tau National Honor Society of Nursing, Gamma Pi Chapter research award, and Phi Delta Gamma, Nu Chapter research award for Internet intervention development.

Since joining the University of Kansas (KU) School of Nursing (SON) faculty in 2008, Dr. Bosak received the NIH K12 Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women's Health (BIRCWH) award with competitive renewal (2010-2015) supporting research career development; participated in the Clinical and Translational Science Award, Post-Doctoral Research Practicum at Mayo Clinic (2010); received pilot funding from the KUMC 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 KU SON. 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, adaptive health behavior interventions for translation to clinical practice.

Dissertation Chair, Dissertation Committee Member


MARGE J. BOTT, RN, PhD, Associate Professor and Associate Dean for Research, SoN, Office of Grants and Research, 3010D SoN Bldg., 913/588-1692

Emphasis areas of research: Data science, Quality and Safety and Health Outcomes in gerontology populations; Determinants of Health

Past funding includes:  National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR) project that examined end-of-life care and the care planning process in nursing homes; Kansas Department on Aging contract that studied culture change (resident-centered care) and turnover in nursing homes. She is involved with several studies that examine caregiving, end-of-life, and palliative care.  She has served as a co-investigator on recently funded NINR project that developed Classical and Bayesian Instrument Development (CBID) software that combine 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 data analysis role on the "The National Database of Nursing Quality Indicators" funded by Press Ganey and the Blue Cro. Has expertise in doing various types of data management including working with large databases and data analysis procedures including structural equation modeling. 

Dissertation Chair, Dissertation Committee Member


HEATHER V. NELSON-BRANTLEY, PhD, RN, CCRN-K, Clinical Instructor, 3066 SoN Bldg., 913/588-1696

Emphasis areas: 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 currently is 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 PACE in meeting its goal of caring for the elderly in the community.  Dr. Nelson-Brantley is 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


CARA A. BUSENHART, PhD, CNM, APRN, Clinical Assistant Professor, 2071 SoN Bldg., 913/588-3354

Emphasis areas: Quality & safety (interprofessional education, best practices for midwifery care); Methodologies (Delphi).

Dr. Busenhart is Program Director of the Nurse-Midwifery Education Program and Advanced Practice. As Program Director of these graduate clinical programs, Cara works collaboratively with the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs for Graduate Programs and other Program Directors to strategically plan, develop and implement program initiatives, and evaluate the quality for academic affairs.  Additionally, Dr. Busenhart implements and evaluates the advanced practice programs. 

Cara provides women's health prenatal care at Silver City Health Center (the faculty practice of KUSON) Maternal Options that Matter (a teaching clinic with Family Medicine residency and nurse-midwifery students); prenatal care and well-woman care at JayDoc Free Health Clinic (a medical student-run clinic); and intrapartum management at KU Hospital Labor and Delivery, where she supervises nurse-midwifery and medical students, as well as Family Medicine and Emergency Department residents.

Dr. Busenhart's research has dealt with the use of competencies in Interprofessional Education (IPE).  Dr. Busenhart 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 RNs experiences with simulation during their nursing education and its' impact on role transition. Currently Dr. Busenhart is investigating best practices for transfer from a homebirth setting to the hospital setting via a modified Delphi approach interested in investigating adherence to a standard treatment bundle for severe sepsis in perinatal patients.


EMILY CRAMER, PhD, Research Assistant Professor, 3064 SoN Bldg., 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 PhD 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) at KU SoN. She is currently the co-principal investigator of a research contract with Press Ganey Associates, to develop measures and continue research with NDNQI data. Through NDNQI, her research has focused 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. Her other research activities include quality indicator and survey development and reliability and validity testing of quality indicators. Dr. Cramer 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.


NANCY DUNTON, PhD, FAAN,  Research Professor, School of Nursing with a joint appointment in the Department of Health Policy and Management. Director, Center for Data Science. 3069 SoN Bldg., 913/588-1456

Emphasis areas of research: Data science; quality and safety of healthcare; and healthcare quality measure development. 

Current research funded by:  Econometrica/Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Virginia Commonwealth University/Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Press Ganey/National Database of Nursing Quality Indicators

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

Dissertation Co-Chair, Dissertation Committee Member


NELDA  GODFREY, PhD, RN, ACNS-BC, FAAN, Professor (tenure-track)& Associate Dean, Innovative Partnerships and Practice,  2036 SoN Bldg., 913/588-1654

Emphasis areas of research: Quality and safety is comprised of six dimensions of quality in healthcare: safety, effectiveness, patient-/family centeredness, timeliness, efficiency and equity. Evaluation and ethical approaches.

Current funding:   Kansas Department of Corrections.

Dr. Godfrey leads the SON initiatives for innovative partnerships and practice and focuses her research interests in quality in healthcare, particularly in the areas of effectiveness and equity.  She has taught courses in the Organizational Leadership Master's program, the PhD program, and has led and taught in the BSN 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, Sydney, Australia.   Additional research interests include leadership theory and application, healthcare ethics in the public square, and philosophic inquiry.

Dissertation Committee Member


SALLY L. MALISKI, PhD, RN, FAAN, Dean, Professor & KUCC Associate Director for Health Equity, G040 SoN Bldg., 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 PI 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-PI on an NINR R25 to explore decision-making processes among altruistic and directed kidney donors and Co-I on an American Cancer Society (ACS) 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 PI 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". "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 SEEDS Program - KUMC Center for Health Informatics, 2044-A SoN Bldg., 913/588-1671

Emphasis areas: health outcomes; quality and safety

Data visualization and use of structured data for knowledge discovery. The design and testing of data structures with focus on data, information, knowledge and use of informatics to support nursing wisdom. Evaluating the use of academic electronic health record as an educational teaching strategy.

Interprofessional Collaborative Acute Care Practice (ICAP) objective: To enhance interprofessional collaborative practice and IP education. Integration of collaborative care model and transitions of care from inpatient through the discharge chasm utilizing telehealth and other technologies, and then through handoff to the outpatient primary care provider.

Communication Research objectives: Understanding how healthcare providers describe themselves and their roles in providing patient care; How healthcare providers describe other healthcare professionals and their respective roles in providing patient care; How patients describe language choices used by healthcare professionals to refer to each other in front of patients; Understanding the possible influence (consequences) of language choices made by these professionals on the ability of groups of healthcare 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 completed her DNP Project on Managing Workplace Bullying: A Baseline Assessment of Nurses' Knowledge. Using the Adult Learning Theory, the Oppressed Group Model Theory, and a systematic review of the literature, Dr. McGee created and distributed a self-assessment to assess 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 has now been included in local nurse residency programs where Dr. McGee lectures three-four times an academic year.

Dr. McGee is Program Director for Leadership Program. This program includes Master of Science (MS) and Doctor of Nursing Practice (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 KUMC Diversity & Inclusion Cabinet, and she is the current president of Delta Chapter, Honor Society of Nursing - Sigma Theta Tau International.


KAREN L. MILLER, RN, PhD, FAAN, Professor, 4037 SoN Bldg., 913/588-1658

Emphasis areas: Health outcomes; Data Science

Research focus is health care outcomes through study of health care delivery systems; health care 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.  Recently funded by the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City & REACH Foundation Grant Project ($48,481), Cultural Competency Curriculum Enhancement Project.  Was funded 2008-2010 by the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City & REACH Foundation Grant Project ($74,543), Cultural Competency Faculty Preparation Pilot Program, University of Kansas School of Nursing, Kansas City, KS.  Previous funding by National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR), National Institutes of Health (NIH) for "Effects of a Policy for Managing Children's Pain," Co-investigator; "Work Sampling Validation of Pediatric Patient Classification I-II", Co-investigator, funded by The Children's Hospital, Denver, Colorado; "Multiple Case Comparison of Nursing Practice Models: Rehabilitation Unit Pilot Study", Principal Investigator, funded by the Kempe Research Center, Denver, Colorado.

Among current and past national committee appointments, Dr. Miller has held membership on an Institute of Medicine committee examining a federal health care facility merger and the Commission on Workforce for Hospitals & 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 four-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 on-line Journal of Nursing Education.  She also serves on corporate Boards of Directors including the University of Kansas Hospital in Kansas City, KU HealthPartners, Inc., and the Watson Caring Science Institute.

Dissertation Chair, Dissertation Committee Member


LISA M. FINK OGAWA, PhD, RN, CNE, Clinical Assistant Professor, Program Director, Quality and Safety Scholarship, 2018 SoN Bldg., 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, leaning theories and pedagogies to enhance and improve learner experiences and improve learning outcomes in the classroom and in the online environment, inter-professional teamwork in the online environment, 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 setting.

She leads an organizational program to increase the number of trained faculty, staff, students, and hospital staff on quality and safety science. She has received local funding and funding from 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 inter-professional learning strategies, emerging healthcare 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 using quality and safety as a method for capstone and dissertations.

Dissertation Committee Member, DNP Chairperson, DNP Committee Member


DANIELLE M. OLDS, MPH, PhD, RN, CIC, Research Assistant Professor, 3065 SoN Bldg., 913-588-0426

Emphasis areas: quality and safety, data science, and health services research

Dr. Olds is focused on furthering the science of healthcare quality and patient safety. As a faculty member at the University of Kansas School of Nursing, 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 CMS 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 KU 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, and innovations in quality improvement research methods.

She completed a PhD at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing as a pre-doctoral fellow in the Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research. Following her PhD, Dr. Olds completed a 3-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, PhD, RN, Assistant Professor, 3049 SoN Bldg., 913/588-1624

Emphasis areas of research: Patient safety, quality improvement, healthcare effectiveness, nursing workforce, nursing work environment, data science, nursing health services research

Dr. Park's program of research has been focused on nursing workforce, nursing work environments, and their relationship to patient safety and quality of care. Dr. Park has been involved in various research projects on 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, nurse turnover, nursing work environments, patient outcomes, and quality and safety. Dr. Park has published her papers in high quality 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, KU SoN, and NDNQI, now owned by Press Ganey.  Dr. Park was also a recipient of the 2014 CGEAN (Council on Graduate Education for Administration in Nursing) Experience Career Award.  Dr. Park is currently the principal investigator for the project of the patient turnover indicator development at NDNQI and a co-investigator for the project of 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, PhD, APRN-CNS, Assistant Professor, 3027 SoN Bldg., 913/588-3396

Emphasis areas: 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 a community based qualitative research to understand the perceptions of health and healthcare 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 Director 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, PhD, RN, Associate Clinical Professor, 3055 SoN Bldg., 913/588-1644

Emphasis areas: Social determinants of Health (e.g., special needs adults [Down Syndrome]; historical research methods

Dr. Peterson has conducted historical research on nurses in the military in particular WW1 & 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 projects in the past has been provided through 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, PhD, APRN, CCRN, FAAN   Professor, 3028 SoN Bldg., 913/588-1663

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

Currently, my research team is investigating if ubiquinol reduces cellular damage in traumatic brain injury (TBI).  This year we will are examining the effects of intravenous ubiquinol (coenzyme Q10) as it relates to brain mitochondrial bioenergetics. Our experiments will assist us to determine if this treatment will attenuate brain apoptosis and mitochondrial damage.  We are using various laboratory techniques. For brain apoptosis we use fluorescent microscopy, transmission electron microscopy for imaging mitochondrial damage, proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (1H-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.  Our 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. We are 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.

My 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).  We are using 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 have improved myocardial activity.

Dissertation Chair, Dissertation Committee Member


QIUHUA SHEN, PhD, APRN, RN,  Assistant Professor, 3050 SoN Bldg., 913/588-1855

Emphasis areas: Symptom Science, Data Science, Health Outcomes.

Dr. Shen's program of 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. Particular research interest is related to heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (diastolic heart failure), insulin resistance, and type 2 diabetes. Other research interest includes promoting nursing academic progression in implementing the Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommendations on the Future of Nursing.

Current research include: 1) 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; 2) investigating the effects of ubiquinol (reduced form of coenzyme Q10) in preventing and reducing cellular damage following traumatic brain injury; and 3) promoting nursing education and leadership through working with the Promoting Nursing Education in Kansas (PNEK) team, Kansas Action Coalition.

Past research activities include: 1) examining the relationship between major depression and insulin resistance using the national database of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) and 2) 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, PhD, Professor, 3062 SoN Bldg., 913/588-1667

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

Currently funded by National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR) for "Technology Home Caregiving with HPN Families", " Support in HPN Caregivers", and The National Health Lung & Blood Institute (NHLBI), National Institutes of Health (NIH) "Heart Failure Group Clinic Appointments with Nurse Practitioners (NP)" and currently "Use of iPads for Connecting Chronically Ill and Professionals". 

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.  The NP group clinic was selected by National HF Nurses Association as "A Program Design Innovation Showcase for HF Management".  Dr. Smith also was been named as an NIH Interdisciplinary Women's Health Research Mentor and by American Heart Association as an Interdisciplinary Sponsor on Clinical Trials Research.

Dr. Smith's current research activities/interests are assisting patients and their family caregivers who manage complex chronic illnesses such as home parenteral nutrition daily infusions and highly technical care in the home.  Subjects in her past studies were families with adults dependent on mechanical respiratory assistance, those requiring CPAP or other complex devices and all family members including children.  Dr. Smith has developed and replicated across these populations with SEM the Caregiving Effectiveness Model.  This model is named a Midrange Theory Exemplar to guide practice.  Model testing to identify variables associated with patient and family cost and quality of life is ongoing.

Interventions being tested include: support via in-home Telehealth, systems with iPad audio-visual discussions with internet patient education for guiding daily technology home care.  Dr. Smith's clinical trial outcomes have shown reduction in infusion catheter sepsis, improvements in managing depression, and efficiency in managing human 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 for 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 numerous publications in medical, nursing and laymen journals.  She is invited to Washington, DC to present data and health policy information from mid-90s to present.  Notably she has been an Invited Member of the State of the Science in Caregiving NIH and the AARP in Interdisciplinary panels and on the Capital Hill Congressional Science panel: Technology to Support Family Caregiving.

Dr. Smith was an invited member of the NIH grant review panel 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 University in Finland where she has taught Clinical Trials Methods annually over the last 15 years.

Dissertation Chair, Dissertation Committee Member


CYNTHIA S. TEEL, RN, PhD, FAAN, Professor & Associate Dean, Academic Affairs, SoN, Professor, 2010C SoN Bldg., 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 and Quality and Safety.  She is coordinating the Kansas Action Coalition (KSAC), in partnership with other state-supported schools of nursing and the University of Kansas Hospital, to focus on advancing recommendations from the IOM 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 needs of Kansas nurses. Among other projects, Dr. Teel's team conducted the state's first RN Workforce study, a nursing leadership needs assessment, determination of cultural competency awareness among nurses, and determining 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, PhD,RN, IBCLC, FILCA, FAAN, Professor, Program Director, PhD Program, and Coordinator BSN Honors Program,  3052 SoN Bldg., 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.  Dr. Wambach 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 National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR) titled "Promoting and Supporting Breastfeeding in Adolescents". Currently Dr. Wambach and her inter-professional 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' experiences of donating their milk to a human milk bank for the purpose of development of 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, PhD, APRN, FNP-BC, FAAN, Professor, 3043 SoN Bldg., 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 research focuses on the areas of symptom science, health outcomes, and the use of technology to provide precision health.

Dr. Williams' 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 significantly reduced the use of elderspeak and subsequently reduced disruptive behaviors during care activities.  Ongoing research is planned to expand dissemination of the Changing Talk Intervention to greater numbers of long term care settings and to test a self-monitoring app to reinforce reductions in elderspeak use by direct care staff.

A current NIH-funded randomized clinical trial study is testing an application to support family members caring for a loved one with dementia at home.  Caregivers of persons with dementia who exhibit dementia related behaviors or who experience challenging care situations can record care episodes using a tablet-based app, and 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 found that applied problem solving skills needed to manage everyday living in Assisted Living residences were improved in a group who received a cognitive training intervention that focused on reasoning and applied problem solving skills compared to a control group.  The next step for this research is a collaboration to test a combined physical and cognitive exercise intervention in older adults with mild cognitive impairment.

Dissertation chair, Dissertation committee member


Last modified: Dec 27, 2018