Current Research

Research Wheel

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

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. 

Below is an alphabetical list of School of Nursing Research faculty with current research emphasis areas and projects. All of the following faculty are authorized to chair masters' theses. Those with dissertation chairing privileges are indicated.

Lauren S. Aaronson, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, Professor, School of Nursing and Department of Health Policy and Management, School of Medicine, 3027 SON Bldg., (913) 588-1789.

Emphasis areas: varying populations (women & children, disabled); bio-behavioral outcomes; community-based participatory approach.

Dr. Aaronson also is the deputy director of Frontiers:  The Heartland Institute for Clinical and Translational Research and one of the two Principal Investigators on the recently funded Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) that places Frontiers (and KUMC) among only 60 institutions nationally funded by the National Institutes of Health for this major program to support and promote clinical and translational research and education.

Dr. Aaronson's research sits squarely in the health promotion arena with a focus on outcomes among varying populations. She recently completed a project as Principal Investigator on a sub-contract with KU-Lawrence and senior Co-Investigator on the parent grant,"Exercise Trial for Wheelchair Users" (PI: K. Grobe) funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Development (NICHD) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). She previously was theCo-investigator on two National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR) grants: "Promoting and Supporting Breastfeeding in Adolescents" (PI: K. Wambach) and "Symptom Responses to Exercise in Rheumatoid Arthritis" (PI: G. Neuberger); and was recently funded by NINR, NIH for the establishment of an "Exploratory Center for Bio-behavioral Studies of Fatigue Management" as Principal Investigator and Center Director.

Other past research includes previous funding as PI by NINR, NIH for "Nursing Factors in Pregnancy Health Behavior and Outcome", a privately funded project, "Dietary Intervention for Hypercholesterolemia" (PI: C. Orringer), and studies of fatigue in healthy persons and those with chronic fatigue syndrome (with L. Pallikkathayil).

Dissertation chair, Dissertation committee member.

Martha B. Baird, Ph.D., APRN, CTN-A, Clinical Assistant Professor, 3065 SON Bldg., (913) 588-3351

Emphasis areas: 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 is currently conducting a Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR) project with the refugee community in the Kansas City area to address social determinants related to health outcomes.

Dr. Baird frequently presents on the topics related to Cultural Competence for healthcare organizations and professionals. She has started a local chapter of the Transcultural Nursing Society and is a peer reviewer for the Journal of Transcultural Nursing.

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 to fund the CBPR project.

Dissertation Committee Member.

Pamela K. Barnes, Ph.D., MBA, CSSGB, Associate Dean of Student Affairs, Research Assistant Professor, G020-B SoN Bldg., (913) 588-4296

Emphasis areas: Outcomes and evaluation approach.

Dr. Barnes is associate dean for Student Affairs and a research 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.

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 organizational performance through competencies encompassing constituent insights, professional development, team learning, and inter-organizational transfer of learning. She created the Motivational Conditions in Learning Instrument© used in quantifying learner perceptions of conditions eliciting intrinsic motivation to learn in both classroom and out-of-classroom team-based learning environments.  

Dissertation committee member. 

Sandra L. Bergquist-Beringer, Ph.D., RN, Associate Professor, 3044 SON Bldg., (913) 588-1609

Emphasis areas: gerontology and adult populations; patient safety & bio-behavioral outcomes; large database analysis approach.

Program of research focuses on pressure ulcer process indicators 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 ulcers in hospitalized patients, surveys to assess adoption of evidence based practice, evaluation of a pressure ulcer education program, reliability studies, tool validation, and wound assessment and measurement. Research methodologies include large database analysis, quantitative methods including logistic regression analysis, and qualitative methods (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 for "The Reliability of the NDNQI Pressure Ulcer Indicator"; and (6) AHRQ (R03) for the study "A Computerized Decision Support System (CDSS) to Translate Pressure Ulcer Prediction and Prevention to Home Health Care".

Dissertation chair, Dissertation committee member.

Wanda Bonnel, Ph.D., GNP-BC, ANEF, Associate Professor, 2069 SON Bldg., (913) 588-3363

Emphasis areas: varying student and gerontology populations; evaluation approach.

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 online course feedback to students. This work includes two funded projects from the 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 capstone 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 recently 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, Assistant Professor, 3045 SON Bldg., (913) 588-1656

Emphasis areas: Cardio-pulmonary populations; 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 specifically targeted to reduce cardio-metabolic disease risk. Her dissertation research received a graduate student award at the Midwest Nursing Research Society Conference in 2007. She also 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, a Sigma Theta Tau National Honor Society of Nursing, Gamma Pi Chapter research award, and Phi Delta Gamma, Nu Chapter research award for 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 award supporting research career development; participated in the Clinical and Translational Science Award, Post-Doctoral Research Practicum at Mayo Clinic in the Fall 2010; and received pilot funding from the KUMC Research Institute in the Spring 2011 to study the neurophysiology of health behavior in interdisciplinary collaboration with an expert in functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

Dr. Bosak's program of research intersects the Cardiology Population and Bio-behavioral Outcomes research emphasis areas identified by the KU SON. Her career goals are to conduct clinical trials to support physical activity and other cardio-metabolic risk reduction interventions, investigating strategies for adherence of health behaviors, and specifically tailored to information and communication technology. The ultimate goal of her research is development of a theoretical model of adherence to health behaviors, and translation of evidence-based interventions into clinical practice.

Dissertation Committee Member

Marge J. Bott, Ph.D., RN, Associate Professor and Associate Dean for Research, 3010D SON Bldg., (913) 588-1692

Emphasis areas: gerontology populations; health services & nursing quality & patient safety outcomes; large database analysis approach.

Currently funded on the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR) project that is examining end-of-life care in nursing homes. Recently funded as Principal Investigator on the Kansas Department on Aging contract that studied culture change (resident-centered care) and turnover in nursing homes. And as a Co-Principal Investigator on the NINR funded study that examined the Minimum Data Set (MDS) care planning process in nursing homes to identify associations with resident outcomes as well as estimate costs and assess efficiency.

Other project collaborator and data analysis roles include: "The National Database of Nursing Quality Indicators" (PI: N. Dunton). 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.

Emily Cramer, Ph.D., Research Assistant Professor, 110-B Support Service Bldg., (913) 945-7921

Emphasis areas: Nursing Quality, Nursing Work Environment, Patient Outcomes, Research Methods and Measurement

Current research activities: Interim Research Team Manager of the National Database of Nursing Quality Indicators (NDNQI®). NDNQI is sponsored by the American Nurses Association (ANA) and is part of ANA's Nursing Quality and Patient Safety agenda. NDNQI is a repository for longitudinal data from over 1,800 hospitals across the United States on nurse staffing, nurse turnover, and nursing sensitive patient outcome and safety indicators. Patient outcome (e.g., nosocomial infections, hospital acquired pressure ulcers) and safety (e.g., falls with injury) indicators are collected from such units as medical, surgical, progressive care, rehabilitation, critical care, pediatric, and psychiatric units.

NDNQI also conducts an annual RN Survey from nurses employed in all unit types (e.g., medical, surgical, critical care, pediatric, psychiatric, peri-operative, outpatient, etc.). The Survey contains either Job Satisfaction Scales or the Practice Environment Scale. The Survey also contains items on the context in which RNs practice and their intent to stay in the job.

Research interests include: RN education and certification, Quality of Care, Patient Safety and Outcomes, Reliability and Validity of Measures Methodologies: Quantitative methods. Advanced statistical techniques including longitudinal analysis, mediation, and latent variable models 

Elaine Williams Domian, Ph.D., ARNP, Clinical Assistant Professor, 2040 SoN Bldg., (913) 588-1679

Emphasis areas: vulnerable populations (women & children); qualitative approaches.

Dr. Domian's research focus and interest are in qualitative research with vulnerable populations-specifically understanding the cultural impact on health, health interventions and outcomes for ethnically diverse women and children.

Her past research includes 4 years funded NRSA Pre-doctoral Fellowship, Individual and Institutional National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR), 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. Domianhas also been aCo-investigatorwithDr. Karen Wambach, Principal Investigator, on a National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR) funded research study on "Promoting and Supporting Breast-feeding in Adolescents." She has also 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 child abuse and neglect. She continues her research in this area as she is now involved in a qualitative case study with mothers that received a 3 year intervention program to prevent child abuse and neglect.

Dissertation committee member.

Nancy Dunton, Ph.D., Research Professor, School of Nursing and Department of Health Policy and Management, Suite 112 Support Services Bldg., (913) 588-1456

Emphasis areas: nursing quality & patient safety outcomes in acute care settings; large database analysis approach.

Currently funded by the American Nurses Association as Principal Investigator on the National Database of Nursing Quality Indicators (NDNQI®).

Past research has focused on nursing home quality, the outcomes of welfare reform, indicators of children's well-being, use of Census data, and various survey research projects.

Dissertation Co-chair, Dissertation committee member.

Daine Ebbert, Ph.D., APRN, FNP-BC, Assistant Professor and Program Director for Advanced Practice Programs, 3054 SON Bldg., (913) 588-1649 

Emphasis areas:  Health services outcomes, vulnerable populations, and large database analysis

Dr. Ebbert's research interest is in the area of health policy with a special interest in vulnerable populations, access to care, and health care disparities. Dr. Ebbert's dissertation was a study of the relationship of duration of time without health insurance with access 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

Lisa M. Fink, Ph.D., RN,  OGAWA, Clinical Assistant Professor, Director of Quality and Safety Scholarship, 2018 SON Bldg., (913) 588-1684

Emphasis areas of research: 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.

In addition, she works with the American Indian populations to understand their educational needs across the lifespan using community participatory action research methods.   She is conducting a project to increase the number of trained hospital staff and faculty on quality and safety science. She has received local funding and funding from the Institute for Healthcare Improvement to design, conduct, and evaluate this project. 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.

Also, she is building a program of research and scholarship examining quality and safety from the academic perspective. She will support students using quality and safety as a method for capstone and dissertations.

Dissertation Committee member 

Debra J. Ford, Ph.D., Program Director-Leadership, & Research Assistant Professor, G020-D SON Bldg., (913) 588-4296 

Emphasis areas: Organizational communication; leadership

Dr. Ford's research focuses upon strategies used by organizations to influence public policy, with a specific focus on health policy; group communication processes in public-private partnerships and high reliability organizations, and the scholarship of teaching and learning. She has published a textbook, Organizational Rhetoric: Situations and Strategies, with Mary Hoffman, PhD, published in 2010.

Dissertation committee member

M. Elaine Frank-Ragan, Ph.D., RN, Clinical Associate Professor, 3066 SoN Bldg., 913/588-3377   Emphasis areas: Human motivation in sexual behavior; cultural diversity, healthcare disparity and organizational leadership.   No active research program at present. Currently working as Director of Cultural Enrichment Program and teach in the Organizational Leadership area. Dr. Frank-Ragan has served in a variety of leadership roles including Department Chair, Associate Provost and Associate Dean. As professor of psychiatric/mental health nursing and community mental health for several years her major focus was primary prevention, nurse advocacy and developing clinical measures of quality nursing care. Other interest areas include faculty and curriculum development, and continuous quality improvement in higher education. 

Nelda S. Godfrey, Ph.D., RN, ACNS-BC, Clinical Associate Professor amd, Associate Dean, Undergraduate Programs, 2036 SON Bldg., (913) 588-1654 

Emphasis areas: evaluation and ethical approaches.

Current funding: The Health Alliance of Mid America, LLC, for Influencer programming through VitalSmarts, Inc., and the Kansas Department of Corrections.

Dr. Godfrey has taught courses in the Organizational Leadership track of the master's program at KU and served as a Doctorate o Nursing Practice committee member and chair. She currently teaches NURS 440 Leadership and Management in Nursing in the undergraduate BSN program. Her program of study fits within the Outcomes research emphasis area and is specifically focused on Nursing Quality and Patient Safety. She and her colleague, Nancy Crigger, have co-authored "The Making of Nurse Professionals: A Transformational Ethical Approach", published August 2010 by Jones and Bartlett. Additional research interests include leadership theory and application, healthcare ethics in the public square, and philosophic inquiry.

Dissertation committee member

Heejung Kim, Ph.D., RN, Assistant Professor, 3064 SON Bldg., (913) 588-1657

Emphasis areas: Caregiver burden in informal caregivers of people with dementia; large database analysis approach.

Dr. Kim's program of research primarily centers on Internet use as a caregiver resource for informal caregivers of individuals with dementia. Her dissertation, completed in 2012, evaluated how general health-related internet use affects the relationship between caregiver stress and a health status in dementia caregivers based on Pearlin's stress process model. To support this study, she has been actively involved in dementia caregiver research and secondary data analysis with advanced statistics, such as factor analysis, mediating analyses and structural equation modeling. In addition, her secondary research interest is sleep disturbances in informal caregiver.

She was a recipient of the Student of the Year Award from Korean-American Scientists and Engineers Association-Central Virginia Chapter in 2012.   Dr. Kim's long-term career goal is to advance the quality of life for both individuals living with dementia and their informal caregivers by identifying better ways to support their health and wellbeing. Her short-term goal is to develop new nursing interventions that will facilitate their use of both actual and virtual healthcare services and resources during the disease and caregiving trajectory, especially in medically underserved situations.

Kelli Lee Kramer-Jackman, Ph.D., RN, ARNP, FNP, BC, Clinical Assistant Professor, 2017 SON Bldg., (913) 945-6814   Emphasis areas: bio-behavioral outcomes; informatics outcomes.

Current study with co-researcher Dr. Popkess-Vawter RN PHD, titled the Online Weight and Tension Study. This study was funded by the Clinical Faculty Research Grant and involves instrument development of three computerized tension measures to assess overeating, skipped exercise, and poor self-esteem for use with weight management patients.

Current study with co-research Dr. Judith Warren, PhD, RN, titled A Systematic Assessment of Web 2.0 Technologies for Online Students. This multi-university, interdisciplinary study will be evaluating selected Web 2.0 technologies influence on the learning experience for online healthcare students; assessing the impact of these technologies in developing informatics competencies; and describing student impressions of faculty presence revealed in use of Web 2.0 tools.

Research interests include: (1) technology-delivered instrument development for healthcare including EHR quality measures and indicators; (2) bariatric patient care focusing on prevention of hospital-bed falls and injuries; and (3) teaching technologies to improve learning experiences with on-line healthcare students.  

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, 2041 SoN Bldg., (913) 588-1671  

Emphasis areas: Informatics outcomes in education and clinical practice and Interprofessional (IP) Education and IP Collaborative Practice 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.   SEEDS objective as PI: to enhance the development of critical thinking and problem solving, to integrate online patient assessment, problem identification, treatment, and evaluation, to demonstrate the impact that structured data and information have on patient care, to provide the information infrastructure for evidence-based clinical practice, and to promote the dissemination and evaluation of knowledge and research.   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: To understand- how healthcare providers describe themselves and their roles in providing patient care, how they 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, and 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. 

Karen L. Miller, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, Senior Vice Chancellor, Academic & Student Affairs, Dean and Professor, G040 SON Bldg., (913) 588-1601
Emphasis areas: health services outcomes; evaluation approach.

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.

Peggy A. Miller, Ph.D., RN, Research Assistant Professor, 110-D Support Service Bldg., (913) 588-1648 

Emphasis areas: nursing quality & patient safety outcomes, large database analysis

Current research activities:  Co-investigator of the National Database of Nursing Quality Indicators (NDNQI®).  NDNQI is sponsored by the American Nurses Association (ANA) and is part of ANA's Nursing Quality and Patient Safety agenda. NDNQI is a repository for longitudinal data from over 1800 hospitals across the United States on nurse staffing, nurse turnover, and nursing sensitive patient outcome and safety indicators. Patient outcome (e.g., nosocomial infections, hospital acquired pressure ulcers) and safety (e.g., falls with injury) indicators are collected from such units as medical, surgical, progressive care, rehabilitation, critical care, pediatric, and psychiatric units. NDNQI also conducts an annual RN Survey from nurses employed in all unit types (e.g., medical, surgical, critical care, pediatric, psychiatric, peri-operative, outpatient, etc.). The Survey contains either Job Satisfaction Scales or the Practice Environment Scale. The Survey also contains items on the context in which RNs practice and their intent to stay in the job. Research interests include: RN job satisfaction and turnover; nursing workforce characteristics. Methodologies: quantitative, large database analysis

Dissertation committee member.

Geri Budesheim Neuberger. RN,  EdD, Professor, 3052 SON Bldg., (913) 588-3374 

Emphasis areas: varying vulnerable populations (elderly); bio-behavioral outcomes.

Current research-related activity: I assist graduate students for NRSG 898 research projects to write a clinical question in PICO format and conduct a library database research for research articles to answer their PICO question. The final paper includes an analysis of each research study article, its level of research evidence, a critical analyses of the strengths and weaknesses of the studies, and implications for nursing practice. Since 2007, three of these projects have led to articles published in professional nursing journals. This is one way to disseminate nursing research.

Previous research:

Safety officer on funded National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant, "Exercise for Wheelchair Users" (PI: K. Grobe) (1/01/06-1/01/10).  No cost extension until 2/1/11.

Project Coordinator on funded HRSA grant, "Career Ladder, Adult-Geriatric CNS/Clinical Educator" (PI: W. Bonnel) (6/01/04-6/30/07).

Funded (9/20/96 - 6/30/02) by the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR) as Principal Investigator for RO1 study entitled "Symptom Responses to Exercise in Rheumatoid Arthritis Clients."

Other past research includes previous funding by NINR, NIH through the Exploratory Center for Bio-behavioral Studies of Fatigue Management, Lauren Aaronson, RN, PhD, Principal Investigator, Center Director, additional support from Delta Chapter, Sigma Theta Tau and the Research Office of the School of Nursing: Study #2 entitled: "Correlates of Fatigue in Rheumatoid Arthritis Clients."

Funded by NINR, NIH through grant no. R21NR01507, National Research Emphasis Grant Doctoral Program in Nursing, NINR, NIH, Roma Lee Taunton, RN, PhD, Principal Investigator, Geri Neuberger, RN, EdD, Project Director of study: "Determinants of Exercise and Aerobic Fitness in Outpatients with Arthritis."

Funded by the National Arthritis Foundation, "A comparison of the relative effects of instruction contracting and practice on knowledge of and compliance to an arthritis treatment regimen."

Dissertation chair, Dissertation committee member.

Shin Hye Park, Ph.D., RN, Assistant Professor, 3049 SON Bldg., (913) 588-1642

Emphasis areas: Nurse workforce, nursing work environments, quality of care and patient safety.

Dr. Park's program of research primarily focuses on nursing workforce characteristics, nursing work environments, and their relationship to patient outcomes in acute care hospitals. She has been involved in various research projects on nursing workforce and patient outcomes using large-scale databases such as the University HealthSystem Consortium data, the American Hospital Association data, and the National Database of Nursing Quality Indicators data.

Dr. Park's research has been published in Medical Care, Research in Nursing & Health, and Journal of Nursing Administration. Currently, she is a principal investigator on a research project of examining quality of care and nursing work environments with high patient turnover, which is funded by the Sigma Theta Tau International.

She received her Ph.D. from the University of California at San Francisco, and her MSN and BSN from Seoul National University in Seoul, South Korea. She completed a post-doctoral fellowship in the National Database of Nursing Quality Indicators® at the University of Kansas. 

Jill N. Peltzer, Ph.D., RN, APRN-CNS, Clinical Instructor, 2052 SON Bldg., (913) 588-3396

Emphasis areas: HIV/AIDS and women; nursing interventions to address bio-behavioral outcomes among vulnerable populations; qualitative research methodologies.  

Dr. Peltzer is developing a program of research focusing on HIV/AIDS and vulnerable women. She is currently developing a pilot study to test the fidelity of an in-home nursing intervention to decrease psychological distress and optimize self-care behaviors among young African-American HIV-infected women.

Her dissertation research was a Heideggerian phenomenological study titled "Infected Lives: A Heideggerian Phenomenological Study of Young African American HIV-Positive Women", which was funded by the Academy of Med/Surg Nursing and the University of Kansas School of Nursing Alumni Association.   Other research includes previous funding from KUMC Search for a qualitative study exploring factors that promoted a sustainable community health center, titled "The Development of a Comprehensive Community Health Center in a Rural Community: A Qualitative Case Study".   

Moya Peterson, Ph.D., RN, Assistant Professor, 3055 SON Bldg., (913) 588-1644 

Emphasis areas: Special needs adults (Down's Syndrome); historical research methods

Dr. Peterson's is conducting historical research on the nurses in the military in particular WWII, and I do research on a variety of topics concerning adults with Down's Syndrome. Currently we are looking at the iPad technology and applications for special needs adults, but would consider any topic that would help adults with Down's Syndrome.Funding for projects dealing withDown Syndromehas been provided throughSpecial 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

Ubolrat Piamjarizyakul, Ph.D., RN, Research Assistant Professor, 3058 SON Bldg., (913) 588-1544 

Emphasis areas: cardio-pulmonary populations; health services and bio-behavioral outcomes; large database analysis approach.

Dr. Piamjariyakul's program of research is to test national clinical based guidelines to improve health care services delivery interventions. Outcomes are patients and family members' increased ability to make appropriate self-management decisions along with their healthcare professionals and chronic illness care.

Dr. Piamjariyakul was awarded highly competitive intramural and extramural grants to conduct focus group research to discover critical factors from professionals, patients, and family members contributing to chronic illness management. Her data revealed that family providing complex home care (caregiving) is a unique aspect in patients' heart failure self-management. Subsequently, she collaborated with a nurse practitioner at Mid America Cardiology and received funding from the Bernard Saperstein Caregiving Grant to test a new education program for caregivers to improve heart failure home care management. In addition, Dr. Piamjariyakul is currently a recipient of a Diversity Supplement award on an NIH-funded heart failure research project.

Interventions being tested are with chronically ill population, group clinics appointment, internet patient and family education, costs of nursing interventions, medication therapeutic dosages, coaching strategies to improve patients and family members' home care management and internet data entry methods.

Dr. Piamjariyakul has exhibited her collaborative efforts through her work on an invited book chapter regarding a systematic review of telemedicine utilization and coaching strategies to improve heart failure home care management. She has published in a variety of multidisciplinary peer-reviewed journals including Nursing Economic$, Journal of Applied Nursing Research, Nursing Research, Cancer Nursing, Journal of Applied Statistics, Western Journal of Nursing Research, and the Journal of Gerontological Nursing.

Dissertation committee member.

Janet D. Pierce, DSN, APRN, CCRN, Professor, 3028 SON Bldg., (913) 588-1663 

Emphasis areas: cardio-pulmonary populations; biological outcomes.

Currently investigating biomarkers for oxidative stress following hemorrhagic shock. This year we will be examining the effects of intravenous coenzyme Q10 as it relates to the production of superoxide and hydrogen peroxide in a hemorrhagic shock model. Our experiments will help us determine if this treatment will reduce lung and diaphragm apoptosis and mitochondrial damage. Laboratory techniques used for lung apoptosis is fluorescent microscopy, digital laser scanning cytometry for hydrogen peroxide production, high performance liquid chromatrophy for coenzyme Q10 analyses. In addition, we are completing studies on extracellular, intracellular and mitochondrial reactive oxygen species production in white blood cells using various dyes and monoclonal antibodies.

Thus, our population relates to various cardio-pulmonary measures to determine specific biological outcomes in illness management related to hemorrhagic shock. We hope that our data will assist us in determining specific approaches in the evaluation of different treatments as it relates to oxidative stress in hemorrhagic shock.

Dissertation chair, Dissertation committee member.


Emphasis areas: women populations; bio-behavioral outcomes.

Completed studies funded by the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR) for a KO7 Academic Investigator Award. The study, entitled Reversal Theory and Motivation for Overeating, was an investigation of the adequacy of Apters reversal theory to explain motivations for overeating to measure tension and to develop nursing interventions to assist overweight women to stop weight cycling. Current study with Kelli Kramer-Jackman, RN, PhD, involves instrument development of computerized tension measures to assess overeating, skipped exercise, and poor self-esteem. Continues practice as a weight management clinical nurse specialist to apply study findings in intervention protocols for individuals and groups. Currently planning future studies to examine use of computerized tension scales as assessment and progress measures in weight management.

Previously funded by the University of Kansas School of Nursing for "Reversal Theory and Motivations for Overeating--A Pilot Study," University of Kansas Research Institute for "Tension Stress and Motivations for Overeating," and National Institutes of Health (NIH) for Doctoral Emphasis Grant studying body image in overweight women - instrument validation study.

Dissertation chair, Dissertation committee member.

Qiuhua Shen, Ph.D., RN, APRN, Assistant Professor, 3035-C SON Bldg., (913) 588-4336.

Emphasis areas: cardio-pulmonary population; bio-behavioral outcomes; large database analysis approach.  

Dr. Shen's program of research focuses on various populations including cardio-pulmonary and acute/chronic disease patient populations. Particular research interest is related to understanding the underlying mechanisms of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes and investigating potential intervention strategies to improve these patients' bio-behavioral outcomes.

Other research interests include promoting nursing academic progression in implementing the Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommendations on the Future of Nursing.

Current research includes: 1) examining the roles of cellular energetic impairment in development of diastolic dysfunction and diastolic heart failure. The research aim is to explore potential interventions to prevent and treat diastolic heart failure; 2) investigating biomarkers for oxidative stress following hemorrhagic shock and fluid resuscitation. The study aim is to determine the effects of antioxidant therapy in reducing cellular damage and microcirculation inflammation associated with reperfusion injury; 3) promoting nursing education in Kansas to increase the proportion of Kansas nurses with a baccalaureate degree (BSN) to 80% by 2020; an Institute of Medicine recommendation on the Future of Nursing. Currently, a state-wide RN workforce survey is being conducted to obtain the characteristics of RN workforce in Kansas.

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

Dissertation committee member. 

Carol E. Smith, Ph.D., RN, Professor, 3062 SON Bldg., (913) 588-1667 

Emphasis areas:  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", "Testing Internet Algorithm 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" and  "Research Supplement Support". Dr. Smith is the Director of the KL2 Research Career program for the CTSA.

Dr. Smith was invited to present testimony on Capitol Hill for "Technology Support of Family Home Caregiver" at the 21stCenturyHealthcareCongressional Caucus chaired by Congressional Representative Patrick Kennedy.  The NP group clinic was selected byNationalHF Nurses Associationas "A Program Design Innovation Showcase for HF Management". Dr. Smith also has 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 congestive heart failure and highly technical care in the home. Subjects are families with adults dependent on mechanical respiratory assistance, total parenteral nutrition infusions 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: CPAP adherence support via in-home Telehealth, computer systems that guide symptom/physiologic monitoring, use algorithm guides EVO cell phones and interactive technology for guiding daily technology home care. Dr. Smith developed interactive patient education on the Internet for adherence to HPN guidelines for reducing infusion catheter sepsis, managing depression, and for monitoring economic and managing human resources of the family. Other nursing interventions such as caregivers mobile assistance, social support, patient to patient (peer) support, high tough for high technology, and group clinics managed by nurse practitioners are being tested. Cost-benefit analysis for family caregivers and for nurse practitioner group clinics is being studied.

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 AARP in 2008 Interdisciplinary panels and on the Capital Hill Congressional Science panel: Technology to Support Family Caregiving for 21st Century HealthCare, Patrick Kennedy, Chair.

Dr. Smith was an invited member of the NIH grant review panel NINR Special Emphasis Panel on Caregiving RFP applications.  She was awarded the 2003 Higuchi Endowment Association Research Achievement Award, the 2003 University of Kansas Chancellor Teaching Award, the Sigma Theta Tau International Award for Research Dissemination in 2004 and 2005, and the 2008 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, Ph.D., RN, Associate Dean, Graduate Programs, Professor, 2010C S)N Bldg., (913) 588-1697 

Emphasis areas:  gerontology populations; health services and bio-behavioral outcomes; evaluation approach.

Dr. Teel's research emphasis areas are in Populations and Outcomes. She is coordinating the Kansas Action Coalition for Health Care, in partnership with other state-supported schools of nursing and the Kansas Hospital Association, to focus on implementing recommendations from the recent IOM report, The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health.  With nurses across the state, Dr. Teel also is directing the Kansas Center for Nursing Scholarship & Leadership, which funds nursing projects related to enhancing nursing science and client care outcomes.

She completed a 3-year Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Fellowship in the Executive Nurse Leader Program. As part of the fellowship, Dr. Teel coordinated a study of innovative models for enhancing capacity and quality in undergraduate clinical nursing education programs. Other research activities include testing a Self-Care TALK intervention partnership between nurses and older spouse caregivers of stroke survivors and spouses caring for persons with dementia. The stroke study was funded by the American Heart Association and the dementia study was funded by the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR).

Dissertation chair, Dissertation committee member.

Karen A. Wambach, Ph.D., RN, IBCLC, Associate Professor, 3047 SON Bldg., (913) 588-1639 

Emphasis areas: Health Promotion in women and children populations; bio-behavioral outcomes; comparative effectiveness approach.

Dr. Wambach's research program deals with issues related to breastfeeding promotion and support, especially in vulnerable populations. Dr. Wambach has completed a randomized clinical trial funded by National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR) titled "Promoting and Supporting Breastfeeding in Adolescents". This study tested a comprehensive prenatal, in-hospital, and postpartum intervention composed of lactation consultant and peer counselor education and support to impact breastfeeding decision-making, initiation and duration in teenage mothers fifteen to eighteen years of age. Dissemination of the study results is underway. Currently Dr. Wambach and her team are conducting an exploratory study of barriers to exclusive breastfeeding among Latina mothers. In addition, she is working with a multi-disciplinary team in pilot work for a multi-behavioral health intervention in disadvantaged mothers.

Past funding includes: (1) KU Research Institute for a bridging grant to support pilot work with adolescents related to breastfeeding; (2) the International Lactation Consultant Association, Sigma Theta Tau Delta Chapter, and the KU School of Nursing for "Lactation Mastitis: A Descriptive Study of the Experience"; (3) KU School of Nursing for research pilot: "Maternal Fatigue and Breastfeeding"; and (4) National Research Service Awards, Individual and Institutional by NINR, National Institutes of Health (NIH) for "Test of a Breastfeeding Intention and Outcome Model" (Dissertation Research).

Dissertation chair, Dissertation committee member.

Phoebe Dauz Williams, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, Professor, 3043 SON Bldg., (913) 588-1673 

Emphasis areas: adults and children Oncology populations; Comparative effectiveness; Health care delivery outcomes (including symptom management, functional status, quality of life); comparative effectiveness approach.

Currently funded by the Alex Lemonade Stand Foundation. Dr. Williams and others at KUMC, Children's Mercy Hospital & Clinics, and 3 other Children's Hospitals across the USA, calibrated the Therapy-Related Symptom Checklist for Children (TRSC-C); she also developed the Symptom Alleviation: Self-Care Methods (SA:SCM) tool.  Adult versions of the scales have been developed and used in studies in the USA, China, Hong Kong, Thailand, Puerto Rico, and Manila. Publications in Cancer Nursing in 1994, 2006, 2010, 2011; Clinical J. of Oncology Nursing in 2011; International J. Nursing Studies in 1997, 2001; and the European Journal of Oncology Nursing in 2010. Earlier, Dr. Williams also completed a large randomized controlled trial (RCT) study on interventions for siblings and parents of children with chronic illness, funded for $1.3 million by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Publications in Journal of Pediatrics in 2003 and 2006; Issues in Comprehensive Pediatric Nursing 2008, 2009 and 2010; Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 2002. Two Fulbright awards and other sources funded her studies on child development including the re-standardization (in metropolitan Manila) of the Denver Developmental Screening Test; a study in Indonesia on the Child Development Expectations Inventory; and in Thailand, on the HOME scale. Publications in Nursing Research, Western Journal of Nursing Research, and International Journal of Nursing Studies.

Completed a Fulbright Scholar (Research/Teaching) award twice (2000 in Thailand; 1991 in both Indonesia and the Philippines) from the Council for the International Exchange of Scholars in Washington, DC. Dissemination of findings, studies on: (1) the Sibling Project; (2) Instrument development: Therapy - Related Symptoms Checklist (TRSC) for adult oncology patients; (3) the TRSC for children (TRSC-C), a multi-site study; (4) Fatigue in Caregivers of Preterm Infants at Home; (5) Mothers' developmental expectations for young children; and (6) Telephone intervention for heart failure patients in Thailand.

Previously funded by: (1) NINR, NIH for "Hospitalized Child Parent Stress and Sleep Onset Latency", M. White, Principal Investigator, and P.D. Williams, Co-Principal Investigator; (2) the Council for the International Exchange of Scholars (Fulbright) for research on "Mothers' Developmental Timetables for Young Children in Two South East Asian Countries", P.D. Williams, Principal Investigator; (3) the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Child and Adolescent Nurse Research Mentorship Program, Phase III, for a research proposal titled "Sibling Experience Enhancement for Kids (SEEK)", P.D. Williams, Principal Investigator; (4) NINR, NIH through the Center for Bio-behavioral Studies, located at the University of Kansas School of Nursing, for Study #4 entitled: "Caregiver Fatigue and At-Risk Infants at Home", P.D. Williams, Principal Investigator; and (5) as PI, completed the largest re-standardization of a developmental screening test for children under 6 years old (funded by the Philippines' National Science Development Board), published in Nursing Research (1984). The Manual and test kit (1984 and 2000, 1st and 2nd editions) and CD (2003) continue to be used in courses in Pediatric Nursing.  Translated into Indonesian and other languages.

Dissertation chair, Dissertation committee member.

Statistician Information: 

Byron J. Gajewski, Ph.D,  Associate Professor, 5028H Robinson Bldg., (913) 588-1603 

Research activities and interests include (1) statistical applications in the areas of cardio-pulmonary, gerontology, health services, nursing quality & patient safety, large database analysis, and community-based participatory research; (2) creating new Bayesian data analysis techniques and applying them to the above emphasis areas; and (3) developing new methods to teach statistical science to non-statisticians.

Dissertation committee member.

Vincent S. Staggs, Ph.d., Research Assistant Professor, 110 Support Services Bldg., (913) 588-0652 

Research activities generally involve the use of statistical modeling (e.g.generalized mixed modeling) to understandnursing-related variables, including nursing turnover, healthcare-acquired infections, patient falls, and patient assaults in psychiatric units. Otherinterests include measurement of healthcare quality, bootstrapping, andlatent variable modeling.

Dissertation committee member.

Last modified: Nov 16, 2016