Kathleen Brewer-Smyth, PhD, RN, CRRN, FAAN

Associate Professor
School of Nursing
313 McDowell Hall
Accepting PhD Students


Dr. Brewer-Smyth’s program of research focuses on adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) such as childhood abuse, hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and neurological function, especially traumatic brain injury (TBI) related to high risk behaviors and health outcomes later in life. She has published on how these variables are related to adult obesity, HIV risk behaviors, suicide attempts, homicide, and other violent behaviors in populations at risk, especially female prison inmates. Her work has been supported by funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Institutes of Health (NIH), and Foundations including the University of Delaware Research Foundation (UDRF).


  • Postdoctoral Fellowship University of Pennsylvania
  • PhD University of Pennsylvania
  • MSN University of Pennsylvania, Adult Health and Illness, Neurology and Neurosurgery


University of Delaware:


  • NURS 411 Issues in Neuroscience 
  • NURS 443 Clinical Practicum
  • NURS 312  Pathopysiology
  • NURS 362 Research
  • NURS 362 Research
  • NURS 460 Clinical Integration Seminar
  • NURS 241 Pathopysiology


  • NURS 668 Advanced Clinical Neuroscience 
  • NURS 609 Theory/Research
  • NURS 833 NURS SCI Special Topics


  • Brewer-Smyth, K. & Burgess, A.W. (2018) Neurobiology Precision Health: Women who Commit Homicide. Podium Presentation Abstract, State of the Science Congress on Nursing Research, Sept 13-15, 2018
  • Brewer-Smyth, K. (2018) Lateral Violence in Nursing: Implications and Strategies for Nurse Educators Letter to the Editor. Journal of Professional Nursing. Volume 34, No. 1. 5-6 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.profnurs.2017.12.003
  • Brewer-Smyth, K. & Pohlig, R. T. (2017) Risk factors for females being under the influence of alcohol compared to other illicit substances at the time of committing violent crimes. Journal of Forensic Nursing. 13(4), 186-195. PMID: 29176519 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29176519
  • Brewer-Smyth, K., Cornelius, M., & Pohlig, R. T. (2016). Childhood adversity and mental health correlates of obesity in a population at risk. Journal of Correctional Health Care. October, 22(4):367-382.  PMID: 27742859  https://doi.org/10.1097/JFN.0000000000000062               


  • Brewer-Smyth, K. (2016) Suicidal women who commit homicide and other violent crimes, oral platform presentation, Counsel for the Advancement of Nursing Science (CANS) State of the Science Congress, Washington DC. 
  • Brewer-Smyth, K. & Pohlig, R. T. (2016) Females who commit violent crimes while under the influence of alcohol, oral platform presentation, Counsel for the Advancement of Nursing Science (CANS) State of the Science Congress, Washington DC. 
  • Brewer-Smyth, K., Pohlig, R. T. & Bucurescu, G. (2016). Female children with incarcerated adult family members at risk for life-long neurological decline. Health Care for Women International, 37(7-9)  http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/07399332.2016.1140768http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26788781Published on-line ahead of print: http://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/mfVpa8ujqGqxZt8nfchR/full
  • Brewer-Smyth, K. (2016) Where have all the TBI patients gone? Oral lecture, Scientific Program, 9th International World Congress for Neurorehabilitation (WCNR 2016) Philadelphia, USA. May 10 – 13, 2016.
  • Brewer-Smyth, K., & Cornelius, M. (2015). Childhood sexual abuse and adult behavioral and health outcomes: A comparison of prison populations in 2 states. Mountain Area Health Education Center (MAHEC) Adverse Childhood Experiences Southeastern Summit 2015, Asheville, NC Sept 24-26 https://sys.mahec.net/ce/aces.aspx
  • Brewer-Smyth, K., Cornelius, M., & Pickelsimer, E. (2015). Childhood correlates of lifetime violent criminal behaviour: An epidemiological perspective on neurodevelopment.  International Journal of Developmental Neuroscience: the Official Journal of the International Society for Developmental Neuroscience  Volume: 47   Issue: Pt A   Pages: 121   http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26531644
  • Brewer-Smyth, K. (2015). Translational Perspectives on Violence. American Nurse Today – Official Peer-Reviewed Journal of the American Nurses Association 10(10), 23 ISSN: 1930-5583   MEDLINE Info: NLM UID: 101291565 http://www.americannursetoday.com/translational-perspectives-violence/
  • Brewer-Smyth, K., Cornelius, M., &  Pickelsimer, E. (2015). Childhood Adversity, Mental Health, and Violent Crime, Journal of Forensic Nursing 11(1) 4-14doi: 10.1097/JFN.0000000000000062. PMID: 25695207 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25695207
  • Brewer-Smyth, K. (2014).  Obesity, traumatic brain injury, childhood abuse, and suicide attempts in females at risk. Rehabilitation Nursing 39(4) 183 – 191 DOI: 10.1002/rnj.150   Continuing education credits available from this article PMID: 24668743 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24668743 Full Text: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4227609/
  • Childhood Abuse, Salivary Cortisol, Alcohol Use, and Violent Behavior of Females: A Pilot Study. UD General University Research (GUR) Grant, PI: K. Brewer-Smyth  2017-2019.
  • National Science Foundation (NSF) ADVANCE Award HRD-1409472 Women in STEM – University of Delaware ADVANCE mini-grant   05/1/2016 – 09/1/2016
  • UD Institute for Global Studies. International Travel Award, 2014.
  • The Impact of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) among Incarcerated Persons (U49) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, (CDC) National Center for Injury Prevention and Control U49 CE001318 9/07-9/12 Co-I, Technical Oversight Committee (TOC) PI: E. Pickelsimer, Medical University of South Carolina
Honors and Awards
  • Inducted as a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing (FAAN), 2014
  • American Nurses Association National Professional Issues Panel on Workplace Violence and Incivility Advisory Committee, 2014 – 2015
  • Association of Rehabilitation Nurses (ARN) Doctorate-Prepared Researcher Role Award, 2013