Our faculty are recognized experts in their areas of interdisciplinary research. There are three main areas of research focus in the School of Nursing. These are: aging, symptom science and self-management, and health disparities in the communities. The faculty have external funding from a variety of sources including, NIH, Veterans Administration and various foundations.
Dr. Griffioen’s program of research focuses on symptom biology and in particular, understanding the underlying physiological, psychological, and genetic/genomic factors that contribute to the risk of developing chronic pain following injuries. Understanding how acute pain transitions to chronic pain is important as patients with chronic pain following injury are more likely to miss more days of work and seek medical care more frequently than patients who do not develop chronic pain following injury. In addition, these patients report high levels of pain, anxiety, and depression affecting their quality of life. To comprehensively characterize acute and chronic pain, Dr. Griffioen employs a standardized pain phenotyping protocol that includes 1) measuring peripheral sensory nerve functioning using Quantitative Sensory Testing and Current Perception Threshold testing, 2) collecting self-reported data on psychological factors such as pain, anxiety, depressive symptoms, pain catastrophizing, and effectiveness of treatment administered for pain (opioid vs. non-opioids), and 3) next generation sequencing of RNA from blood to examine the expression of candidate pain genes. Dr. Griffioen is funded by a NINR R01 to examine the transition from acute to chronic pain in patients with lower extremity fractures using the above-mentioned strategies to fully characterize the clinically relevant problem of chronic post-traumatic fracture pain, with the goals of building predictive risk models of susceptibility to chronic pain and identifying new therapeutic targets to improve the clinical management of these patients and improve quality of life.
RESEARCH AREAS OF EXCELLENCE
SYMPTOM SCIENCE & SELF-MANAGEMENT
HEALTH DISPARITIES IN COMMUNITIES
Several faculty have programs of research in the areas of aging. These programs of research include areas such as mobility, physical and cognitive functional status, risk factors associated with cognitive decline, advanced illness and end of life decision making, chronic disease management in later life, and nursing home quality of care.
- Mary Elizabeth (Libbey) Bowen, PhD
- Barbara Habermann, PhD RN FAAN
- Lorraine J. Phillips, PhD RN FAAN FGSA
- Ju Young Shin, PhD APRN ANP-C
- Regina Sims Wright, PhD
Several resources exist with the SON that specifically support aging-related research. The SON is fortunate enough to have a Jeanne K. Buxbaum Endowed chair in Aging. Dr. Lorraine Phillips holds the Buxbaum Chair.
The SON is a member of The Multi-Professional Consortium on Gerontology, a group of proffesionals with expertise in gerontology, both applied and academic, with a passion for advancing the interests and welfare of older adults in our community through advocacy, activism, and scholarship.
In our Interdisciplinary, Tower at STAR, opening November 2018, there is a shared laboratory space in the Aging and Symptom Translational Research Laboratory that both our aging related and symptom science researchers will utilize. In addition, there is an aging in place apartment where assessment and monitoring of seniors can be conducted.
SYMPTOM SCIENCE AND SELF-MANAGEMENT OF DISEASE
An area of expanding research in the school is in the area of symptoms science and self-management of symptoms. Research programs in this focus include pain, sleep, symptom management and medication adherence, and transitions in self-management of disease.
HEALTH DISPARITIES AND COMMUNITY BASED RESEARCH
Researchers in this area focus on community based interventions with at risk or underserved populations, mental health services, health service research, technology and the use of large data sets.