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School of Nursing Ranked Top Five in NIH Funded Nursing Schools

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J. Michael Moore
Dir. of Communications

Emory University's Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing ranks fifth among nursing schools in the United States for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) research funding. It is a position Emory has held since 2015 while competing with an increasing number of schools as funding for research continues to grow. The School of Nursing secured more than $9.2 million in research grants, fellowships, training grants and other awards from NIH in the 2020 fiscal year, allowing faculty and staff to become leaders in various nursing research focus areas.

“The breadth and depth of the School of Nursing’s research programs exhibits our dedication to the improving the quality of care for individuals, families and communities around the world,” says Dean Linda McCauley, PhD, RN. “Our faculty’s advancement of nursing knowledge and science is critical to removing health care disparities, which is especially important in a year focused on global health.”

The NIH serves as the nation’s research agency and the largest public funder of biomedical research in the world. The School of Nursing’s many NIH-funded research grants focus on several core research strengths of the school, including health disparities and health equity, pregnancy outcomes, infant health, health promotion and disease management, symptom management and quality of life.

“Our research continues to advance the field of nursing science across all disciplines through scholarly works, innovative centers, research training, and national and international research/service activities,” says Dr. Eun Ok Im, PhD, MPH, RN, CNS, FAAN, senior associate dean for research and innovation. “I am proud of every faculty team at our school for their dedication to extending our research capabilities, knowledge generation, research mentoring, and patient care capacity.”

The School of Nursing’s transformative research is reflected in several current projects, including:

  • Oral Chemotherapy Adherence Trajectories in Chronic Myeloid Leukemia is led by Dr. Kate Yeager, RN, PhD, FAAN, and explores the effectiveness and adherence patterns of TKI therapy, an oral agent that requires daily doses. Yeager utilizes quantitative and qualitative data to examine how different toxicities are associated with different adherence patterns, and how that adherence influences cytogenetic and molecular response.
  • Emory Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center works with other initiatives of the Emory Brain Health Center, pursuing three main aims: providing outreach and educational programs to promote recruitment into research and brain donation, targeting educational programs and consultation to clinicians and academics to promote research and engaging the community in providing recruitment-related, innovative educational programs. Dr. Kenneth Hepburn, PhD, works with the research team to extend the Outreach, Recruitment and Engagement Core to rural locations, building on strong partnerships with academic, provider and advocacy groups.
  • An Effectiveness-Implementation Trial of SPIRIT in ESRD is an advanced care planning intervention method promoting cognitive and emotional preparation for end-of-life decision making for ESRD patients and their surrogates. Dr. Mi-kyung Song, PhD, RN, FAAN, conducts this real-world effectiveness-implementation study, proposing a multi-center, clinic-level cluster randomized trial evaluating the effectiveness and sustainability of SPIRIT implementation.
  • Occupational Heat Exposure and Renal Dysfunction examines occupational exposure to heat in agriculture workers, often resulting in injuries, disease, reduced productivity and death. Dr. Linda McCauley, PhD, RN, FAAN, FAAOHN, leads the research team investigating the development of chronic kidney disease of unknown etiology, finding the most significant predictor for acute kidney injury was the heat index. Research continues by determining if decreased renal function is associated with environmental and exertional heat exposure in agriculture workers over two years.
  • Center for the Study of Symptom Science, Metabolomics and Multiple Chronic Conditions strengthens the capacities of a diverse faculty of nurse scientists to conduct innovative translational research using metabolomics and microbiomic technologies to reduce symptoms in individuals with MCC. Dr. Mi-kyung Song, PhD, RN, FAAN, takes advantage of the School of Nursing’s strength in microbiome research and evidence linking to apply next-generation metabolomics technology to stimulate discovery of metabolites and metabolic pathways that are present in diverse individuals with MCC.
  • Roybal Translational Research Center to Promote Context-Specific Caregiving of Community-Dwelling Persons Living with Alzheimer’s Disease or Related Disorders provides support across the nation to conduct NIH Stage I-III intervention research. Dr. Kenneth Hepburn, PhD, exposes the importance of informal care for patients living with Alzheimer's and similar illnesses as the United States continues to experience reconfigurations in social and demographic composition. This center will provide a set of integrated processes through existing partnerships and individualized care plans.
  • Healing Hearts, Mending Minds in Older Persons with HIV integrates aerobic exercise to investigate the possibility of lowering risk for cardiovascular disease and cognitive impairment in older adults. Dr. Drenna Waldrop, PhD, created the ‘Let’s Move Program’ aerobic exercise intervention program which is effective in lowering CVD risk in community-dwelling older adults. Future trials will test the methods to examine the improvement in cognition in this population.
  • To Enhance Breast Cancer Survivorship of Asian Americans demonstrates a definite need for support of the female Asian American population due to language barriers and lack of staff bandwidth, studying the efficacy of a technology-based support program in improving the cancer survivorship experience. Dr. Eun-OK Im, PhD, MPH, RN, CNS, FAAN leads the research team conducting this randomized intervention study. The team is determining if the intervention group shows improvements in quality of life and eventually aims to implement this program into various health care settings.
  • Training in Interventions to Improve Outcomes in Chronic Conditions seeks to educate and train nurse scientists in the development and testing of interventions to address the most compelling issues confronted by chronic patients and their families. As chronic illnesses continue to escalate across all age groups, Dr. Sandy Dunbar, PhD, RN, FAAN, FAHA, FPCNA aims to provide rigorous doctoral research preparation centered on design and testing of innovative and theory-based interventions.
  • Developing a Distance Education System to Train Savvy Caregiver Program Interventionists: Extending Access and Capacity in Community-Based Delivery of Evidence-Based Interventions is creating a web-based system that uses distance education methods along with manuals and protocols to train, certify and monitor the performance of interventionists to deliver the Savvy Caregiver program. Dr. Kenneth Hepburn, PhD, leads the investigative team of caregiver specialists, educators and cultural adaptation specialists that will undertake a three-phase project to establish the readiness of the system for future development and use.


Learn more about our nursing faculty at our faculty and staff directory. For more details about these and other Emory Nursing NIH funded programs, visit the NIH database.

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