Research Programs

Research Programs

The faculty at UTHSC College of Nursing have been exceedingly successful at securing funding for a variety of programs of research. In addition to NIH funding, our researchers have been awarded significant funding from private and public foundations and corporations. Links on researchers' names will navigate to their faculty profiles with the College of Nursing.

CON Researchers (as of January 2017)

Alexandrov, Anne W.
PhD, RN, CCRN, ANVP-BC, NVRN-BC, FAAN

Dr. Anne Alexandrov has more than 25 years of expertise directed at the hyperacute treatment of ischemic stroke and is a leading international nurse researcher in the area of intracranial hemodynamic augmentation in acute stroke. Her team's original work forms the major body of current knowledge about arterial blood flow in acute ischemic stroke and, in particular, head positioning as a method to augment blood flow in acute ischemic stroke. She is also a co-inventor and U.S. patent holder for ultrasound-enhanced thrombolysis and ultrasound-augmented brain perfusion. Dr. Alexandrov’s team directs vascular neurology in Memphis, TN, leading the U.S. and the world in annual thrombolytic treatment volume from a single site. As attending nurse for a Comprehensive Stroke Team, she has access to more than 1,500 acute ischemic stroke patients annually, including the CT/CTA-equipped UTHSC Mobile Stroke Unit which both diagnoses and treats acute stroke patients in the field. The team’s interest in reperfusion therapies has driven the Stroke Team to excel in hyperacute clinical trial enrollment. Dr. Alexandrov’s work has led her to her being recognized by many national and international awards as a committed researcher and expert practitioner capable of enlarging knowledge and effectively driving adoption of best practices for acute stroke.

Hathaway, Donna K.
PhD, FAAN

Dr. Donna Hathaway has been investigating bio-behavioral linkages to quality of life outcomes following organ transplantation since the late-1980s. During this time, she has amassed approximately $9 million in external funding as a principal investigator. By serving as a sponsor of multiple Career Development Awards, several Minority Faculty Supplements, and other grant applications, she enabled her mentees at the University of Tennessee to acquire an additional $5 million of external funding. During her early NIH-sponsored work, Dr. Hathaway and her team focused on identifying predictors of quality of life-related outcomes for kidney transplant recipients. These predictors (post-transplant re-hospitalization, social support, and employment) were subsequently addressed by an intervention which, during an NIH-funded trial, was able to demonstrate a significant improvement in quality of life outcomes. Additional bio-behavioral outcomes associated with quality of life following organ transplantation that have been and continue to be topics of interest investigation for Dr. Hathaway and her team include: new onset diabetes, weight gain, autonomic neuropathy, cardiac function, renal function, side effects of immunosuppressant therapy, gastric function, and medication adherence. In her most recent research, Dr. Hathaway’s team is testing an intervention designed to improve medication adherence of kidney transplant recipients

Graff, J. Carolyn
PhD, RN, FAAIDD

Dr. Carolyn Graff focuses her research on children with or at risk for intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families and the influence of prenatal and early childhood environments on health and developmental trajectories across childhood. She has investigated caregiving within families of children with chronic health disorders and/or genetic disorders and who are in custody of relative caregivers. She is currently principal investigator of a project that provides services to children being cared for by relatives living in low-income families. Her research broadly focuses on improving child health and developmental outcomes in diverse, low-income populations.

Stanfill, Ansley Grimes
PhD, RN

Dr. Ansley Stanfill’s program of research focuses on the influence of genetic and epigenetic factors on long-term outcomes after neurological injury and disease. Because of the interdisciplinary nature of her work, she shares a joint appointment in the College of Medicine in the Department of Genetics, Genomics, and Informatics. She serves as principal investigator on a prospective study in subarachnoid hemorrhage funded by the UTHSC Cornet Award. This project is currently enrolling patients at Methodist University Hospital and Baptist Memorial Hospital-Memphis to donate serial blood and cerebrospinal fluid samples for genetic and methylation analyses. This information is matched with patients’ clinical and demographic data; patients are then followed for 12 months post-stroke to investigate those factors that are most predictive of long-term physical, cognitive, and affective outcomes.

Dr. Stanfill is also principal investigator on a second project in sports-related concussion/mTBI. This work is funded through a Dean’s Research Fellowship Award and has two arms. In the first, former student athletes are interviewed about their experiences of sports-related concussion and factors that they feel relate to the injury, the trajectory of recovery, and readiness to return to play and classes. The second arm of this project is in partnership with the Athletic Department of Rhodes College. Here, she and her co-investigators are recruiting a prospective cohort of student athletes that will be followed longitudinally throughout the season and monitored for concussion. Upon injury, the student athlete will then donate serial blood samples and undergo further standardized testing and clinical assessment, which will allow characterization of the genetic, epigenetic, and biomarker changes related to the injury and recovery process.

Starks, Shaquita A.
PhD, APRN, FNP-BC

Dr. Shaquita Starks’ research focuses on determining what affects the quality of life for African American women caring for patients with End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD)—to include examining the mood profile of study participants, reported substance use, prevalence of historical depression, anxiety, and physical symptoms of depression. She is currently developing a program of research that will examine the connections between social influences and mental and physical health in ethnic minorities.

Waller, Melody N.
PhD, RN

Dr. Melody Waller’s interests lie in the areas of Health Disparity and Women’s and Minority Health research.  Her recent research efforts focus on African American women’s sexual health.  She is currently serving as principal investigator on a project entitled “Factors Associated with African American Women’s Sexual Health and Risk Behavior during Emerging Adulthood,” a study using a holistic approach to explore young African American women’s sexual behavior and perceptions of sexual health.  She has used mixed methods research designs to better understand women’s health behavior related to sexuality and overall sexual well-being.  Dr. Waller is a College of Nursing Research Fellow and has received funding from a Sigma Theta Tau Beta Theta-at-Large Chapter Research Grant.  She has also served as co-investigator on a funded grant to evaluate the efficacy of vaginal dilatation to maintain vaginal patency in cervical cancer patients.

Wicks, Mona N.
PhD, RN, FAAN

Dr. Mona Wicks has for 24 years investigated the influence of chronic conditions on families, the health of ethnic minority populations broadly, and the health and well-being African American women who are caregivers primarily to a chronically ill relative. She is the site principal investigator of a funded and multi-site 5-year study entitled "Peer-Led Asthma Self-Management for Adolescents (PLASMA)." The study sites include three locations: Buffalo, NY; Baltimore, MD; and Memphis, TN. This important study focuses on a serious health concern among inner-city adolescents. She is also a consultant on a funded study exploring the experiences of working caregivers. Dr. Wicks’ most recent NIH-funded study as PI was a randomized control trial testing the efficacy of INSIGHT (a cognitive behavioral group intervention) and its influence on symptoms of depression and anxiety as well as caregiver mental health functioning. She previously served as co-investigator on a National Institutes of Health, National Center for Minority Health and Health Disparities grant that resulted in the development of a Health Disparities Exploratory Center of Excellence (PI, White-Means). Dr. Wicks also was a consultant on a National Cancer Institute grant focused on prostate cancer in African Americans (PI, Ukoli).

 

Questions

For questions about the PhD program, contact Dr. Carolyn Graff, Director of the PhD Program, by email [jgraff@uthsc.edu] or telephone 901-448-6544 or 800-733-2498.

To discuss potential employment opportunities, contact the Dean of the College of Nursing by telephone 901-448-6135 or 800-733-2498

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Contact Information

UTHSC College of Nursing
920 Madison Avenue
Memphis, Tennessee 38163
901-448-6128
Fax: 901-448-4121
Toll Free: 800-733-2498

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