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Keesha Roach, PhD, MSN, BSN

Dr. Keesha  Roach

Assistant Professor
874 Union Ave., Room 323
Memphis, TN 38163

Curriculum Vitae

Dr. Keesha Roach is an early career nurse scientist with a passion to understand and address acute and chronic pain in patients living with sickle cell disease. She joined the faculty at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) College of Nursing as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Community and Population Health in August, 2021. Her research focuses on the characterization of pain phenotypes, associated biomarkers, and health disparities in individuals of African ancestry, most notably in sickle cell disease and cancer. 

Dr. Roach received her bachelor of science degree in psychology from the University of Maryland College Park. Prior to becoming a becoming a nurse scientist, she worked for several years as a research assistant in groups that focused on the genetics of metabolic disorders, at the National Institutes of Health, the University of Chicago Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and the Pasteur Institute (France). She received her BSN from Loyola University Chicago in 2001 and received her PhD in 2018 from the University of Illinois Chicago after working as a critical care nurse for eighteen years. 

Her research builds on pain problems recognized through her clinical experience as a critical care nurse in the ED, ICU, and post-anesthesia care unit. Funding for Dr. Roach’s doctoral training was made possible by funding from the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation Future of Nursing Scholars Program and a diversity supplement from the Heart Lung and Blood Institute. During her doctoral training, she attended the NINR Summer Genetics Institute (2016). 

She then completed a T-32 postdoctoral fellowship focused on pain and aging at the University of Florida thru the Integrative and Multidisciplinary Pain and Aging Research Training (IMPART) and a partnership with the UF Pain Research Intervention Center of Excellence (PRICE). During her postdoctoral training, Dr. Roach was awarded the METER (Measurement Tool Evaluation Research) Mayday award from the American Pain Society, the NIH Loan Repayment Program award (NHLBI), and the Center for Advancing Minority Pain and Aging Science award (NIA). 

Dr. Roach is currently a primary investigator on K01 training grant “Contributions of Biopsychosocial Factors in Sickle Cell Disease Pain” (NHLBI) and a small research project (NHLBI), which aims to gain an understanding of the AVPR1A gene and its effects on stress and pain in patients living with sickle cell disease. In addition, she is currently co-I on other NIH funded grants.

Dr. Roach’s professional activities include the National Black Nurses Association, The American Society for Hematology, and the International Association for the Study of Pain. Some of her more recent efforts include her involvement in community-based organizations that serve individuals living with sickle cell disease.

May 26, 2022