Mary Beth Happ, PhD, RN, FAAN

Associate Dean of Research and Innovation; Distinguished Professor of Critical Care Research
(614) 292-8336

352 Newton Hall
1585 Neil Avenue Columbus, OH 43210






Research Interests

Critical care gerontology, patient care and communication during mechanical ventilation, symptom management, family bedside presence during critical illness, end-of-life care and treatment decision making in the ICU, patient and family outcomes in acute-critical illness.


Funded Grants

(most recent 5 years – 2008 to 2013)

  • 2012-2013. “Management of Distractions and Interruptions During Nursing Care in the ICU” National Patient Safety Foundation: Research and Development in Patient Safety. Total $99,947.  Principal Investigator.
  • 2012-2013. “Improving Outcomes for Mechanically Ventilated Patients with the Digital EZ Board” NIH/NINR: 1R41NR014087-01. Principal Investigator.
  • 2009-2011. “SPEACS-2: Improving Patient Communication and Quality Outcomes in the ICU” Robert Wood Johnson Foundation:  INQRI #66633.  Total $297, 083. Co-Principal Investigator.
  • 2010-2011. “Patient Participation in Treatment Decisions Before and After a Program to Facilitate Patient Communication in the ICU” Greenwall Foundation:  Kornfeld Program in Bioethics and Patient Care. Total $49,871. Principal Investigator. 
  • 2008-2013 “Strategies to improve caregiver mediated medication management of community dwelling patients with dementia.”  Total $702,312.  J. Dunbar-Jacob, J. Erlen (PI). Role: Co-Investigator.
  • 2008-2010. “After-hours Communication Support for Hospice Family Caregivers & Patients” NIH/NINR: 1 R21 NR010563,   Total $402,555.  K. Courtney (PI). Role: Co-Investigator.
  • 2007-2010. “Symptom Management, Patient-Caregiver Communication, and Outcomes in ICU” NIH/NINR:  K24- NR010244.  Total $315, 246. PrincipaI Investigator.
  • 2007-2010. “Self-Regulated Exercise in CF:  A Randomized Trial” NIH/NINR: R01 NR0029285 A1. Total $1,553,479.  D. Orenstein (PI). Role: Co-Investigator.
  • 2006-2011. “Palliative Care for Hospitalized Cancer Patients” NIH/NCI: R01-CA116227. Total $5,000,000. D. Meier (PI). Role: Co-Investigator.
  • 2003-2008. “Improving Communication with Non-Speaking ICU” NIH/NICHD: 5R01 HD043988. Total $1,175,000. Principal Investigator.



Selected Publications

Peer reviewed journal articles (*data based) 

  • *Happ MB, Seaman JB, Nilsen ML, Sciulli A, Tate JA, Saul M, Barnato AE. (2015) The number of mechanically ventilated ICU patients meeting communication criteria. Heart Lung. 2015;44(1):45-9. [PMCID: PMC4053558]
  • ​*Wickersham KE, Happ MB, BEnder CM, Engberg SJ, Tarhini A, Erlen JA. (2014). Surviving with lung cancer: Medication-taking and oral targeted therapy. Geriatric Nursing, 35 (2Suppl):S49-56.
  • *Nilsen ML, Sereika S, Hoffman LA, Barnato AB, Donovan H, Happ MB. (2014) Nurse and patient interaction behaviors effects on nursing care quality for mechanically ventilated, older adults in the ICU. Research in Gerontological Nursing, 7(3), 113-125 [PMCID: PMC4040337]
  • *Nilsen ML, Happ MB, Hoffman LA, Donovan H, Barnato AB, Sereika S. (2014). Adaption of a Communication Interaction Behavior instrument for use in mechanically ventilated, non-speaking older adults. Nursing Rsearch, 63 (1): 3-13. [PMCID: PMC4006953]
  • Happ MB, Garrett KL, Tate JA, Divirgilio D, Houze MP, Demirci JR, Gerorge E, Sereika SM. (2014) Effect of multi-level intervention on nurse-patient communication in the intensive care unit: Results of the SPEACS trial. Heart and Lung,  43 (2): 89-98. [PMCID: PMC4053558]
  • Tate JA,Sereika S, Divirgilio D, Nilsen M, Demirci J, Campbell G, Happ MB. (2013). Symptom Communication during critical illness: The impact of age, delirium, and delirium presentation. Journal of Gerontological Nursing, 39(8): 28-38.
  • *Demirci JVR, Happ MB, Brogan D, Albrecht S, Cohen S. (2013). Weighing worth against uncertain work: The interplay of exhaustion, ambiguity, hope, and disappointment in mothers breastfeeding late preterm infants. Maternal & Child Nutrition.
  • *Happ MB, Hoffman LA, Higgins LW, Divirgilio D, Orenstein DM. (2013) Parent and child perceptions of a self-regulated, home-based exercise program for children with cystic fibrosis. Nursing Research. 62(5): 305-314.
  • *Erlen JA, Lingler J, Sereika SM, Tamres LK, Happ MB, Tang F. (2013) Characterizing caregiver-medicated medication management in patients with memory loss. J Gerontol Nurs.39(4), 30-39.
  • *Nilsen M, Sereika S, Happ MB. (2013). Nurse and patient characteristics associated with duration of nurse talk during patient encounters in ICU. Heart and Lung, 42(1): 5-12.
  • *Broyles, L.M., Tate, J.A., Happ, M.B. (2012). Use of augmentative and alternative communication by family members in the ICU. American Journal of Critical Care, 21(2):e21-32 
  • *Radtke JV, Tate JA, Happ MB (2012). Nurses perceptions of communication training in the ICU.  Intensive and Critical Care Nursing. 28(1):16-25.
  • *Tate J.A., DeVito Dabbs A., Hoffman LA., Milbrandt E., Happ M.B.(2012). Recognition and management of anxiety in patients weaning from prolonged mechanical ventilation.
    • Qualitative Health Research. 22(2):157-73.
  • *Radtke J.V., Baumann, B.M., Garrett, K.L., Happ, M.B. (2011). Listening to the voiceless patient: Case reports in assisted communication in the ICU. Journal of Palliative Care Medicine. 14(6):791-5.
  • Campbell, G., Happ, M.B. (2010). Symptom identification in the chronically critically ill. AACN Advanced Critical Care, 21 (1), 64-79. [PMCID: PMC2958710]
  • *Song, M.K., Happ, M.B., Sandelowski, M. (2010). Development of a tool to assess fidelity to a psycho-educational intervention. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 66 (3), 673-682. [PMCID: PMC2861796] 
  • *Happ, M.B., Tate, J.A., Swigart, V., DiVirgilio-Thomas, D., Hoffman, L.A. (2010). Wash and wean: Bathing patients undergoing weaning trials during prolonged mechanical ventilation. Heart and Lung. 39(6 Suppl):S47-56 [PMCID: PMC2994970]
  • Balas, M., Casey, C., Happ, M.B. (2010). Assessing and managing critically ill older adults: Resources for educators and clinicians. Journal of Gerontological Nursing, 36 (7): 27-36.
  • Sereika, S., Tate, J.A., DiVirgilio-Thomas, D., Hoffman, L.A., Swigart, V., Broyles, L., Roesch, T., Happ, M.B. (2011). The association between bathing and weaning trial duration. Heart and Lung 40(1):41-8. [PMCID:PMC2997168]
  • *Happ, M.B., Sereika, S., Garrett, K., DiVirgilio-Thomas, D., Tate, J.A., George, E., Houze, M., Radtke, J. (2011). Nurse-patient communication interactions in the ICU.  American Journal of Critical Care.  20(2):e28-40. [NIHMS332696]
  • *Happ, M.B., Baumann, B.M., Sawicki, J., Tate, J.A., George, E.L., Barnato, A.E. (2010). SPEACS-2: intensive care unit "communication rounds" with speech language pathology. Geriatric Nursing, 31(3), 170-7.
  • *Balas, M.C., Happ, M.B., Yang, W., Chelluri, L., Richmond, T. (2009). Outcomes Associated With Delirium in Older Patients in Surgical ICUs. Chest,135(1):18-25.[PMCID: PMC2963095]
  • Happ, M.B. (2009). Mixed methods in gerontological research: Do the qualitative and quantitative data “touch”? Research in Geriatric Nursing, 2 (2): 122-127. .[PMCID: PMC2990272]
  • Haidat, K.K., Tate, J., DiVirgilio-Thomas,D., Kolanowski, A.,  Happ, M.B. (2009). Methods to improve reliability of video-recorded behavioral data. Research in Nursing & Health, 32:465-74. [PMCID: PMC2713814]
  • Patak, L., Wilson-Stronks, A., Costello, J., Kleinpell, R.M., Henneman, E.A., Person, C., Happ, M.B. (2009). Improving patient-provider communication: a call to action. Journal of Nursing Administration,39(9):372-6. [PMCID: PMC2904301]
  • Broyles, L., Tate, J., Happ, M.B. (2008). Video-recording in clinical research: Mapping the ethical terrain. Nursing Research,57(1): 59-63.
  • Lingler, J., Sherwood, P., Crighton, M., Song, M.K., Happ, M.B. (2008).  Conceptual challenges in the study of caregiver-care recipient relationships. Nursing Research, 57(5):367-72 [PMCID: PMC2875992]. 
  • Happ, M.B., Sereika, S. Garrett, K., Tate, J.A. (2008). Use of quasi-experimental sequential cohort design in the Study of Patient-Nurse Effectiveness with Assisted Communication Strategies (SPEACS). Contemporary Clinical Trials, 29: 801-808.[PMCID: PMC2664866] 
  • *Crighton, M., Coyne, B., Tate, J., Happ, M.B. (2008). Transitioning to end-of-life care in the intensive care unit. Cancer Nursing, 31(6):478-84.



Complete List of Published Work in NCBI:


Invited editorials, papers and book chapters  (selected)

  • Happ, M.B. (2013). Qualitative research program in the care of ventilator-dependent ICU patients. In Cheryl Tatano Beck (Ed). Routledge International Handbook of Qualitative Nursing Research.
  • Happ MB. (2012). Caring to communicate revisited. Critical Care Medicine, 40(5):1672-73
  • Tate JA, Seaman JB, Happ MB. (2012) Overcoming barriers to pain assessment: communicating pain information with intubated older adults Geriatric Nursing. Jul;33(4):310-3
    • Cerantola C, Happ MB. (2012). Transitional care for communication impaired older adults: ICU to home. Geriatric Nursing; 33(6):489-92.
    • Tate JA, Happ MB. (2011). Neurocognitive problems in critically ill older adults. The importance of history. Geriatric Nursing, 32(4):285-7. 
  • Happ, M.B. & Hoffman, L.A. (2011). Research needs related to the care of patients on prolonged mechanical ventilation. Heart and Lung,40(2):93-4.
  • Song, M.K., Sandelowski, M., Happ, M.B. (2010). Current practices and emerging trends in conducting mixed-methods intervention studies in the health sciences. In A.Tashakkori & C. Teddlie (Eds).Handbook of Mixed Methods Research,  (2nd ed). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications. (pp.725-47).
  • Happ, M.B. (2010). Individualized care for frail older adults: Challenges for health care reform in acute and critical care. Geriatric Nursing, 31(1), 3-5.
  • Happ, M.B., Sawicki, J.M., Ricci, F.G. (2010). Practice change and culture change in implementing geriatric care initiatives. Geriatric Nursing, 31(6):452-4.[PMID: 21051103]
  • Balas, M., Casey, C., Happ, M.B. (2008). Comprehensive assessment and management of critically ill older adults. In Capezuti, E., Zwicker, D., Mezey, M., Fulmer, T. (eds.). Evidence Based Geriatric Nursing Protocols for Best Practice (3rd ed).  NY: Springer Publishing Co.



Professional Service, Honors and Awards

Honors and awards

  • Fellow, American Academy of Nursing, 2008 - present
  • American Association of Critical Care Nurses Circle of Excellence Award, 2009
  • Eastern Nursing Research Society John A. Hartford Geriatric Research Award, 2010
  • Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing Distinguished Alumni, 2011
  • UPMC Health System Chair in Nursing Science, 2011-2012


Professional service (national, selected)

  • Grant reviews:  John A. Hartford Foundation BAGNC Scholars/Fellows Selection Committee (2008-2010),  NIH Scientific Review Special Emphasis Panel ad hoc reviewer  (2008, 2009, 2011), PCORI Scientific Review Panel (2012)
  • Editorial board member, Heart and Lung, and Journal of Gerontological Nursing.
  • Feature column author, “Acute Care for the Elderly,” Geriatric Nursing.
  • American Academy of Nursing Expert Panel on Critical Care, 2008- present.