Rita Pickler, PhD, RN, FAAN

FloAnn Sours Easton Endowed Professor of Child and Adolescent Health; Director, PhD Program

324 Newton Hall
1585 Neil Avenue Columbus, OH 43210







Dr. Rita Pickler is the FloAnn Sours Easton Endowed Professor of Child and Adolescent Health and Director of the PhD and Masters in Nursing Science Programs at the Ohio State University College of Nursing. Dr. Pickler, whose research on the care of the preterm infant spans over 35 years, is a well-funded, nationally/internationally known researcher whose work has improved quality of life for an extremely defenseless population.  She has served as principal investigator, co-investigator, or significant contributor on 18 externally funded grants and 20 significant internally funded grants. Her research has improved care provided to preterm infants in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), particularly feeding care. Building on her research, she is now advancing knowledge and care provision to improve short and long-term neurodevelopmental outcomes in infants who are born preterm.



Editorial Experience

Research Department Editor, Journal of Pediatric Health Care

Editor, Journal of Advanced Nursing



Funded Grants (2010-current)

  • Pickler, R.H., Co-investigator, Nurse certification and infant outcomes in neonatal intensive care, (H. Tubbs Cooley, PI), American Nurses Foundation, 2015-2016.
  • Pickler, R.H., Principal Investigator, Patterned experience for preterm infants, R01 NR012307, National Institute of Nursing Research, NIH, DHHS, 2011-2017.
  • Pickler, R.H. Internal Executive Committee and Core Program Faculty, Optimizing health development across childhood (OHDAC), T32NR014225-01 (P. Salsbury & K. Arcoleo, PIs), National Institute of Nursing Research, NIH, DHHS, 2013-2018.
  • Pickler, R.H., Co-investigator. Improving post-discharge outcomes by facilitating family-centered transitions from hospital to home, IHS -1306-00811 (S. Shah, PI), PCORI, 2014-2017.
  • Pickler, R.H., Collaborating Faculty. Prematurity Research Center, Ohio Collaborative. (L. Muglia, PI). March of Dimes, 2013-2018.
  • Pickler, R.H., Member, Scientific Oversight Committee, Patient and family centered I-PASS project (C. Landrigan , PI, Boston Children’s and Harvard Medical School). PCORI, 2014-2107.
  • Pickler, R.H., Co-mentor, Physiologic stress during pregnancy on maternal and infant outcomes, K01NR014474 (T. Moore, PI), National Institute of Nursing Research, NIH, 2014-2017.     
  • Pickler, R.H., Site Co-Principal Investigator, Palliative cancer care: Music video for AYA-parent communication and resilience, R01 CA162181-05, National Cancer Institute, NIH, and ANUR1131 U10 CA098543 & U10 CA095861, Children’s Oncology Group (J. Haase & S. Robb, MPIs, Indiana University), 2014-2015 (2011-2015).                             
  • Pickler, R.H., Principal Investigator, Feeding readiness in preterm infants. R01 NR005182, National Institute of Nursing Research, NIH, DHHS, 2006-2012.
  • Pickler, R.H., Co-investigator, Mothers’ attention and preterm infant feeding (L. Brown, Principal Investigator). Sigma Theta Tau International and American Nurses Foundation (Academy of Neonatal Nurses), 2010-2011.



Selected Publications (2010-current)

  • Tubbs-Cooley, H.L,, Pickler, R.H., Simmons, J.M., Auger, K.A., Beck, A.F., Sauers-Ford, H.S., Solan, L.G., White, C.M., Sherman, S.N., Statile, A.M., Shah, S.S. on behalf of the H2O Study Team. (In press). Testing a post-discharge nurse-led transitional home visit in acute care pediatrics: The hospital-to-home outcomes (H2O) study protocol. Journal of Advanced Nursing.
  • Ruiz, R.J., Dwivedi, A.K., Mallawaarachichi, I., Balcazar, H.G., Stowe, R.D., Ayers, K.S., & Pickler, R.H. (2015). Psychological, cultural and neuroendocrine profiles of risk for preterm birth. BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth, 15:204  doi:10.1186/s12884-015-0640-y. PMID: 26334745
  • Blair, L., Pickler, R.H., & Anderson, C. (2015). Integrative review of genetic factors influencing neurodevelopmental outcomes in preterm infants. Biological Research for Nursing. pii: 1099800415605379. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 26374169
  • Pickler, R.H., Wetzel, P.A., Meinzen-Derr, J., Tubbs-Cooley, H., & Moore, M. (2015). Patterned feeding experience for preterm infants: A randomized control trial protocol. Trials, 16(1):255. PMID: 26041365  [Epub ahead of print]
  • Pickler, R.H., Reyna, B.A., Wetzel, P.A., & Lewis, M. (2015). Effect of four approaches to oral feeding progression on clinical outcomes in preterm infants. Nursing Research and Practice, 2015:716828. PubMed PMID: 26000176; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4427091Article ID 716828. doi:10.1155/2015/716828
  • Tubbs-Cooley, H.L, Pickler, R.H., Meinzen-Derr, J. (2015). Missed oral feeding opportunities and preterm infants’ time to achieve full oral feedings and NICU discharge. American Journal of Perinatology, 32(1):1-8. doi: 10.1055/s-0034-1372426. Epub 2014 Mar 8.PMID:24683073 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
  • Goyal, N., Folger, A., Hall, E., Ammerman, R., Van Ginkel, J., & Pickler, R. (2015). Effects of home visiting and maternal mental health on use of the emergency department among late preterm infants. Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, and Neonatal Nursing, 44, 135-144. DOI: 10.1111/1552-6909.12538. PMID: 25782193 [PubMed - in process]
  • Tubbs-Cooley, H.L., Pickler, R.H., Younger, J.A., & Mark, B.A. (2015). A descriptive study of nurse-reported missed care in neonatal intensive care units. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 71, 813-824. doi: 10.1111/jan.12578. PMID:25430513
  • Tubbs-Cooley H.L., Pickler R.H., Mark B.A., & Carle A.C. (2015). A research protocol for testing relationships between nurse workload, missed nursing care and neonatal outcomes: the neonatal nursing care quality study. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 71, 632-641. doi: 10.1111/jan.12507. PMID: 25430513. PMID: 25354486
  • Jeffery, A., & Pickler, R.H. (2014). Barriers to nurses’ adherence to central venous catheter guidelines. The Journal of Nursing Administration, 44, 429-435.
  • Strunk, J., Pickler, R.H., Ameringer, S., & Myers, B. (2014). Managing the healthcare needs of adolescents with autism spectrum disorder:  The parents’ experience. Families, Systems, & Health. 32(3):328-37. doi: 10.1037/a0037180. Epub 2014 Jun 9. PMID: 24911770 [PubMed - in process] [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
  • Brown, L.F, Pickler, R.H., & Wetzel, P.A. (2014). Maternal attention and preterm infant feeding. Journal for Specialists in Pediatric Nursing. 19(3):257-65. doi: 10.1111/jspn.12077. Epub 2014 Mar 28. PMID: 24679170 [PubMed - in process].
  • Stevens, E., Gazza, E., & Pickler, R.H. (2014). Parental experiences learning to feed their preterm infant. Advances in Neonatal Care, 14:354-361. DOI; 10.1097/ANCC.0000000000000105. PMID:25000100[PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
  • Cheng, C.Y., Pickler, R.H., Chu, T.C., & Chou, Y.H., (2014).  The experience of happiness among Chinese postpartum mothers. Psychology (PSYCH), 5, 485-490. http://dx.doi.org/10.4236/psych.2014.56058
  • Cheng, C.Y., & Pickler, R.H. (2014). Perinatal stress, fatigue, depressive symptoms and immune modulation in late pregnancy and one month postpartum. The Scientific World Journal, Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 652630.
  • Moore, T.A. & Pickler, R.H. (2013). Evaluating the precision of clinical assessments for feeding intolerance. Newborn & Infant Nursing Reviews,13(4), 184-188.
  • Pickler, R.H, McGrath, J.M., Reyna, B.A., McCain, N., Lewis, M., Cone, S., Wetzel, P., & Best, A. (2013). A model of neurodevelopmental risk and protection for preterm infants. Advances in Neonatal Care. 5, S11-20. doi: 10.1097/ANC.0000000000000022. PMID:24042179[PubMed - in process]
  • Phillips-Pula, L., Pickler, R.H., McGrath, J.M., Brown, L.F., Dusing, S.C. (2013).  Caring for a preterm infant at home: A mother’s perspective. Journal of Perinatal and Neonatal Nursing, 27(4), 335-344. doi: 10.1097/JPN.0b013e3182a983be. PMID:24164816[PubMed - in process]
  • Tubbs-Cooley, H.L, Martsolf, D., Pickler, R.H., Morrison, C., & Wardlaw, C. (2013).  Development of a regional nursing research partnership for academic and practice collaboration. Nursing Research and Practice, 2013:473864. doi: 10.1155/2013/473864. Epub 2013 Jul 28. PMID:23984059[PubMed]
  • Ruiz, R.J., Pickler, R.H., Marti, C.N., & Jallo, N. (2013). Family cohesion, acculturation, maternal cortisol and preterm birth in Mexican American Hispanic women. International Journal of Women’s Health, 5, 243 – 252. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2147/IJWH.S42268; PMID:23696717[PubMed]; PMCID:PMC3658537
  • Baker, B., McGrath, J., Pickler, R.H., Jallo, N., & Cohen, S. (2013). Perceptions of competence in mothers of late preterm infants versus mothers of term infants. Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, and Neonatal Nursing. Epub 2013 Apr 18 [Epub ahead of print]. doi: 10.1111/1552-6909.12026. PMID:23601024[PubMed - as supplied by publisher].
  • Brown, L.F, & Pickler, R.H. (2013). A guided feeding intervention for mothers of preterm infants: Two case studies. Journal for Specialists in Pediatric Nursing, 18, 98-108. doi: 10.1111/jspn.12020. Epub 2013 Mar 24. PMID:23560581[PubMed - in process]
  • Pickler, R.H., McGrath, J.M, Reyna, B.A., Tubbs Cooley, H., Best, A., Lewis, M., Cone, S., & Wetzel, P.A. (2013). Effects of the NICU environment on preterm infant oral feeding. Research and Reports in Neonatology. Published April 2013 Volume 2013:3 Pages 15 – 20. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2147/RRN.S41280
  • Cone, S., Pickler, R.H., Grap, M.J., McGrath, J., & Wiley, P. (2013). Endotracheal suctioning in preterm infants using four-handed versus routine care.  Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, and Neonatal Nursing, 42, 92–104. PMID:23316894[PubMed - in process] PMCID:PMC3565562
  • Pickler, R.H., Reyna, B.A, Boonmee Griffin, J., Lewis, M., & Martin, A.T. (2012). Changes in oral feeding in preterm infants two weeks after hospital discharge. Newborn and Infant Nursing Reviews, 12(4):202-206. PMID:23185127[PubMed] PMCID:PMC3505084[Available on 2013/12/1]
  • Alperts, J., & Pickler, R.H. (2012). Evolution and development of dual ingestion systems in mammals: Notes on a new thesis and its clinical implications. International Journal of Pediatrics, Article ID 730673, doi: 10.1155/2012/730673. Epub 2012 Sep 18. PMID:23028391[PubMed] PMCID:PMC3458298
  • Reyna, B., Brown, L.F., Pickler, R.H., Myers, B.J., & Younger, J. (2012). Mother-infant synchrony during infant feeding. Infant Behavior and Development, 35(4), 669-677. PMID: 22982266 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
  • Ruiz, R.J., Marti, C.N., Pickler, R.H., Murphey, C., Wommack , J., Brown, C.E.L. (2012). Second trimester maternal plasma levels of cytokines IL-1Ra, Il-6, and IL-10 and preterm birth. Journal of Perinatology, 32(7), 483-490.  PMID:22460542[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE] PMCID:PMC3386355
  • Ruiz, R.J., Marti, C.N., Pickler, R.H., Murphey, C., Wommack , J., Brown, C.E.L. (2012). Acculturation, depressive symptoms, estriol and preterm birth in Hispanic women. Archives of Women's Mental Health, 15(1), 57-67. PMID:22277971[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE] PMCID:PMC3342385
  • Williamson, S., Munro, C., Pickler, R., Grap, M.J., & Elswick, R.K. (2012). Comparison of biomarkers in blood and saliva in healthy adults. Nursing Research and Practice. Online publication, doi:10.1155/2012/246178. PMID:22619709[PubMed] PMCID:PMC3350846
  • Lyon, D., McCain, N., Pickler, R.H., Munro, C., & Elswick. (2011). Advancing the biobehavioral research of fatigue with genetics and genomics. Journal of Nursing Scholarship. 43(3):274-281. PMID: 21884373
  • Boonmee, J., & Pickler, R.H. (2011). Hospital-to-home transition of mothers of preterm infants. MCN The Journal of Maternal Child Nursing, 36, 252-257. PMID:21709523
  • Howland, L.C., Pickler, R.H., McCain, N.L, Glaser, D., & Lewis, M. (2011). Exploring biobehavioral outcomes in mothers of preterm infants. MCN The Journal of Maternal Child Nursing, 36, 91-97. PMID:21350371
  • Pickler, R.H., McGrath, J.M., Reyna, B.A., McCain, N., Lewis, M., Cone, S., Wetzel, P., & Best, A. (2010). A model of neurodevelopmental risk and protection for preterm infants. Journal of Perinatal and Neonatal Nursing, 24, 356-365. PMID:21045616[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE] PMCID:PMC3494740
  • Lyon, D., Howland, L., Cheng, C., Pickler, R.H., Rattican, D., Brown, L., McGrath, J., & Jallo, N. (2010). Integrated review of cytokines in maternal, cord, and newborn blood: part I associations with preterm birth. Biological Research for Nursing, 11,371-376. PMID:20034950
  • Pickler, R.H., Brown, L., McGrath, J., Lyon, D., Rattican, D., Howland, L., Cheng, C., & Jallo, N. (2010). Integrated review of cytokines in maternal, cord, and newborn blood: part II--associations with early infection and increased risk of neurologic damage in preterm infants. Biological Research for Nursing, 11, 377-386. PMID:20028689
  • Cheng, C., & Pickler, R.H. (2010). Maternal psychological well-being and salivary cortisol in late pregnancy and early postpartum. Stress and Health, 26, 215-224. DOI: 10.1002/smi.1285



List of Published Works in MyBibliography:





Service, Honors and Awards



Membership on Review Panels


  • 2003-2007  Nursing Science: Children and Families (NSCF) Study Section, Center for Scientific Review (CSR), National Institutes of Health (NIH)
  • 2007-current  Numerous SEP and ad hoc review committees: ZNR1 REV-B (04), P20 & P30 Applications; SEP ZRG1 HOP-E (11); ZRG1 HOP-T (50) M; ZRG1 HDM-G Editorial Panel 3; ZRG1 HDM-P Editorial Panel 26; ZNR1 REV-Y, P30 Faculty Development Applications; ZNR1 (T32 applications); ZRG1 HDM-Q (02) M; ZNR REV-T (17); CHLP; NRRC (56-62), NIH
  • 2008-2013  Nursing Research Review Committee (NRRC), Chair, 2011-2013, NINR
  • 7/2007-6/2010  American Nurses Foundation Research Review Committee
  • 10/2011  Member, NIAAA Consensus Conference on FASD/ARND
  • 10/2012  PCORI Scientific Reviewer
  • 12/2012-1/2013  Boston Children’s Hospital Center of Excellence for Pediatric Quality Measurement, Expert Panel Member (representing the American Nurses’ Association). Funded by AHRQ and CMS
  • 11/13-current  RAND Corporation AHRQ QI Tookkit Advisor Panel
  • 1/2014  Innovative Questions Workshop on Wellness, NINR, NIH
  • 4/2014  Centers for Disease Control, ZDD1 EEO (02) Research Approaches to Improve Care and Outcomes of People Living with Spina Bifida


Other Recent Professional Membership and Service


  • American Academy of Nursing, 2008-current 
    • Chair, Child, Adolescent and Family Expert Panel, 2010-2013
  • Virginia Nurses' Association, District 5, 1981-current
  • National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners, 1997-current
    • Research Committee (AFPNP Representative, 2005-2008; Chair, 2008-2013)
  • Association of Faculties of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners, 2000-2011
  • National Association of Neonatal Nurses, 1990-current
  • American Academy of Neonatal Nurses, 2001-current
  • Association of Women's Health, Obstetric, and Neonatal Nurses, 1990-current
  • National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties, 1999-2011





  • 1979 Inducted, Sigma Theta Tau
  • 2004 Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society
  • 2008 Fellow, American Academy of Nursing
  • 2013 Outstanding Visionary Leader, VCU School of Nursing





  • 1998 Nursing Distinguished Alumni Award, School of Nursing, University of North Carolina at Greensboro
  • 2000 Alumni Star, School of Nursing, Virginia Commonwealth University
  • 2002 University Alumna Distinguished Service Award, University of North Carolina at Greensboro
  • 2002 Mabel Montgomery Award, School of Nursing, Virginia Commonwealth University
  • 2003 Shining Star, Nurse Practitioner of the Year, Fan Free Clinic, Richmond, VA
  • 2009 Award for Excellence in Research, AWHONN
  • 2013 Excellence in Clinical Research, Beta Iota Chapter, Sigma Theta Tau International