June 05, 2020

A continuing NIH T32 training grant awarded to The Ohio State University College of Nursing from the National Institutes of Health/National Institute of Nursing Research (NIH/NINR) will support the training of pre-doctoral students studying health development across the life course. PhD students in nursing will conduct research while working closely with 24 faculty from nursing, sociology, emergency medicine and pediatric medicine. Each year for the next five years, two or three newly admitted nursing PhD students will be supported over two or three years. Our first trainees will start in the 2020–2021 academic year. This novel training program has four goals to address fundamental challenges in nursing research today:

  • recruit and retain diverse and qualified pre-doctoral trainees to conduct rigorous research in the science of health development
  • prepare trainees to develop and implement ethical health research in the science of health development
  • provide scientific grounding and research experiences with highly qualified faculty and using extensively available resources to prepare trainees for research careers
  • increase the number and strengthen the scientific foundation of early career nurse scientists

Central to the training plan is the broadening of our PhD program focus on health determinants, incorporating a modification of the ecodevelopmental and life course model. In light of how health develops across the life course, the research community is challenged to stimulate new research, to develop creative solutions for improving health and wellness and to translate research findings into social policy that will optimize health. This renewal includes attention to sensitive periods of health development from preconception to old age. Trainees will be prepared to lead research teams based upon a life course health development framework that considers the intersection of determinants of health with human biological, psychological, and epigenetic processes, and explains the mechanisms and wellness outcomes of this interaction. The program will further NINR’s goal to support research on the science of health and wellness, which is integral to NINR’s mission as well as across the NIH and the entire federal government, all of whom have recognized that improving health and well-being is critical to reducing the burden of illness now and in the future.

Co-Directors: Rita Pickler, PhD, RN, FAAN and Mary Beth Happ, PhD, RN, FGSA, FAAN

Class of 2020–2021 trainees (advisors): Nicole Cistone (Pickler, Fortney), Emika Miller (Happ), Lindsay Smith (Harrison)      

The first T32 was funded in 2013. Nine trainees have or will complete the program: Lisa Blair (2018), Colleen McGovern (2018), Randi Bates (2019), Marliese Nist (2019), Elizabeth Hutson (2020), Emma Schlegel, Alexandra Nowak, Stephanie Sealschott, and Laura Beth Kalvas.

Application for The Nursing PhD program for fall 2021 will open in August 2020. The deadline for the submission of all application materials is January 4, 2021. To learn more about our PhD program, please visit our website.

April 17, 2020

Drs. Mary Beth Happ and Judy Tate discuss evidence-based tips and techniques for communicating with mechanically ventilated patients with COVID-19. Mary Beth and Judy are members of the Patient Provider Communication Forum COVID-19 Task Force, a multidisciplinary group of nurses and speech language pathologists with expertise in communication science.

March 25, 2020

Speech-language experts from The Ohio State University and across the country have teamed up to produce a free online suite of tools and resources for healthcare professionals to utilize in the treatment and care of patients battling COVID-19 who are unable to speak.

Speech-language pathologists, nursing leaders and engineers from the Patient-Provider Communication (PPC) Forum developed the toolkit with support from the U.S. Society of Augmentative and Alternative Communications.

July 19, 2019
Grants support transformative research in healthcare across the lifespan

The Ohio State University College of Nursing announced today that faculty researchers at the college received approximately $10.7 million in grant funding during fiscal year 2019. That compares to $6.9 million granted for fiscal year 2018.

This level of funding supports research in several critical areas of healthcare, including aging and dementia care, understanding and preventing preterm birth, health and wellness interventions for vulnerable populations, symptom science, and improving critical and chronic care outcomes across the lifespan.

“We are grateful for the support our research faculty continue to receive to advance nursing and health sciences,” said Mary Beth Happ, PhD, RN, FAAN, FGSA, associate dean of research and innovation at the College of Nursing. “Our researchers pursue breakthroughs and provide leadership in priority areas that promote wellness, stunt the impact of chronic disease and improve health across the lifespan.”

The college revealed in February that last year, it ranked #13 overall and #6 among public institutions nationally in National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant funding specifically.

October 19, 2018

This fall, The Ohio State University College of Nursing received a total of over $9 million in new grant funding for research from a variety of prestigious institutions, including the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the American Cancer Society, the Rita & Alex Hillman Foundation, the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners, and others.

“Three of these awards are particularly significant as the proposed studies are part of exciting and important interdisciplinary work led by College of Nursing faculty who are early stage investigators, which means that they are receiving their first R01 or equivalent research grant. The future looks bright for nursing and transdisciplinary science in our college,” stated Mary Beth Happ, PhD, RN, FGSA, FAAN, associate dean for research and innovation in The Ohio State University College of Nursing.

NIH funds College of Nursing research

The National Institutes of Health/National Institute of Nursing Research (NIH/NINR) awarded a $191 K grant to Tondi Harrison, PhD, RN,FAAN, (PI) to fund an administrative supplement to the study, “Behavioral and physiological responses to oral feeding in infants with complex congenital heart disease.” The supplement, from NIH’s INCLUDE program (INvestigation of Co-occurring conditions across the Lifespan to Understand Down SyndromE), will support the addition of infants who have both Down syndrome and congenital heart disease to the study. Harrison is an associate professor in the College of Nursing.

The NIH/NINR also awarded a $423 K, three-year career development grant to Shannon Gillespie, PhD, RN, assistant professor, Martha S. Pitzer Center for Women, Children & Youth. Her study, “Maternal Immune Responsiveness as Clinical Target for Preterm Birth Prevention” (The MIRACL Study) will test a novel method of identifying women at risk for inflammatory preterm birth and determining whether specific preventive interventions are likely to offer benefit during the pregnancy.

Recent grants from the NIH also include a $3.3 million NIH/NIA R01 to Todd Monroe, PhD, RN-BC, FNAP, FGSA, FAAN, (PI); a $2.8 million NIH/NIA R01 to Jodi McDaniel, PhD, RN, (PI) and colleagues, and a $1.8 million NIH/NINR R01 to Carmen Giurgescu, PhD, RN, WHNP, and colleagues at Wayne State University.

“All of our new NIH funding provides evidence of the fantastic cutting-edge research being conducted by our nationally renowned faculty and the terrific research infrastructure that is provided by our college so that our faculty can achieve their dreams and produce major positive impact through their work,” stated Bernadette Mazurek Melnyk, PhD, RN, APRN-CNP, FAANP, FNAP, FAAN, vice president for health promotion, university chief wellness officer and dean and professor in the College of Nursing.

Other prestigious institutions support College of Nursing research

The American Cancer Society awarded a five-year, $1.7 million grant to Jennifer Kue, PhD, for the Intergenerational Refugee and Immigrant Cancer Screening Project.

The National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners awarded a foundation grant to Assistant Professor Lisa Kinsella Militello, PhD, MPH, RN, CPNP, to fund the study, “A Solution-Focused Approach: What Low-Income Parents with Young Children Need from Stress-Regulation Smartphone Apps.” IT Project Scientist Emre Sezgin, PhD, of Nationwide Children’s Hospital is a co-investigator on the project.

The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation awarded a grant to Pam Lusk, DNP, RN, FAANP, clinical associate professor, for the study, “Integrating Adolescent Substance Abuse Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) throughout Social Work and Nursing Education.”

The Rita & Alex Hillman Foundation awarded grants to  Bernadette Melnyk, PhD, RN, APRN-CNP, FAANP, FNAP, FAAN, (PI) and colleagues and  Laureen Smith, PhD, RN, FAAN, (PI) and colleagues.

January 23, 2014

Improving communication to improve patient care in intensive care units: New evidence-based online learning modules include communications strategies and tools for helping critically ill patients who cannot speak

Each year, more than 800,000 critically ill patients are unable to speak because they are ventilated or using artificial airways. That inability to communicate can lead to anxiety, frustration and potential panic, putting those patients at greater risk for preventable adverse events.

A research team funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s (RWJF) Interdisciplinary Nursing Quality Research Initiative (INQRI) developed and tested a program including web-based communications training for nurses, resources to use with patients and bedside teaching rounds provided by a speech pathologist called Study of Patient-Nurse Effectiveness with Assisted Communication Strategies (SPEACS-2). The program improves nurses’ knowledge of, comfort with and satisfaction communicating with mechanically ventilated patients.

Now the SPEACS-2 communications training program is available online at go.osu.edu/speacs. It consists of tools, resources and six 10-minute interactive learning modules, which include:

  • introduction to the SPEACS-2 program and assessment to determine how best to use the communications strategies and tools
  • techniques to help patients better understand questions and instructions, assessing patients’ ability to communicate and establishing communications with patients
  • techniques to help patients who are cognitively impaired understand and communicate
  • techniques to better support and understand patients’ “unaided” communications, such as gestures or mouthing words
  • techniques and materials to assess and support patients’ written communications
  • demonstrations of communications strategies to use with patients with impaired movement or attention, and a presentation of the role of a speech language pathologist in assisting with communication.

Nurses and other healthcare providers can download and print communications tools and resources from the SPEACS-2 communication training program website that are intended for use in implementing the program. They include a communication and assessment planning algorithm, which also comes in pocket size, picture and letter boards to use with patients, topic and message lists for patients, lists of common gestures and much more.

Nurses can earn one continuing education credit for completing the program by visiting go.osu.edu/speacs.

The INQRI-funded research team that developed and tested SPEACS-2 was led by Mary Beth Happ, PhD, RN, FAAN, dean’s distinguished professor of critical-care research and director of the Center of Excellence in Critical and Complex Care at The Ohio State University, and Amber Barnato, MD, MPH, MS, associate professor of Medicine and Clinical and Translational Science at the University of Pittsburgh. The study was conducted at the University of Pittsburgh.

INQRI supports interdisciplinary teams of nurse scholars and scholars from other disciplines to address the gaps in knowledge about the relationship between nursing and healthcare quality. It is helping to advance the recommendations of the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) landmark report, "The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health," which include fostering interprofessional collaboration and preparing and enabling nurses to lead change. By requiring research teams to include a nurse scholar and at least one scholar from another healthcare discipline, INQRI not only fosters interprofessional collaboration, but increases the methodological rigor of the research conducted. 

To learn more, visit rwjf.org.

For more than 40 years, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has worked to improve the health and healthcare of all Americans. It is striving to build a national culture of health that will enable all Americans to live longer, healthier lives now and for generations to come. For more information, visit rwjf.org. Follow the foundation on Twitter at rwjf.org/twitter or on Facebook at rwjf.org/facebook.