May 26, 2020

The National Institutes of Health/National Institute of Nursing Research (NIH/NINR) has awarded a four-year, $1.6 million R01 grant to fund the study, “Reducing Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Black Young Adults.” The grant was awarded to Janna Stephens, PhD, RN, (PI) assistant professor at The Ohio State University College of Nursing’s Martha S. Pitzer Center for Women, Children and Youth. Co-investigators from Ohio State include Bernadette Melnyk, PhD, APRN-CNP, EBP-C, FAANP, FNAP, FAAN, and Alai Tan, PhD, of the College of Nursing and Carla Miller, PhD, of the College of Public Health. Other co-investigators include Lora Burke, PhD, of Pittsburgh University and Antoinette Perkins of Columbus State Community College.

The study focuses on developing strategies and interventions to assist young African American adults who attend community colleges in creating and sustaining improved health habits in order to reduce the risk of cardiovascular issues later in life.

Stephens and her team will recruit 256 African American community college students who are overweight or obese for the study. This understudied population is at very high risk for cardiovascular disease later in life.

Their goal is to provide these students with a personalized, culturally tailored health coaching program to promote heathy eating and increased exercise habits. During one year, Stephens and her team will track students via a smartphone application, conduct health coaching sessions and provide resources and information to help them eat healthily, increase physical activity and develop other health habits to achieve health, fitness and weight loss goals.

“I really enjoy working with the community college population and making connections with these at-risk students,” said Stephens. “I cannot wait to start working with my team and the students to teach them healthy lifestyle habits to prevent cardiovascular disease later in life!”

May 20, 2020

When researchers asked prospective study participants who they would like to see in videos promoting healthy lifestyle behaviors, the answer was unequivocal: They wanted to see themselves – that is, other mothers living in low-income households who were overweight or obese.

The researchers obliged. And the intervention they designed produced the desired results when it came to improving participants’ diet. As a group, the women in the study who watched the videos and talked to their peers over 16 weeks were more likely to have reduced their fat consumption than women in a comparison group who were given print materials about lifestyle change.

The participants were women who face stubborn health challenges – highly stressed overweight low-income mothers of young children who, for example, tend to retain 10 or more pounds of pregnancy weight after childbirth and are likely to eat high-fat foods. They are at risk for life-long obesity and potential problems for themselves and new babies if they become pregnant again.

“I asked them during focus groups who should be in the videos, and they said, ‘We want to see us. And our children. Do not lie to us and hire professionals, because we’ll be able to tell,’” said Mei-Wei Chang, lead author of the study and associate professor of nursing at The Ohio State University.

“They said, ‘We want to see them before the change and the struggles they had, and what happened after that.’”

Chang and colleagues identified two factors that led to the intervention’s success: The study was designed to appeal to the participants’ personal values and instill in these mothers enough confidence to take on the challenge of living a healthier life.

“My experience with this population is that they really want to make a change. Some might perceive that they don’t want to. But they do – they just don’t know how to,” Chang said.

The research is published online in the journal Appetite and will appear in the August print issue.

The two psychosocial factors Chang and colleagues examined in this study are known as autonomous motivation (what’s important in a person’s life) and self-efficacy (a person’s confidence in her ability to carry out a behavior or task). Previous research has shown that poverty can lead to low self-efficacy.

Autonomous motivation differs by population. In this study, the participants told researchers in focus groups before the intervention began that they wanted to be role models for their children. They hoped to be less stressed and happier, and to maintain good family relationships.

Chang recruited participants from the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), which serves low-income pregnant, postpartum and breastfeeding women and children up to age 5. Those eligible for the program must have an annual household income no higher than 185 percent of the federal poverty line.

The mothers were between the ages of 18 and 39 and their body mass index ranged from 25.0 to 39.9 – from the lowest indicator of being overweight to just below the extreme obesity range. The intervention was aimed at preventing weight gain by promoting stress management, healthy eating and physical activity. This study analyzed only the diet-related results.

During the trial, the 212 participants randomized into the intervention group watched a total of 10 videos in which women like them gave testimonials about healthy eating and food preparation, managing their stress and being physically active.

In the videos, the women wore casual clothes and told their stories, unscripted. They demonstrated meal prep with familiar foods and showed that simple, practical steps – like reading food labels – could gradually lead to a healthier lifestyle.

“They talked about a lot of things I didn’t know,” said Chang, who has worked with women enrolled in WIC for about 20 years. “They spoke their mind about what was important – like how they mentally dealt with changing behavior but not losing weight. And about being afraid to fail.”

The participants also dialed in to 10 peer support group teleconferences over the course of the study.

In phone interviews, the researchers asked the mothers about what they were eating, their confidence in sticking to a low-fat diet and why they wanted to eat more healthfully.

Based on those surveys, the researchers determined that, compared to the group reading print materials, the mothers who watched videos and spoke with their peers reported larger increases in autonomous motivation and self-efficacy and a more significant decrease in fat intake after the 16-week intervention.

“Essentially, they said, ‘If she could do it, I could do it.’ That’s why we used peers to develop the intervention,” Chang said.

The researchers are still analyzing data related to physical activity results, and have found that the intervention’s emphasis on coping self-efficacy helped reduce participants’ stress. The videos are now part of WIC’s continuing education series for mothers.

This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health.

Co-authors included Alai Tan and Duane Wegener from Ohio State and Jiying Ling and Lorraine Robbins from Michigan State University.

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 26, 2020

Microwave ovens produce radio-frequency waves that cause the water molecules in an object to vibrate. This vibration causes friction, which allows the object to heat up to a temperature that can kill germs.

That's why microwaves are sometimes used to disinfect items such as a household sponge, as they are a hotbed for viruses and bacteria.

However, research has found mixed results on whether a microwave can effectively kill germs on a sponge, or even in food. Here's what you need to know.

February 12, 2020

College ranks #16 among all nursing colleges, #9 among public institutions

The Ohio State University College of Nursing has strengthened its standing as a top earner of grant funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The Blue Ridge Institute for Medical Research’s new review of NIH grant awards ranks the College of Nursing at #16 overall and #9 among public institutions, with approximately $4.3 million in NIH research funding.

This is the third consecutive year that the College of Nursing has ranked in the nation’s top 20 for primary NIH grant funding. Overall, the college received approximately $10.7 million in research and development grants from external funders, including NIH, in FY2019.

“Our standing as a premier research college is driven by the passion, innovation and dedication of our research leadership, faculty and staff to improve healthcare quality and health outcomes,” said Bernadette Mazurek Melnyk, PhD, APRN-CNP, FAANP, FNAP, FAAN, vice president for health promotion, university chief wellness officer and dean of the College of Nursing. “The NIH’s continued investment in our research helps us transform health and improve lives by dreaming, discovering and delivering a healthier world.”

“The innovative and relevant science that our research faculty conduct is addressing critically-important healthcare problems,” said Mary Beth Happ, PhD, RN, FGSA, FAAN, associate dean for research and innovation at the College of Nursing. “Their work will help improve the health and well-being of people across the life-span.”

This round of NIH funding encompasses both new awards and recurrent years of funding for existing, supported research programs. New awards for the College of Nursing support science in the area of aging, including pain/symptom management and interventions to promote cognitive and functional recovery from critical illness in adults. Those programs include:

Expansion of study on pain differences for Alzheimer’s patients

Karen O. Moss, PhD, RN, CNL, assistant professor at the College of Nursing, received a diversity supplement award in conjunction with a five-year existing NIH/National Institute on Aging (NIA) study entitled “Sex Differences in Pain Reports and Brain Activation in Older Adults with Alzheimer’s Disease.” The grant was awarded to an interdisciplinary team that includes Todd Monroe, PhD, RN-BC, FNAP, FGSA, FAAN, associate professor in College of Nursing, as well as faculty from the College of Nursing, the Departments of Neurology and Geriatrics, the Wright Center of Innovation in Biomedical Imaging at Ohio State and collaborators from Vanderbilt University. The study is examining gender and Alzheimer’s-related differences in verbal pain reporting patterns and how they are displayed in regional and network brain function, with an aim to lead to better pain management. Moss’ work will focus on how patients of different racial backgrounds self-report pain and the impact of Alzheimer’s on how the brain processes pain, with the long-term goal of developing appropriate interventions.

Advancing science on sensitivity to cancer pain in Alzheimer’s patients

Monroe and his research partner Ronald Cowan, MD, PhD, professor of psychiatry and behavioral health at Vanderbilt University, will lead a multi-site five-year, $5 million NIH/NIA grant project to advance research focused on patients with Alzheimer’s disease and certain types of cancer and their sensitivity to pain. The study, “Pain Sensitivity and Unpleasantness in People with Alzheimer’s Disease and Cancer,” examines whether these patients are at greater risk of suffering from poorly-treated pain at the end of life.

Helping adults needing treatment in intensive-care units

The National Institutes of Health/National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NIH/NHLBI) awarded a three-year, $1.2 million grant to Michele Balas, PhD, RN , CCRN-K, FCCM, FAAN, associate professor in the College of Nursing. The study entitled “Determinants of Implementation Success Coordinating Ventilator, Early Ambulation and Rehabilitation Efforts in the ICU (DISCOVER-ICU)” includes collaborators Alai Tan, PhD, (Co-I) and Lorraine Mion, PhD, RN, FAAN, (Co-I) of The Ohio State University College of Nursing, plus collaborators from Vanderbilt University and the Society of Critical Care Medicine. This study advances research into evidence-based interventions – including what is known as the ABCDEF bundle – to improve clinical outcomes in ICU patients.

NIH/NIA also awarded a two-year, $312,000 grant to fund the study, “A Problem Solving Intervention for Post-ICU Cognitive Impairment in Older Adults.” The grant was awarded to Judith Tate, PhD, RN (PI), assistant professor in The Ohio State University College of Nursing. Co-investigators include Lorraine C. Mion, PhD, RN, FAAN, and Alai Tan, PhD, of the College of Nursing, and Jennifer Bogner, PhD, ABPP, FACRM, of the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation in the College of Medicine. This pilot study focuses on the risks of delirium to brain health in older patients treated in ICUs and tests the impact of a home-based intervention.

NIH-supported research also continues on multi-year grants already awarded to faculty working in the Martha S. Pitzer Center for Women, Children and Youth. That research includes:

  • Tondi Harrison, PhD, RN, FAAN: Examining responses to oral feeding in infants with both Down syndrome and congenital heart disease
  • Shannon Gillespie, PhD, RN: Testing a novel method of identifying women at risk for inflammatory preterm birth and how specific preventive interventions may offer benefit during pregnancy

The College of Nursing is currently hiring new faculty who are committed to transforming health and improving lives. You can find job openings in the college by clicking on this link.

January 31, 2020
AACN award recognizes outstanding dissertation on work with preterm infants

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) awarded Marliese Nist, MS, RNC, with its 2019-2020 Excellence in Advancing Nursing Science Award. The award recognizes an outstanding dissertation from a student in a PhD in nursing or DNS program.

Nist, who is a post-doctoral researcher at The Ohio State University College of Nursing, received the award and a $1,000 prize at AACN’s 2020 Doctoral Education Conference, Breaking Barriers, Building Bridges: Engineering Pathways for the Future, in Naples, Florida in January. She also presented her abstract of her dissertation, Inflammatory Mediators of Stress Exposure and Neurodevelopment in Very Preterm Infants.

“This award motivates me to continue pursuing this important work,” Nist said. “Preterm infants are among the most vulnerable people in our population, and understanding both the barriers and enablers of their development is critical to their health and well-being.”

Nist credits her success to the outstanding mentorship she has received from Rita Pickler, PhD, RN, FAAN; Tondi Harrison, PhD, RN, FAAN; and Deborah Steward, PhD, RN, of The Ohio State University College of Nursing and Abigail Shoben, PhD, of The Ohio State University College of Public Health, Division of Biostatistics.

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing is the national voice for academic nursing. AACN works to establish quality standards for nursing education, assists schools in implementing those standards, influences the nursing profession to improve health care and promotes public support for professional nursing education, research and practice.

October 22, 2019
Program explores keto eating, other interventions and impact on cardiovascular risk for African American women

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Rita & Alex Hillman Foundation has awarded a one-year, $50,000 Hillman Emergent Innovation Program grant to two research faculty from The Ohio State University College of Nursing for their program, “Keto Prescribed: Translating Ketogenic Research into Clinical Practice.” Sigma Theta Tau International has also awarded the project a $20,000 American Nurses Credentialing Center Evidence-Based Practice Implementation Grant to fund the initial round of participants.

The project’s proposal states that “this nurse practitioner-led health coaching program incorporates ketogenic eating and culturally competent mental/physical health interventions to reduce cardiovascular disease risk and increase quality of life for adult African American women.” Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death for women (one out of every three women). Research shows not only a growing prevalence of obesity and diet-related diseases such as diabetes in African American women, but also that there are opportunities for changes in lifestyle behaviors to help improve well-being for African American women, who are at an increased risk for cardiovascular disease.

“We are grateful for the Rita & Alex Hillman Foundation’s and Sigma Theta Tau International's support of a program that we believe will be life-changing for this population of women,” said Barbara Jones Warren, PhD, RN, APRN-CNS, FNAP, FAAN, professor of clinical nursing at the College of Nursing and the principal investigator for this project. “We are taking a holistic approach of combining nutrition under keto principles with other appropriate interventions to transform the health of these women and impact their lives in meaningful ways.”

According to the project proposal, “Keto Prescribed” will create a nurse practitioner-led, interdisciplinary team-based model of care in a community setting. The activities planned through the program include community and online group interactions; physical checks to measure outcomes of areas such as weight, body mass index and blood pressure; and evaluations using surveys to measure progress in participants’ quality of life and the feasibility and acceptability of the dietary intervention.

“I’m so inspired by the potential of this program,” said Audra Hanners, MSN, RN, APRN-CNP. Hanners, an instructor of clinical practice at the College of Nursing, is assisting with this program. “We are working to clear barriers to better health for African American women, and the commitment from the Rita & Alex Hillman Foundation and Sigma Theta Tau International is crucial to this mission.”

According to its website, the Hillman Emergent Innovation Program supports forward-thinking nurses who create “bold, early-stage (pre-evidence or untested) interventions that target health and health care needs for vulnerable populations, including groups that are economically disadvantaged, racial and ethnic minorities, LGBTQ people, the homeless, rural populations and others.”

The mission of Sigma Theta Tau International, which was founded in 1922 at what is now the Indiana University School of Nursing, is "advancing world health and celebrating nursing excellence in scholarship, leadership and service."

People interested in participating in the program can find more information here.

October 14, 2019

Americans overestimate their own resilience, which impacts their health and wellness. The good news: Anyone can learn resilience. The bad news: Most don't know they need to acquire it.

July 24, 2019

It’s possible that a lock of hair could one day aid in the diagnosis of depression and in efforts to monitor the effects of treatment, said the author of a new study examining cortisol levels in the hair of teens.

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.

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