Sharon Tucker brings new research expertise to the College of Nursing
Sharon Tucker, PhD, RN, FAAN, PMHCNS-BC, recently joined The Ohio State University College of Nursing as the Grayce M. Sills Endowed Professor of Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing and director of the Translational Research Core of the Helene Fuld Health Trust National Institute for Evidence-based Practice (EBP).
Tucker was previously the director of nursing research, EBP and quality for the University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics, and prior to that was in a similar role at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. She remains associate editor for Worldviews on Evidence-based Nursing, is on the board of directors and serves as the newly elected treasurer for the Midwest Nursing Research Society, is an alumna of the Robert Wood Johnson Executive Nurse Fellows Program and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing.
She has spent more than 20 years in clinical settings, working in mental health, behavioral health, critical care and as a nurse examiner in sexual assault cases. Early in her career, she observed people who struggled with poor health behaviors and became interested in developing a deeper understanding of how to help families – especially those with young children – learn healthier habits and maintain good mental health. Her curiosity led her to pursue graduate studies, and eventually set the stage for intervention research designs.
“From mental health to obesity to creating a culture of wellness, the thread through it all is behavioral strategies,” said Tucker. “How do you promote mental health? How do you help people stay fit? And how do we promote behavior change?”
Tucker’s goals include conducting rigorous research to develop a better understanding of how to change behaviors to improve health and wellness, and integrating that research in to practice.
“I think people are confused by mixed messages about fat and dietary concerns, for example,” she said. “People will excuse any study to support what they want to do. While dietary composition is complex and not a one-size-fits-all approach, the data [is] much clearer on (the importance of) physical activity. My ultimate goal is to understand what factors help people adopt healthier habits. We know prevention makes a difference but it takes a long time to demonstrate and most people want rapid results, thereby making long-term behavior change challenging.”
On Tuesday, March 7, Tucker will offer a brief discussion of her research on human factors and environments for promoting behavior change beginning at 4:30 p.m. in Newton Hall at 1585 Neil Ave.