The West Virginia University School of Nursing Office of Research and Scholarly Activity supports the overall West Virginia University Health Sciences strategic plan to promote health and eliminate health disparities, while focusing on the School of Nursing’s vision for optimal health, enhanced quality of life, and excellent healthcare for the people of West Virginia and the global community.

The WVU School of Nursing research program includes colleagues from the WVU Schools of Medicine, Dentistry, Pharmacy, and Public Health, WVU Medicine and the West Virginia Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute. Multiple funding sources, including federal, state, foundation, institutional and industry, support the program.

The WVU SON Office of Research and Scholarly Activity is committed to the next generation of nurse scholars and offers baccalaureate, graduate students and new faculty-mentored experiences with established researchers in a scholarly interprofessional research environment.

Shaping the future of healthcare

Meet our Research faculty

Dr. Tina Antill-Kenner, PhD, MBA, RN, CPNP

Dr. Antill-Keener’s research is on examining underlying bio-behavioral mechanisms of complex symptoms and improving symptom management in pediatric oncology patients. Her long-term goal is to develop nurse-led interventions to reduce symptom burden in children with cancer. 

Dr. Joy Buck, PhD, APRN, Faculty Emeritus

Dr. Buck’s research interests include community-based participatory research, particularly the palliative care needs of chronically ill rural populations, and transitions in complex chronic illness.

Dr. Roger Carpenter, PhD, RN, NE-BC, CNE

Dr. Carpenter’s research focuses on modifiable psychosocial factors, namely stress, appraisal, and coping, which affect the self-management behaviors of diet, exercise, and medication administration as well as the biophysical outcomes of hemoglobin A1c and BMI in patients with Type II diabetes.

Dr. Tara Hulsey, PhD, RN, CNE, FAAN

Robert Wood Johnson Executive Nurse Fellow Alumna, AACN Wharton Fellow

Dr. Hulsey’s research interests and expertise include perinatal outcomes, pregnancy behaviors, low birth weight, preterm birth, and secondary data analysis.

Dr. Jennifer Mallow, PhD, FNP-BC

Robert Wood Johnson Nurse Faculty Scholar Alumna

The focus of Dr. Mallow’s research is the use of technology to improve access and outcomes for persons with multiple chronic conditions living in rural and underserved areas. As a Nurse Practitioner, she has provided care, promoted health and managed disease for uninsured individuals. She is currently funded as a Research Consultant on the Population Health Initiative at West Virginia University Hospitals. She and her team have developed an empirically effective, HIPAA compliant, web-based, system of mHealth sensors and mobile devices. The system, called mI SMART, allows patients living in rural areas to perform self-monitoring, receive feedback in real time, and attend primary care visits from their home. It also displays a record database to providers that have the ability to integrate into Electronic Medical Records.

Dr. Trisha Petitte, PhD, BSN, MSN, RN, FNP-BC

Dr. Petitte’s research interests include heart failure, lung disease, and telehealth. Her recently completed dissertation examined the relationship between modifiable risk factors and levels of functioning among Appalachian patients with heart failure.

Dr. Ubolrat Piamjariyakul, PhD, RN  

Dr. Piamjariyakul’s research is focused on developing and testing culturally sensitive interventions that will effectively support family home caregiving of their loved ones with complex chronic illnesses and at end of life.Her innovative interventions are shown to provide vulnerable populations with relevant home care skills that will improve self-management, reduce re-hospitalizations and care costs, and prevent and alleviate caregiver home care burden.

Dr. Aletha Rowlands, PhD, RNFA, CNOR

Dr. Rowlands is an advanced practice nurse with 25 years of experience in the hospital arena. She uses both qualitative and quantitative methodologies to improve patient care delivery and outcomes. Dr. Rowlands works collaboratively with hospital-based nurses to advance evidence-based point-of-care delivery and patient safety practices.

Dr. Kari Sand-Jecklin, EdD, MSN, RN, AHN-BC

Dr. Sand-Jecklin’s research interests are related to health literacy, teaching/learning methodologies, holistic and complementary nursing care. She is presently conducting a study related to the implementation of a peer-mentoring program in the undergraduate nursing program.

Dr. April Shapiro, PhD, RN

Dr. Shapiro’s research focuses on continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) adherence, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and its sequelae, OSA symptoms predictive of anxiety, and psychological consequences of untreated OSA. She has developed and pilot tested the CPAP-SAVER intervention to improve adherence among adults with newly diagnosed OSA.

Dr. Marilyn Smith, PhD, PMHNP-BC

Dr. Smith investigates recovery from psychological trauma as well as general psychiatric and mental health issues. Much of her research has been directed towards understanding and preventing intimate partner violence.  In addition, she is currently researching how students experience being treated in a compassionate manner during their nursing education.  

Dr. Mary Jane Smith, PhD, RN, FAAN

Dr. Mary Jane Smith’s research interest areas include theory development, qualitative methodology, veteran health, and adolescent health promotion. She is presently working on the following two studies: the experience of living in a relationship with a veteran who has secondary PTSD-like symptoms for non-veteran women and the experience of living with headache for adolescents.

Dr. Laurie Theeke, PhD, FNP-BC, GCNS-BC, FNAP

Robert Wood Johnson Nurse Faculty Scholar Alumna

Theeke’s research goals include using mixed methods to better understand the phenomenon of loneliness, and to evaluate the efficacy of new interventions on loneliness, its associated psychoneuroimmunological stress response, and quality of life in chronically ill, older adults.

Dr. Suzy Walter, PhD, MSN, APRN, FNP-BC, CNRN

Dr. Walter investigates headache frequency, headache disability, quality of life, and selected lifestyle behaviors in adolescents. Dr. Walter incorporates the self-management treatment paradigm for chronic illness that uses the principles of self-management, including goal setting, self-monitoring, and information processing to improve outcomes in adolescent headache sufferers.