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Suzanne Thoyre, PhD, RN

Professor & Director, PhD and Post-Doctoral Programs

Phone: (919) 966-8418
Specialty Area: Children’s Health

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
School of Nursing
Carrington Hall, CB #7460
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7460

Office: 1301

Suzanne Thoyre, RN, PhD is an Associate Professor of the School of Nursing. Her nursing research and clinical interests are in the area of development, taking both a physiological and behavioral approach to understanding the feeding problems of preterm infants. She has experience in the use of physiological measures (data collection and analysis), which include pulse oximetry, EKG recording, plethysmography, capnography, sucking, and swallowing. In addition she has experience in the collection and analysis of observational data, which include behavioral coding using computer programs such as Observer. Her area of consultation is in the area of observational methods and integration of physiologic and behavioral measures.

Student Opportunities

I offer an apprenticeship style of mentoring for doctoral students interested in pediatric feeding. Our lab focuses on physiologic data collection during infant feeding measuring sucking, swallowing, breathing, oxygenation, and heart rhythm; observational data collection and coding of infant and feeder behavior; measurement of young child feeding behaviors; and family management of pediatric feeding problems. If you are interested in working with us in these topic areas please contact Dr. Suzanne Thoyre at

Current Funded Studies:

Principal Investigator. Guiding mothers to co-regulate oral feeding with very preterm infants. NIH, NINR, R21 NR012507, 9/05/11-7/31/14. Principal Investigator. Preparation for the psychometric test of the Pediatric Eating Assessment Tool (Pedi-EAT). Grant support through the Support Pilots for Advancing Research and Knowledge (SPARK) program, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, School of Nursing, 2013-2014. International Collaborator Representing the United States. Tailored care for optimizing the development of preterm infants: Enhancing the expertise of care professionals. Netherlands RAAK-International (Regional Attention and Action for Knowledge Circulation), Luinge (PI), 7/2012-7/2015. Co-Director. Pre- and Post-Doctoral Training Program. Interventions for preventing and managing chronic illness. NIH, NINR, Santacroce (PI), T32 NR070901 9/1/01-8/31/16.

Selected Publications

Park, J., Thoyre, S., & Knafl, G. (in press).  Efficacy of side-lying positioning on bottle feeding outcomes in very preterm infants. Journal of Perinatal & Neonatal Nursing. Thoyre, S., Pados, B., Park, J., Estrem, H., Hodges, E. McComish, C., Van Riper, M., & Murdock, K. (2013). Initial development and content validity of the Pediatric Eating Assessment Tool (Pedi-EAT). American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology. Advance online publication. doi:10.1044/1058-0360(2013/12-0069) Thoyre, S., Park, J., Pados, B., & Hubbard, C. (2013). Developing a co-regulated, cue-based feeding practice: The critical role of assessment and reflection. Journal of Neonatal Nursing, 19(4), 139-148. Thoyre, S., Holditch-Davis, D., Schwartz, T.A., Melendez, C., & Nix, W. (2012). Coregulated approach to feeding preterm infants with lung disease: Effects during feeding. Nursing Research, 61, 242-251. Miles, M.S., Thoyre, S., Beeber, L., Engelke, S., Weaver, M.A., & Holditch-Davis, D. (2011). Process evaluation of a nursing support intervention with rural African American mothers with preterm infants. In A. Lemelle, W. Reed, & S. Taylor, Handbook of African American health: Social and behavioral interventions. New York, NY: Springer Science & Business Media, LLC. Holditch-Davis, D., Miles, M. S., Weaver, M., Black, B., Beeber, L., Thoyre, S. & Engelke, S. (2009). Patterns of distress in African American mothers of preterm infants. Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, 30, 193-205. Brown, L., Thoyre, S., & Pridham, K. (2009). The mother-infant feeding tool. Journal of Gynecological, Obstetric, and Neonatal Nursing, 38, 491-503. Thoyre, S. (2007). Feeding outcomes of extremely premature infants after neonatal care. Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, and Neonatal Nursing, 36(4), 366-76. *Nominated “2007 Best of JOGNN Writing Award.” Pridham, K., Steward, D., Thoyre, S., Brown, R., Brown, L. (2007). Feeding skill performance in premature infants during the first year. Early Human Development, 85(5), 293-305. Thoyre, S. M., Shaker, C., Pridham, K. F. (2005). The Early Feeding Skills assessment for preterm infants. Neonatal Network, 24(3), 7-16. Miles, M., Holditch-Davis, D., Beeber, L., Thoyre, S., & Wong, S. (2005). Rural African-American mothers parenting prematurely born infants: An ecological systems perspective. Newborn and Infant Nursing Reviews, 5(3), 142-148. Pridham, K.F., Bhattacharya, A., Thoyre, S. M., Stewart, D., Bamberger, J., Wells, J., Green, C., Greer, F., Green-Sotos, P., & O'Brien, M. (2005). Exploration of the contribution of biobehavioral variables to the energy expenditure of preterm infants. Biological Research for Nursing, 6(3), 216-229. Thoyre, S. M., & Brown, R. (2004). Factors contributing to preterm infant engagement during bottle feeding. Nursing Research, 53(5), 304-313. Thoyre, S. & Carlson, J. (2003). Preterm infants’ behavioral indicators of oxygen decline during bottle feeding. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 43, 631-641. Thoyre, S. & Carlson, J. (2003). Occurrence of oxygen desaturation events during preterm infant bottle feeding near discharge. Early Human Development, 72, 25-36.