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Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute

In Fall 2010, Dr. Debra Barksdale was the only nurse appointed to the Board of Governors for the new Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute. The national institute was established under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, part of federal health-care reform legislation. The institute will carry out research projects to help patients, clinicians, consumers and policymakers make informed health decisions.

Dr. Barksdale’s research involves studying hypertension in black Americans. With a grant from the National Institute of Nursing Research, she is studying cardiovascular and neuroendocrine responses during sleep. The responses indicate a person’s physiological costs of chronic exposure to stress, which is known as allostatic load. Her work is so unique that instruments did not exist for necessary 24-hour ambulatory monitoring. With support from the school’s Biobehavioral Laboratory, Barksdale worked with a company to adapt equipment for her research. With doctoral students Jeongok Logan and Carolyn Lekavich and post-doctoral fellow Minhee Suh, Barksdale is studying the effects of the body’s release of cortisol shortly after awakening from a night’s sleep. They will study this cortisol awakening response in black Americans while recording ambulatory blood pressure and how the heart is working for 24 hours. Studying blood pressure and heart function throughout the day and during sleep might shed light on a mystery that vexes clinicians and researchers alike: Why do so many heart attacks and strokes occur in early morning?

SNRS D. Jean Wood Award

Dr. Barbara Carlson has been selected to receive the 2011 SNRS D. Jean Wood Award. The D. Jean Wood Award recognizes faculty researchers whose contributions have enhanced the science and practice of nursing in the Southern region. Recipients of the Award are selected from candidates who have had their paper or poster abstracts accepted for presentation at the SNRS Annual Conference. Barb’s paper entitled, “Cerebral Oxygenation in Wake and During Sleep and its Relationship to Cognitive Function in Community-Dwelling Older Adults Without Sleep Disordered Breathing” has just been published in the Journals of Gerontology: Medical Sciences. Barb will receive her award at the Annual Conference Business Meeting on Friday, February 18, 2011.

2011 SNRS-Salimetrics Distinguished Student Scholar Award in Biobehavioral Science

Jeongok Logan, RN MSN, doctoral student in the School of Nursing, has been selected by the Southern Nurses Research Society (SNRS) as the recipient of the 2011 SNRS – Salimetrics Distinguished Student Scholar Award in Biobehavioral Science for her work in understanding the relation between acculturative stress and cardiovascular risk in Korean Americans . This work is mentored by School of Nursing faculty Drs. Joanne Harrell and Debra Barksdale. The purpose of the award is to recognize the contribution of a rising pre or post doctoral student-investigator who is actively conducting research to advance nursing knowledge related to the interactions between biology and behavior. Ms. Logan will receive a plaque presented by the Biobehavioral Research Interest Group at the SNRS 2011 Annual Conference to be held February 16-19, 2011 in Jacksonville, Florida. As part of this award, Ms. Logan will receive a monetary prize covering travel and expenses to attend the Salimetrics Spit Camp workshop in College Park, PA, which offers instruction to researchers and laboratories from around the world on saliva collection and salivary assay as well as study design advice.

Faculty Boot Camp

Dr. Suzanne Thoyre has been invited to participate in The Third Annual Faculty Boot Camp, a four day workshop officially entitled The Entrepreneurial Mindset-Maximizing Faculty Impact. The seminar will focus on entrepreneurial thinking and turning ideas into reality. It will take place from Monday, May 9 through Thursday, May 12 in Hyde Hall, home of the Institute for the Arts and Humanities and will be led by a team of faculty and entrepreneurs from the College’s entrepreneurship minor. The goal of the seminar is to identify faculty who have a project in mind and give them the tools to move to the next level and begin implementing their idea. The seminar will focus on matters such as identifying opportunity, developing a strategy, selling the idea, writing a plan, calculating costs, raising money, developing goals and assessing progress toward meeting those goals.

Dr. Thoyre’s research relates to improving feeding techniques for very low weight premature infants. Her research involves unique physiological challenges including developing special monitoring equipment adaptable to very fragile infants in critical care nursing environments and special approaches to data collection. She has been working with the Biobehavioral Laboratory and with personnel associated with the electronics laboratory in the Chemistry Department to develop special monitoring components that would be suitable for data monitoring in the clinical environment and not be overly burdensome to the infant or the nursing staff who may eventually use these approaches.