Kathy Knafl Honored at International Nursing Conference

The International Family Nursing Association (IFNA) has selected SON faculty member Kathleen (Kathy) Knafl, PhD, FAAN to receive its prestigious 2015 Excellence in Family Nursing Award. The award, to be presented August 12 at the IFNA conference in Odense, Denmark, recognizes Dr. Knafl’s outstanding career contributions to the family nursing field.

“Dr. Knafl’s lifetime achievement in developing and disseminating novel concepts and research regarding the nursing of families, is, I believe, unparalleled,” wrote Catherine A. Chesla, Professor and Shobe Endowed Chair at the University of California, San Francisco, in a letter nominating Dr. Knafl for the award. “It is not an overstatement to say that Dr. Kathy Knafl has changed the face of family nursing research with her seminal contributions.”

Dr. Knafl is the Frances Hill Fox Distinguished Professor at the UNC School of Nursing, where her research focuses on families of children with chronic conditions. One of the most influential achievements of her career has been the development of the Family Management Measure (FaMM), used to measure how families manage caring for a child with a chronic condition or illness and the extent to which they incorporate condition management into everyday family life.

“It’s always really special to be honored by your tribe,” said Dr. Knafl, reflecting on the IFNA award. “I have long considered the family nursing and family research community to be both my colleagues and my friends. We share a vision of wanting to make things better for families, and I think nurses have a major role in making that happen.”

A leader in the family nursing field, Dr. Knafl is a founding member of the IFNA and is active on the editorial boards of the Journal of Family Nursing, Research in Nursing & Health and Nursing Outlook. She served as the School of Nursing’s Associate Dean for Research from 2008-2015, a position in which she was succeeded by Ruth Anderson, PhD, RN, FAAN on July 1 (see related news story).

In her current NIH-funded research project, the Family Synthesis Project, Dr. Knafl and a team of five other UNC faculty members are conducting an extensive mixed-methods synthesis of more than 1,000 research reports addressing the intersection of family life and childhood chronic conditions. By finding common threads that can illuminate the factors that prevent, ameliorate, or increase risk for children and families, the project aims to provide an evidence base for developing interventions that support optimal child, family and family member outcomes.