Marcia Van Riper, PhD, RN, FAAN

Professor | Fulbright Specialist/Scholar | Visiting Professorships Coordinator

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
School of Nursing
Carrington Hall, CB #7460
Office: 433
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7460

Marcia Van Riper RN, PhD, FAAN has a joint appointment in the School of Nursing and the Carolina Center for Genome Sciences. She served as the Division Chair for the Family Health Division from 2007 to 2017. The primary focus of Marcia’s program of research is the family experience of being tested for and living with a genetic condition, with special emphasis on families of individuals with Down syndrome.

To date, other conditions she has focused on include Sickle Cell Disease, Cystic Fibrosis, Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer, Huntington Disease, and Factor V Leiden. Marcia and her international colleagues recently completed data collection for a mixed-methods, cross-cultural study designed to address existing gaps in knowledge concerning family factors associated with adaptation and resilience in families of individuals with Down Syndrome. Over 3000 parents of individuals with Down syndrome from more than 50 countries participated in the study.

In 2018, Marcia and her team received funding from the Dhillon Jordan Shah Innovation Fund in Congenital Heart Disease to conduct their study “Families and Congenital Heart Disease: Family Adaptation in Three Groups of Families.” The purpose of the study is to explore family adaptation in three groups of families: (1) families of children with congenital heart disease, (2) families of children with Down syndrome and (3) families of children with congenital heart disease and Down syndrome.

More recently, Marcia and her team received a UNC Sleep Innovation Research Grant to support their study, “Family Management of Sleep Problems in Children with Down Syndrome.” Each year, Marcia teaches a required undergraduate course, Family Centered Genomic Health Care. Starting in the fall of 2019, a revised version of the course will be offered in Fall and Summer semester. Marcia also co-teaches a course in family research. In 2012, Marcia was awarded a Fulbright Scholar Award to spend 6 months at the Catherine McAuley School of Nursing and Midwifery, University College Cork, Ireland, collaborating with faculty on family research, teaching, and publishing.

Then in 2015, Marcia was a Fulbright Specialist at the University of Navarra in Pamplona, Spain. Marcia has taken several groups of undergraduate nursing students to Spain for a global summer nursing experience. In Spring semester 2020, Marcia will be a Visiting Professor at the University of Navarra.