The School’s programs of research are concentrated in five areas:

Carolina Nursing faculty are known for their strong programs of research on the prevention and management of chronic illness. In 1994, the School established the Center for Research on Chronic Illness to promote and support faculty research on preventing and managing chronic illness. SON research focuses on a range of chronic conditions and includes people at all stages of life. Faculty are developing and testing interventions with infants, school age children, pregnant women, parents of toddlers, parents and their middle school age children, adults, and older adults. Studies address diabetes, cancer, cancer survivorship, Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis, cardiovascular disease, obesity, depressive symptoms, HIV/AIDS, and urinary incontinence among other conditions. The School has an Institutional National Research Service Award from the National Institute of Nursing Research to support doctoral and post-doctoral fellows in the study of Interventions for Preventing and Managing Chronic Illness.

Through their research, faculty seek to understand and eliminate health disparities in those populations that bear the greatest burden of illness: the poor, African Americans, Latinos, and those living in rural areas. In 2002, the School created the Center for Innovation in Health Disparities Research in partnership with North Carolina Central University and Winston-Salem State University, two Historically Black Colleges and Universities. The Center’s primary goal is to promote culturally competent research to reduce health disparities. Faculty in the SON are studying factors that contribute to greater illness burden among African Americans and Latinos and are testing interventions to improve, among others, the health of Latina mothers and their infants and toddlers, African American parents and their school age children, African American adults of all ages, and women prisoners.
The SON is home to faculty who are leaders in nursing research to improve healthcare quality and patient outcomes. Researchers in the SON are exploring the relationship between nursing care and patient and system level outcomes. They also are studying factors that may influence the nursing shortage. Through their research in a variety of healthcare settings, they are working to better understand and improve the nursing work environment and to enhance health information systems. The School has an Institutional National Research Service Award from the National Institute of Nursing Research to support doctoral and post-doctoral fellows in the study of Health Care Quality and Patient Outcomes.
Faculty are engaged in a broad range of biobehavioral research exploring the interactions among biological, behavioral, and social factors. Faculty are studying the relationship between stress and cardiovascular responses and researching patterns of respiration and cerebral oxygenation during sleep and their relationship to cognitive decline. In several studies, researchers are exploring the mechanisms that underlie inflammatory disorders such as CVD, diabetes, preeclampsia, and perinatal injury to the brain. Faculty also are studying families’ experiences of living with a genetic condition and the clinical implications of the epigenetics of breast cancer. The School’s Biobehavioral Laboratory provides consultation, equipment, and space to support faculty’s measurement of physiological, biological, and behavioral variables.
Faculty are developing more effective methods and instruments for conducting research with diverse populations in a broad range of settings. They also are working to facilitate the movement of the findings from research into practice. In many cases, years pass before the findings from research lead to changes in practice. SON faculty are testing interventions designed to speed the transfer of research into practice by translating research findings for use in real world settings. Many of these researchers are working closely with clinical and community partners to ensure that the results of their studies meet the needs of practitioners. Faculty are pioneering the development of methods for synthesizing the findings from both qualitative and quantitative studies so that they may better inform both research and practice.