William Hull is a second year BS to PhD student. His research interests include end-of-life and the limitation of suffering for patient and caregiver suffering. In addition to excelling in his first years of PhD coursework, Will has chosen to work with three different interdisciplinary research teams to gain research skills and explore approaches and topics in palliative and end-of-life care. Will co-authored a literature review with Dr. Cloyes (Senior Mentor) on end-of-life and palliative care in LGBT cancer patients (in press, Seminars in Oncology Nursing). On Dr. Towsley’s research team, Will developed research skills related to supporting nursing home residents’ communication about preferences for care. He has also co-authored a presentation for an international meeting with Dr. Towsley; they are currently writing two manuscripts associated with this work. Finally, Mr. Hull joined Dr. Ellington’s R01 team in May 2017 to learn more about communication alignment between hospice family caregivers of cancer patients and their care teams.
Faculty Advisor: Michael Caserta, PhD
Lyndsey Miller, PhD, RN
Research Focus: Improving the care planning process for persons with dementia and their family caregivers through tailored dyadic interventions
Dr. Miller's ongoing research program, beginning with her dissertation study [F31NR015195] of hospitalized persons with dementia and their family caregivers, is to use dyadic methods and theory to examine and improve the way that persons with dementia plan for future care together with their family caregivers. Dr. Miller's postdoctoral fellowship research will include several analyses aimed at uncovering the heterogeneous patterns of decision making and care planning among families with dementia, which will lead to the design of a pilot intervention tailored to distinct subgroups of dementia care dyads. The ultimate goals of this line of research are to: 1) assist persons with dementia in participating in their own care planning to the fullest extent possible; 2) assist family caregivers in their transition to surrogate decision-making; 3) support the dementia care dyad as a unit so that they are able to find a new balance between their relationship and their individual needs as they plan together for future care.
Faculty Advisor: Michael Caserta, PhD
Amy R. Newman, PhD, RN, CPNP-PC, CPHPN
Research Focus: Improving communication of diagnostic and prognostic information to pediatric patients with cancer and their families through interdisciplinary methods
Program of Research: Through her clinical work, Dr. Newman identified the unique challenges and both positive and negative outcomes associated with diagnostic and prognostic-related communication with pediatric patients with cancer and their parents. Her dissertation work explored the experiences of pediatric oncology nurses within this context, which highlighted the need for additional training and education for nurses as well as better collaboration with physician colleagues. Armed with this knowledge and previous work examining physician and parent perspectives, Dr. Newman aims to develop interdisciplinary communication interventions to improve the process of communication among the patient, parent and providers. The goals of this line of research are to: 1) increase nurse-physician collaboration when providing diagnostic and prognostic information; 2) improve the delivery of diagnostic and prognostic information to patients and their family members to enhance decision making, hopefulness and quality of life; and 3) explore the impact of early integration of palliative care principles into diagnostic and prognostic discussions.
Faculty Advisor: Lauri Linder, PhD, APRN, CPON
The purpose of Ruth Tadesse’s dissertation research is exploring differences in the level of engagement in family caregivers of older adults with dementia during post-acute care transitions. Ruth is interested in identifying barriers and facilitators of family engagement during post-acute care transitions. One of her research aims is to uncover if there are differences in family caregivers’ intrinsic factors that help them engage in post-acute care transitions. She is also interested in exploring family caregivers’ perception of family engagement in post-acute care transitions. The long-term goal of this research is 1) to design an intervention to support family caregivers and promote family engagement during post-acute care transitions, 2) improve safe and quality transitions for older adults with dementia from acute to post-acute care settings.
Faculty Advisor: Kristin Cloyes, PhD, RN