Kent State Professor and Nurse Researcher Works to Improve Health Care for Children with Chronic Illnesses

Jo Dowell Presents Research at the 27th Sigma Theta Tau International Nursing Research Congress in Cape Town, South Africa

Jo Dowell, Ph.D., RN, CRNP, PNP, FNP-BC, CFNE, assistant professor and research faculty at Kent State College of Nursing, has focused her nursing research on better understanding the health disparities of low-income, minority children who suffer from a chronic illness. She was recently invited to present her research findings at the 27th Sigma Theta Tau International Nursing Research Congress in Cape Town, South Africa.

Dowell’s research “Conceptualizing cultural weaving to decrease health disparities: What are the culture characteristics of a community organization?” studied caregivers of asthmatic children, their understanding of culture, and how a lack of training in cultural differences may impair the quality of care provided to these children.

“Cultural weaving,” a research phenomenon Dowell believes may one day eliminate health care inequalities in diverse populations, describes an organizations’ ability to meet the health needs of children with chronic illness. As a result of her research, she discovered caregivers in culturally competent organizations traditionally provide care based on one understanding of culture. However, if caregivers were offered culturally diverse training, they could adapt care for a variety of cultural backgrounds.   

Dowell’s study is part of a larger research project in which she would like to understand how health care providers, such as nurses, can intervene in the early stages of a child’s health care to improve their quality of life and help offset the morbidity rate of children with chronic illnesses.  

“Participation in worldwide research events, such as in Cape Town, provides College of Nursing faculty with important opportunities to collaborate with colleagues, share knowledge about global health concerns, and disseminate their research findings on an international scale,” said Mary K. Anthony, Ph.D., RN, CS, professor and associate dean for research at Kent State College of Nursing.

College of Nursing student, Sureeporn Suwannaosod, Ph.D.(c), RN, accompanied Dowell to Cape Town and presented her own research titled “Quality of Life in Adolescents and Very Young Adults with Cancer: The State of the Science.”

“As an emerging scholar, participation at an international conference is an important opportunity for doctoral students to begin networking with other researchers,” said Anthony.

The Congress was hosted by The Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International (STTI), in collaboration with FUNDISA and the Nursing Education Association (NEA).

About Kent State University’s College of Nursing

In existence for nearly 50 years, the College of Nursing at Kent State University is one of the largest and most comprehensive nursing programs in the nation with more than 12,000 alumni worldwide. As part of Kent State’s eight-campus system, the college provides more than 2,000 nursing students courses of study at the baccalaureate, master’s and doctoral levels. To learn more about nursing programs at Kent State, please visit   

Photo Caption:
Dowell (left) and Ph.D. student, Sureeporn Suwannaosod (right) networked with worldwide nurse researchers in Cape Town, South Africa.

POSTED: Thursday, October 6, 2016 04:20 PM
Updated: Thursday, December 8, 2022 07:41 PM
Mariah Gibbons