Forging Innovative Pathways: New Faculty Researchers at the College of Nursing

From Touch Point Online Magazine, Fall 2021 - Vol V, Issue 3

With the start of the Fall semester, three new full-time faculty members are contributing their knowledge and expertise to College of Nursing research endeavors. Dr. Versie Johnson-Mallard, Ph.D., RN, APRN, FAANP, FAAN, joins the College of Nursing as Dean, Professor, and Henderson Endowed Chair, succeeding retired Dean Barbara Broome and Interim Dean Denice Sheehan. Dr. Loretta Aller, Ph.D., RN, comes to the Kent campus after serving at Kent State University at Stark, and Dr. Stacy Miner, Ph.D., RN, CCRP, joins College of Nursing faculty from University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center. Working within their unique areas of research, each new faculty member brings her ideas and experiences to stimulate discussion and enrich the research environment at the College of Nursing.

Versie Johnson-Mallard, Ph.D., RN, APRN, FAANP, FAAN, Dean, Professor, and Henderson Endowed Chair

Professional headshot of Dean Versie Johnson-Mallard
Leading the College of Nursing following her previous position as Associate Dean for the University of Florida College of Nursing, Dr. Johnson-Mallard’s research focuses on women’s and reproductive health, including sexually transmitted disease screening and prevention and culturally appropriate nursing interventions that promote positive and sustainable behavioral change. Most recently, she engaged in interprofessional research to develop an intervention for young adults concerned about transmission of sickle cell disease or trait to their offspring, authoring the publication, “Development of an Online Reproductive Health Intervention for Individuals with Sickle Cell Disease or Trait,” in Women’s Health Report. Her numerous publications also include research articles for the International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology, and Physics; Biological Research for Nursing; Health Equity; The Nurse Practitioner; Journal of Pain and Symptom Management; Journal of Clinical Oncology; Journal of Women’s Health; and Journal of Transcultural Nursing.

One of only 15 candidates chosen from across the country for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Nurse Scholar program in 2009, Dr. Johnson-Mallard is an alumna of that program and also served as a Pre-Doctoral Fellow for the National Institute of Nursing Research within the National Institutes of Health. In recognition of her notable accomplishments in research, education, and clinical practice, Dr. Johnson-Mallard was named Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing in 2014. In her previous position, she served as Project Manager for a University of Florida Health Cancer Center Pilot Project grant through the Florida Consortium of the National Cancer Institute Centers Program and taught a range of graduate nursing courses such as Health Promotion, Leadership and Management in Nursing, and Residency in Advanced Nursing. She currently serves as an advisor to National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) and is a board-certified Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner and Fellow of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners.


Loretta Aller, Ph.D., RN, Assistant Professor

Professional headshot of Loretta Aller
As a doctoral student, Dr. Aller discovered her passion for nursing research and began to develop a contemporary model of undergraduate nursing education centered on decision-making and self-efficacy. By improving students’ confidence and comfort levels as new graduates entering the nursing workforce, she hopes to address underlying problems leading to high turnover rates. Her reimagined theory of undergraduate nursing education centers on informed, evidence-based curricular and program decisions for better nurse preparation and patient safety. “As nurse educators, we have been given the unique opportunity to share the wonder that is nursing,” she explains. “Effectively teaching the art and science of our profession will impact not only our students’ lives, but all of the patients and families that will cross their paths over the next 30-40 years.” Her current research uses multi-platform virtual simulation to measure the experience of two concurrent processes for undergraduate nursing students: the movement from self-doubt and anxiety to self-efficacy and the development of safe patient care based on sound clinical judgment and decision making. Based on her findings, Dr. Aller and her research team are conducting feasibility testing for the Aller’s Development of Decision-Making and Self-Efficacy in Undergraduate Nursing Education model.

Dr. Aller earned her BSN, MSN, and Ph.D. degrees in nursing at Kent State University and served as an Associate Lecturer at Kent State University at Stark for over a decade before accepting her current position as Assistant Professor at the Kent campus. Her work experience also includes clinical positions at Summa Health, Hospice & Palliative Care of Visiting Nurse Service, and Middlebury Manor in Akron, as well as test item writing and review for Kaplan, Inc. and Elsevier Publishing, Inc. She and her research team received funding from the Health Foundation of Greater Massillon and the Austin-Bailey Health & Wellness Foundation, as well as internal funding awards through Kent State University and the University of Mount Union. Dr. Aller’s recent study findings were published in Nurse Educator, and she has authored several book chapters for Elsevier’s Fundamentals of Nursing. She has also embraced unique methods of knowledge dissemination through invitational podcasts and webinars, including participation in a recent podcast series by Nurse Educator.


Stacy Miner, Ph.D., RN, CCRP, Assistant Professor

Professional headshot of Stacy Miner
Grounded in her expertise in the area of autism spectrum disorder, Dr. Miner is interested in studying neural connectivity and neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and sensory processing disorder. She also investigates improving services for transition-age youth with autism, as well as identifying comorbidities that affect symptom variations. In December 2020, Dr. Miner graduated with her PhD in nursing from the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing at Case Western Reserve University with a focus on pediatric neurodevelopment. Her dissertation research evaluated the relationship between sleep disturbances and the severity of and common behaviors for those with autism spectrum disorder. Recently published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, Dr. Miner co-authored the study, “Service Use Among Transition-Age Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder” which examined a healthcare utilization model to predict service use among 174 youths aged 16-30 to determine the areas of greatest need for families and guide further research efforts. Dr. Miner has been recognized by a National Institute for Nursing Research Pre-Doctoral Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award, as well as the Sigma Theta Tau International Nursing Honor Society Alpha Mu Research Award.

In addition to her research activities, Dr. Miner has served in various positions for area institutions, including as a research assistant for Case Western Reserve University and clinical nurse and clinical research coordinator for University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center. In her current position as clinical research nurse for University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center, she provides nursing care, study medicine administration, and data collection for subjects participating in clinical research trials. “My experience and certification are in clinical research,” she explains, adding “I love that my nursing background gives me a different perspective for studying these disorders.” She is a member of the Society of Clinical Research Associates, International Society of Autism Research, Autism Society of Greater Cleveland, and Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society and serves as a Chemotherapy and Biotherapy Provider for the Oncology Nursing Society. In addition to her Ph.D., Dr. Miner earned her BSN from the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing at Case Western Reserve University.

POSTED: Wednesday, September 15, 2021 - 4:23pm
UPDATED: Tuesday, October 26, 2021 - 3:52pm
Denise Karshner