Faculty Research Interests

At the Center for Nursing Research, we are dedicated to improving education, practice, and patient outcomes through science.

We work to provide infrastructure support, leadership, and mentoring for faculty and assistance for students pursuing research and scholarly endeavors.

Kent State’s nursing research faculty have a wide variety of research interests, including:

    • Self-management of acute and chronic disease across the lifespan
    • Wellness in health, caregiver, occupational, and vulnerable populations within and across family systems
    • Health-related care systems and outcomes
    • Global and cultural health and wellness
    • Emerging education, translational and research methodologies
    • End-of-life/palliative care

Below is a listing of our research faculty.

Barbara Broome, Ph.D., RN, FAAN
Dean, Professor

Barbara Broome, Ph.D., RN, FAANDr. Broome’s research addresses health issues of aging adults, including hypertension, depression, and incontinence. She has developed and widely tested the Broome Pelvic Muscle Self-efficacy Scale (PMSES) and the Broome and Dolan High Blood Pressure Self-efficacy Scale. Dr. Broome has also secured funding to educate advanced practice psychiatric mental health nurses and Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) nurses who are culturally competent. These funded grants also focused on providing quality mental health care to military men, women, and their families.

Education: Ph.D., Nursing, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
Email: bbroome1@kent.edu

Mary K. Anthony, Ph.D., RN
Professor, Associate Dean for Research

Mary Anthony, Ph.D., RN, CS - Associate Dean for ResearchDr. Anthony’s research is on two complementary perspectives on health care delivery that share common features of high performing nursing organizations. Her work includes processes of nursing practice models, such as delegation, teams, and interruptions and their effects on outcomes. Dr. Anthony has studied the impact of relational capital, as a strategic resource, to improve nurse and patient outcomes particularly related to discharge readiness. Her current study examines the effects of shift rotations on nurses’ physical activity, health biomarkers, and performance.

Education: Ph.D., Nursing, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH
Email: manthony@kent.edu

Jo A. Dowell, Ph.D., APRN, CNP, PNP, FNP-BC, CFNE
Assistant Professor

Jo A. Dowell, Assistant ProfessorDr. Dowell’s research focuses on two perspectives of children’s health: delivery of healthcare services and health outcomes. She has studied parents’ relationships with their children across all ages and has expertise identifying factors that maximize intervention fidelity. Dr. Dowell has experience with various research methodologies. She has explored cultural characteristics of Head Start staff who care for chronically ill children, and she and her colleagues have developed and tested an illness representation tool for children. Her current studies include community-based research and investigate asthma self-management from the child’s perspective in relation to symptom management, shared decision-making, and communication with healthcare providers.

Education: Ph.D., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, NC; Postdoctoral Fellowship, Duke University, Durham, NC; Postdoctoral Fellowship, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
Email: jdowell1@kent.edu

Lynn Gaddis, DNP, APRN, CNP-BC
Assistant Professor

Photo of Lynn GaddisDr. Gaddis’s research addresses the benefits of fellowship programs for new graduate advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) to enhance the transition, satisfaction, and retention of new graduates and improve patient care. Recognizing the long-standing issue of transitional stresses and high turnover rates for new APRNs, Dr. Gaddis examines the effects of structured fellowship programs as compared with current orientation practices to improve role satisfaction and retention for newly hired graduate APRNs. She is currently studying how 3-to-12 month residency or fellowship programs offered to new APRNs within the first year of employment may bolster job satisfaction and role development and improve engagement and retention.

Education: DNP, Kent State University, Kent, Ohio
Email: lgaddis@kent.edu

Dana M. Hansen, Ph.D., APRN, ACHPN
Assistant Professor

Dana M. Hansen, Ph.D., RN - Assistant ProfessorDr. Hansen’s research examines the dynamics of family interaction during advanced serious illness to enhance the quality of life for patients, caregivers, and their families through improved communication. She studies contemporary approaches to communication, particularly social media illness stories or blogs, which may provide comfort, ease distress, and enrich family communication at the end of life. Dr. Hansen is currently investigating how social media illness stories mitigate caregiver burden and create opportunities for difficult conversations, improving feelings of well-being for patients and family caregivers and bringing a sense of meaning to difficult situations.

Education: Ph.D., Nursing, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH
Email: dhansen1@kent.edu

Timothy W. Meyers, Ph.D., RN
Professor, Honors Coordinator, Accelerated BSN Director

Photo of Timothy MeyersDr. Meyers’ research interest focuses on the study of higher education disparities that occur related to socioeconomic status. Building on research conducted for his dissertation, Dr. Meyers is currently developing moderated, mediated, and conditional process models that help explain the role of socioeconomic status and its direct and indirect influence on students’ performance on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN).

Education: Ph.D., Evaluation and Measurement, Kent State University, Kent, OH
Email: tmeyers2@kent.edu

Tracey M. Motter, DNP, RN
Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs, Assistant Professor

Photo of Tracey MotterDr. Motter’s research addresses the diversity of the nursing student population and transition-to-practice for new graduates. She developed and served as the primary investigator for five national Robert Wood Johnson Foundation New Careers in Nursing grants focused on increasing diversity in nursing. At the state level, Dr. Motter is involved with the Developing Seamless Transitions in Education and Practice and Developing Strong Leaders and Nurses on Boards task forces. Dr. Motter’s success in developing and sustaining academic-clinical partnerships has been foundational to her efforts to enhance nursing education for all students. She serves as the PI for the Linked-in to Practice program, funded through the Ohio Department of Higher Education’s Choose Ohio First initiative, at the College of Nursing (Kent and Stark campuses) in partnership with University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center and Aultman Hospital. 

Education: DNP, Kent State University, Kent, OH
Email: tmotter2@kent.edu

Amy Petrinec, Ph.D., RN
Assistant Professor

Photo of Amy PetrinecDr. Petrinec’s research is focused on understanding post-intensive care syndrome (PICS) in patients and family members who have experienced an intensive care stay. Previous research has examined family member post-traumatic stress symptoms and coping strategies when making decisions for chronically, critically ill patients. Her longitudinal work includes PICS and health-related quality of life for patients and family decision-makers in the ICU and long-term acute care setting. Her goal is to develop interventions aimed at decreasing the negative impact of critical illness on health and quality of life for patients and their families.

Education: Ph.D., Nursing, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH
Email: apetrine@kent.edu

Denice K. Sheehan, Ph.D., RN
Associate Professor

Denice Sheehan, Ph.D., RN - Associate ProfessorDr. Sheehan’s research focuses on the end of life, hospice, and coping skills of adolescents experiencing the life-limiting illness of a parent. In NIH-funded work, her team identified processes adolescents use to manage their lives while a parent is in hospice and after the parent's death. They also found a lack of support from health care professionals for adolescents’ involvement in care provision. Within her research team, Dr. Sheehan has incorporated a layered mentoring program with nursing students across academic programs and clinicians to advance the science and practice of end-of-life care. Dr. Sheehan is currently working with an interdisciplinary team to understand what hospice patients know about their prognosis and how they think about their prognosis.

Education: Ph.D., Nursing, University of Akron, Akron, OH
Email: dsheeha1@kent.edu

Yvonne M. Smith, Ph.D., APRN-CNS
Assistant Professor

Yvonne M. Smith, Assistant Professor

Dr. Smith’s research focuses on curriculum and instruction in nursing education. Her previous mixed methods research explored nursing faculty perceptions of experiences, strategies, and intensity while teaching in the online environment. She is interested in evaluating how building relationships in nursing education and practice influences both learning and practice-related outcomes, and she has participated in self-studies of teaching practices as a qualitative research methodology. Nurse leadership is another emerging research area for Dr. Smith, and she is developing an instrument to study service by nurse leaders on governing boards.

Education: Ph.D., Education, Kent State University, Kent, OH
Email: ysmith@kent.edu

Pamela L. Stephenson, Ph.D., RN
Assistant Professor

Pamela L. StephensonDr. Stephenson’s research is on spirituality and spiritual uncertainty at the end of life. She is currently working to develop, refine, and test the theoretical and empirical basis for a newly identified construct of spiritual uncertainty as it relates to persons facing a serious, life-limiting illness. Dr. Stephenson is developing two instruments for spiritual uncertainty. The State of Spirituality scale (SOS) is a bedside assessment tool for providers working with patients with life-limiting disease and their families, and the Spirituality Uncertainty-Providers (SU-P) is a survey to assess spiritual uncertainty for providers of end-of-life care. Her goal is to provide health professionals with needed language and tools that will ease spiritual conversations with patients nearing the end of life and their families while also building a better understanding of how uncertainties, worries, questions, and doubts about spirituality influence spiritual dialogue and decision making. 

Education: Ph.D., Nursing, Kent State University, Kent, OH
Email: pstephe2@kent.edu

Wendy Ann Umberger, Ph.D., RN, PMHCNS-BC
Associate Dean for Graduate Programs, Professor

Wendy Ann Umberger, Ph.D., RN, PMHCNS-BCDr. Umberger’s research focuses on psychological factors related to chronic pain and using integrative therapies to decrease pain and improve function. Over the past 20 years, she has studied the effect of guided imagery on pain and function in persons with chronic pain and undergoing knee arthroplasty. She is also interested in how parental chronic pain impacts the family system and developed several mid-range theories related to this phenomenon.

Education: Ph.D., Nursing, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH
Email: wlewando@kent.edu

Patricia E. Vermeersch, Ph.D., APRN
Professor, Director of the Ph.D. Program

Patricia E. Vermeersch, Ph.D., CNP - Associate ProfessorDr. Vermeersch’s research focuses on the use of technology in the management of older adults. She is particularly interested in finding creative and effective telemedicine solutions to address the complex health needs of the growing aging population. Recent projects include the use of a telepresence robot for both teaching and clinical practice and exploration of remote sensing devices for monitoring older adults at risk for a variety of geriatric syndromes.

Education: Ph.D., Nursing, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH
Email: pvermeer@kent.edu

Ya-Fen Wang, Ph.D., RN
Assistant Professor

Ya-Fen Wang, Ph.D., MSN, RN - Assistant ProfessorDr. Wang’s research examines eating styles among children and their families and how they relate to overweight and obese children in order to make appropriate inferences to address health disparities. She is particularly interested in understanding how resourcefulness, which includes cognitive-behavioral self-control skills, is related to stress, overeating styles, and activity in underserved populations. Her interest in this area includes parents since they have the greatest influence on a child’s life. Therefore, she is examining the impact of parents’ resourcefulness on framing their children’s coping skills, eating behaviors, and resourcefulness.

Education: Ph.D., Nursing, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH
Email: ywang95@kent.edu

Andrea Warner Stidham, Ph.D., MSN, RN
Assistant Professor

Photo of Andrea Warner StidhamDr. Stidham’s research interests include psychiatric and/or mental health issues, as well as children, adolescents, and adults with posttraumatic growth. Her research examines posttraumatic growth in people who have experienced traumatic life events, including sexual violence, spousal deployment, and HIV. Dr. Stidham’s research experience and expertise includes participating in mixed methods studies and analyzing qualitative data using multiple approaches.

Education: Ph.D., Nursing, Kent State University, Kent, OH
Email: awarner@kent.edu