Research Highlights

Abbey Alkon, RN, PhD, PNP, Professor
Family Health Care Nursing
Director, California SIDS Program
We are finding that mothers' adversities during pregnancy get 'under the skin' of their newborn and affect autonomic nervous system development during the first 5 years of life. In addition, preschool-age children attending child care centers that participate in our educational programs about nutrition and physical activity provided by nurse consultants have a lower body mass index (BMI) than children attending centers with no educational programs.

Catherine Bliss, PhD, Assistant Professor
Social and Behavioral Sciences
Winner of the 2014 American Sociological Association Cox Award for her book, “Race Decoded: The Genomic Fight for Social Justice,” Dr. Bliss explores the world of elite genomic science and how leading scientists grapple with questions of identity and social change to understand a new science of race. Her current research examines how social and genomic sciences are converging in new arenas of post-genomic behavior science. Her research is demonstrating that, as scientists have fought older understandings of race in biology, they have also promoted a grand-scale program of minority inclusion based on their own personal experience of race. Identity politics is a central feature of this process for all scientists, even those of the most privileged racial and social backgrounds.

Carol Dawson Rose, PhD, RN, FAAN, Associate Professor and
Director, Advanced Practice Public Health Nursing
Our work in Mozambique supports the provision of high quality care to People living with HIV. Engaging people who are themselves HIV infected, as part of our efforts to support the HIV care continuum, only strengthens the response of the national Mozambican health system.

Barbara Drew, RN, PhD, FAAN, FAHA, Professor and
David Mortara Distinguished Professor in Physiological Nursing Research
Clinical Professor of Medicine, Cardiology
Watch Dr. Drew’s 7-minute TED talk on alarm fatigue in Intensive Care Units as featured at the UCSF 150 anniversary:

Linda Franck, RN, PhD, FRCPCH, FAAN, Professor and
Chair, Family Health Care Nursing
Our recent research has found that more than 25% of parents experienced significant post-traumatic stress symptoms after their child’s hospital discharge from pediatric (non-intensive care) wards. We have also compared ways to measure pain in critically ill neonates in the postoperative period and have determined the most accurate method[s]. We have discovered that increased parental involvement in infant pain management is not only feasible but enhances parental confidence with their parenting role after discharge.

Jill Howie-Esquivel, PhD, RN, FAHA, Assistant Professor
Physiological Nursing
My research on patients living with heart failure indicates they can improve their self-care management and symptoms of heart failure. They experience frequent hospitalizations and poor quality of life. Self-care management is effective in reducing re-hospitalizations and in improving their quality of life.

Kathryn Lee, PhD, RN, CBSM, FAAN, Associate Dean for Research
Professor and James and Marjorie Livingston Chair in Nursing
Family Health Care Nursing
I am one of a few nurses in the USA certified in Behavioral Sleep Medicine (CBSM). Many adults would like help with sleep and fatigue without hypnotic medication, particularly if they have a chronic health condition. Our team tests behavioral sleep interventions for clinical populations that include adults living with HIV/AIDS, pregnant and postpartum parents, and women during menopausal transition.

Heather Leutwyler, PhD, RN, Assistant Professor
Physiological Nursing
My program of research is focused on determining the factors associated with decreased mobility in older adults with schizophrenia. I am developing and testing interventions that will improve the mobility of this vulnerable population. I have developed a videogame-based physical activity program for older adults with schizophrenia that makes physical activity fun and accessible.

Ruth E. Malone, RN, PhD, FAAN, Professor and
Chair, Social and Behavioral Sciences
It’s fine to keep talking about ‘helping smokers quit and preventing kids from starting,’ but doing those things, while important, does nothing to address the political and structural dynamics that perpetuate the tobacco disease epidemic. My research on the tobacco industry shows that we must start planning for an authentic tobacco “endgame” or the industry will continue running the same plays into the 21st century, at the expense of millions of lives.

Wendy Max, PhD, MPH, Professor in Residence,
Department of Social & Behavioral Sciences, and
Co-Director, Institute for Health & Aging
Wendy Max and her colleagues study the economic implications of smoking and secondhand smoke exposure. Their work has been widely used for policy purposes; including helping determine the amount of damages in the Master Settlement Agreement that resulted when the Attorneys General of 42 states sued the tobacco industry.

Monica McLemore, RN, PhD, Assistant Adjunct Professor
Family Health Care Nursing
Affiliated Scientist, Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health
My research explores clinical problems in three areas: Sexual and Reproductive Health, Gynecology Care, and Pregnancy Care. I am currently examining the impact of recent legislative changes in California on the nursing workforce (AB154, AB980 and AB2348) specific to unintended pregnancy prevention. I also study nursing’s role in abortion care provision, and I am currently evaluating a community-based doula vocational training program for previously incarcerated women in Alameda County.

Elena Portacolone, PhD, MBA, MPH, Assistant Adjunct Professor
Institute for Health and Aging
My research is on experiences of older adults living alone. In my ethnographic investigation of 47 older Americans living alone, I talk about the “precariousness” of living alone and trends toward the spatial age segregation of older solo dwellers. I study older adults living alone with cognitive impairment, explore the unmet needs of older adults living in areas with high crime in the Bay Area of San Francisco, and examine emergency preparedness of older adults who require a home care aide to live at home.

Roberta Rehm, RN, PhD, FAAN, Associate Professor,
Family Health Care Nursing
The parents who participate in my studies are absolutely committed to supporting their teens with health and developmental conditions into adulthood. They are really resourceful, but often the demands of caregiving can leave them little time and energy for planning-they could use more help from the health care system to make the transition from child to adult-centered services to assure the highest quality of life possible.

Laura Wagner, RN, PhD, GNP, FAAN, Assistant Professor
Community Health Systems
The goal of my research is to improve patient safety in nursing homes and assisted living facilities across the USA. My work impacts the care provided to clients who are being considered for physical restraints and siderails. Our findings have informed the National Quality Forum’s list of serious reportable events in skilled nursing facilities.