Research Center for Symptom Management


School of Nursing
University of California, San Francisco
San Francisco, CA  94143-0606
Kathryn A. Lee, RN, CBSM, PHD, FAAN, Co-Director, Research Center
Christine Miaskowski, RN, PhD, FAAN, Co-Director, Research Center

The goal of the Research Center for Symptom Management (RCSM) is to advance the knowledge in the field of symptom management and, thereby, improve health care providers' practice and individuals' symptom outcomes.

Symptoms are the most common reason people seek health care. Symptoms are a major problem for individuals and their families since their management and resulting outcomes are often their own responsibility. Many people wonder if they are "doing the right thing" and if their symptom management strategies are appropriate.

If symptom control is not achieved, frequently individuals' valued activities are disrupted and their quality of life adversely affected. At the same time, health care providers have difficulty developing symptom management strategies that can be applied in the acute care, ambulatory care, and home care settings because there are few tested models of symptom management.

(See Note Below)
Symptom Management Model II
Note for Symptom Management Model          

Permission to Use Model (shown above). The most recent presentation of the Symptom Management Model appears as Humphreys, J., et. al., in Smith, M.J. and Liehr, P.R. (eds., 2014). Middle Range Theory for Nursing. Chapter 7. Theory of Symptom Management. New York: Springer Publishing Company.Please feel free to use the model in your own work, however, if you wish to use the model in a published work, all issues concerning permissions should be directed to the following e-mail address:, using the following citation:
Dodd M, Janson S, Facione N, Faucett J, Froelicher ES, Humphreys J, Lee K, Miaskowski C, Puntillo K, Rankin S, Taylor D. (2001). Advancing the Science of Symptom Management. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 33(5), 668-676.

RCSM Overall Aims

The overall aims of the RCSM are to:

  1. Develop the subdiscipline of symptom management across health science disciplines and across health care settings by elucidating and testing a Model of Symptom Management;
  2. Improve individuals' health status, by decreasing symptom morbidity and thereby enhance their quality of life, with particular emphasis on specific cultural and ethnic groups;
  3. Prepare scientists in Nursing and other disciplines by interdisciplinary training in the area of symptom management; and
  4. Create mechanisms for synergy, cooperation, and collaboration among interdisciplinary clinical investigators working in the area of symptom management.

The immediate strategies to achieve these aims are to:

  1. establish the organizational unit of administrative, support, and research development and dissemination cores; to facilitate the ongoing work of the eleven currently funded grants and the three pilot studies already underway; -->
  2. to formally link clinical research efforts in symptom management; and
  3. to provide accessible central resources to RCSM affiliated faculty.

For more information about the RCSM:

RCSM Faculty Contacts

RCSM Faculty Group Member

Area of Expertise

Brad Aouizerat, PhD


Janine Cataldo, RN, PhD

Symptoms - lung cancer

Catherine Chesla, RN, PhD

Symptoms - diabetes

Glenna Dowling, RN, PhD

Symptoms - dementia

Jill Howie-Esquivel, RN, PhD

Symptoms - heart failure

Linda Franck, RN, PhD

Symptoms - pediatric pain

Kathryn A. Lee, RN, CBSM, PhD

Symptoms - sleep & fatigue

Soo-Jeong Lee, RN, PhD

Symptoms - occupational workers

Heather Leutwyler, RN, PhD

Symptoms - schizophrenia

Wendy Max, PhD

Health economics

Christine Miaskowski, RN, PhD

Symptoms - cancer

David Vlahov, RN, PhD

Symptoms - HIV & substance use

Sandra Weiss, RN, DNSc, PhD

Symptoms - pediatric mental health

Postdoctoral Trainees:

  • Eeeseung Byun (PhD 2013 from University of Pennsylvania) – Mentor: Glenna Dowling
  • Esther Meerwijk (PhD 2013 from University of California, San Francisco) – Mentor: Sandra Weiss
  • Donald Mitchell (PhD 2014 from Oregon Health & Science University) – Mentor: Linda Franck
  • Rosamar Torres (PhD 2014 University of Texas, Austin) – Mentor: Kathryn Lee

Symptom Management Faculty Scholars Program

Christine Miaskowski, Program Director,
      National Institute of Nursing Research, P30 NR011934 (2010-2012)

P30 Faculty Scholars:

  • Christina Baggott, RN, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Physiological Nursing
  • Mary Barger, RN, CNM, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Family Health Care Nursing
  • Janine Cataldo, RN, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Physiological Nursing
  • Jill Howie-Esquivel, RN, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Physiological Nursing
  • Soo-Jeong Lee, RN, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Community Health Systems
  • Heather Leutwyler, RN, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Physiological Nursing  


Nursing Research Training Program in Symptom Management
- Predoctoral & Postdoctoral Fellowships

This program is supported by an Institutional National Research Service Award from the National Institute of Nursing Research
NINR Grant No. T32 NR07088 (2011-2016)

Kathryn A. Lee, RN, PhD, Director
Bradley Aouizerat, PhD, Co-Director
Susan Janson, RN, DNSc, Co-Director;
Research Center for Symptom Management
UCSF School of Nursing


This program centers on symptom experience, intervention strategies, and outcomes related to pain, dyspnea, or fatigue and sleep disturbance. Symptom clusters and mental health symptoms are also addressed.

Emphasis is placed on dimensions of the symptom, biological and genetic markers, qualitative and quantitative methods, and designing studies using therapeutic strategies to improve outcomes. Outcomes can include reduced symptoms, improved quality of life, and economic cost savings.

Trainees have the opportunity to pursue research training with faculty in the School of Nursing, faculty throughout the University and clinical service agencies in the San Francisco area.

The University and the diverse populations of the San Francisco area offer unique opportunities for the pursuit of research with minority populations. The School of Nursing is building a culturally diverse faculty and student body to address the health care needs of our society. We are committed to underrepresented populations.

  • Prepare trainees with the knowledge and skills necessary to conduct research and scholarly activities related to symptom experience, management, and health-related outcomes,
  • Mentor trainees to develop and implement programs of research on these symptoms in diverse populations across the illness trajectory in a variety of health care settings,
  • Prepare trainees with grantsmanship skills that include writing, conducting, and administering a funded grant, and
  • Increase the number of ethnically diverse nurse scholars prepared to conduct research on symptom management.
Predoctoral Training Program

The training program includes the approved PhD curriculum and quarterly ProSeminars dealing specifically with critical analysis of research issues related to symptoms. ProSeminars include (Fall) biopsychosocial and cultural influences on perception, evaluation and response to symptoms, (Winter) management strategies for individuals and families, and (Spring) valid and reliable measures of outcomes such as quality of life, health care utilization, and cost (Spring). These ProSeminars may be repeated for credit during the trainee's program of study. More involvement and higher expectations are required as trainees advance in the program.

In addition to the required courses in the School of Nursing, trainees will have an opportunity to take courses at the Berkeley campus of the University of California, and at Stanford University. They also have the opportunity to participate in courses and weekly conferences and specialty grand rounds offered through the Schools of Medicine, Dentistry, and Pharmacy at UCSF.

Predoctoral trainees do research residencies with funded research teams on aspects of symptom management. The residencies focus on learning skills related to data collection and management, assessment, measurement in human and animal models, and grant management. These experiences are facilitated by active involvement in a core faculty member's research. After predoctoral students have passed their qualifying examination, ProSeminars also offer an opportunity to complete a teaching residency.

Postdoctoral Training Program

Postdoctoral training is tailored to individual needs focused on complex issues and advanced methodologies related to symptoms. In addition to Fall, Winter, and Spring ProSeminars, Summer Quarter offers a seminar on grants management and grant writing activities that include abstracts, progress reports, and final reports.

Additional time is spent in weekly scholarly dialogue to develop papers and grant proposals. Clinical and teaching residencies are optional.

Throughout the 2-year postdoctoral program, research residency experiences will be tailored to individual goals. Since many of the faculty have overlapping projects, trainees have opportunities to observe how different research teams function and how investigators from a variety of disciplines collaborate.

RCSM Nursing Research Training Program
There are six predoctoral positions. All applicants to the predoctoral program must meet the general admission requirements for the PhD program of both the UCSF Graduate Division and the School of Nursing.
There are four postdoctoral positions. All applicants to the postdoctoral program must hold an earned doctorate. Either the Master's or Doctorate degree must be in nursing.
Applicants must be a U.S. citizen or permanent U.S. resident. Applications are accepted at any time. Positions are filled on an availability basis. Preference is given to applicants who demonstrate experience with, knowledge of, and sensitivity to the needs of underrepresented populations.
To apply, please submit:
 ·  Letter of Application
 ·  Curriculum vitae / Résumé
 ·  Goal statement
 ·  Two faculty references
 ·  Samples of scholarly work
Send materials to:
Kathryn A. Lee
T32 NR07088
Nursing Research
Training Program Director
Bradley Aouizerat, PhD
Christina Baggott, RN, PhD
Mary Barger, CNM, PhD
Janine Cataldo, RN, PhD
Glenna Dowling, RN, PhD, FAAN
Kathleen Dracup, RN, DNSc, FAAN
Jill Howie-Esquivel, RN, PhD
Linda Franck, RN, PhD, FAAN
Janice Humphreys, RN, PhD
Susan Janson, RN, NP, DNSc, FAAN
Christine Kennedy, RN, PhD, FAAN
Kathryn A. Lee, RN, PhD, FAAN
Soo-Jeong Lee, RN, PhD
Heather Leutwyler, RN, PhD
Christine Miaskowski, RN, PhD, FAAN
David Vlahov, RN, PhD