Center for

Nursing Research


December 2023

  • GSA 2023
  • CNR Research - GWEP
  • Student Spotlight
  • SAFE-T Center Award
  • Student Kudos!
  • NIH Podcasts
  • 2024 Penn State Three Minute Thesis Competition
  • myResearch Portal
  • CNR Resources

Yo-Jen Liao, MSN, FNP-BC, RN poster Nurses' Pain Assessment and Treatment Outcomes in Nursing Home Residents with Dementia and Apathy

Pain is prevalent and undermanaged in persons with dementia. Apathy is characterized as socially withdrawn and flat affect, which further complicates pain management in persons with apathy and dementia. This study examines pain assessment and treatment outcomes in 17 nursing home residents with dementia and apathy through a two-week chart review and found that residents with dementia and apathy express less pain and receive inadequate daily pain assessment and as-needed treatment. Pain-related documentation from the staff was not comprehensive. A more proactive, accurate, and regular pain assessment and training on comprehensive pain-related documentation are needed.

Dr. Ying-Ling Jao presented the poster

Implementing Smart Ambient Bright Light (SABL) in Nursing Home Residents with Dementia: Challenges and Strategies

at the Gerontological Society of America (GSA) Annual Scientific Meeting in November 2023, in Tampa, Florida. The Smart Lighting Study is an ongoing clinical trial funded by the National Institute of Health (NIH)/National Institute of Aging (NIA). In this presentation, Dr. Jao reported the challenges and strategies to design and implement the smart bright light in nursing homes. These findings will inform the smart lighting design and implementation strategies for future research and clinical practice to improve care environments for people with dementia.  

Marie Boltz, Andrea Sillner, Diane Berish, and Nikki Hill

Associations between Changes in Memory and Thinking and Preferences and Satisfaction with Healthcare Communications

Older adults and healthcare clinicians, such as physicians and registered nurses, communicate often using technology via mobile devices and healthcare portals.

Understanding cognitive changes that influence preferences for and the satisfaction of healthcare communications is important.


To understand the influence of cognitive changes on preferences and satisfaction of healthcare communications.

Technology-driven communication between older adults and healthcare providers can be better designed and delivered to meet their preferences and needs.

Renata Komalasari, PhD poster Chronic Vascular Comorbidities with Subjective Cognitive Decline in Adults with Cancer

This study aimed to examine the association between chronic vascular comorbidities and SCD by psychological distress and functional difficulty mediation in adults with cancers. The authors utilized the 2019 wave of the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System dataset on 1293 adult cancer survivors aged 45 to (72.2 % females, 89.2% Whites, and 62.3% completed at least high school). Chain mediation analysis with a binary outcome showed that functional difficulties explain a larger portion of the effects of chronic vascular comorbidities on the odds of SCD than psychological distress or a combination of both variables in adult cancer survivors. These findings highlight the need to help and increase adult cancer survivors’ capability to perform daily activities as it may be protective against self-reporting of cognitive changes

Age-Friendly Care, PA: A Geriatric Workforce Enhancement Program (GWEP)

Health Resources and Services Administration

Judith E. Hupcey, EdD, CRNP, FAAN, Project Director

Donna M. Fick, PhD, RN, GCNS-BC, FGSA, FAAN, Co-Director

Penn State was awarded a five-year $3,932,181 grant from HRSA the summer of 2019. The second-highest award for the Center for Nursing Research to date! A total of 48 GWEPs were awarded across the United States that year with a second one in Pennsylvania at the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine. 

Our program is a collaboration between the Penn State Ross and Carol Nese College of Nursing and the Primary Health Network (PHN), and our goal is to improve the care of older adults in rural Pennsylvania by broadly disseminating the 4Ms of an Age-Friendly Health Systems (What Matters, Medication, Mentation, and Mobility) and best practices for Dementia-Friendly care.

Click on the button below to read more about the GWEP.


Student Spotlight

Sherif Adewale Olanrewaju

 My journey toward choosing nursing as a major was deeply rooted in my innate passion for caring, which I have nurtured since childhood. Additionally, the encouragement from my elder brothers played a pivotal role in solidifying this choice.

Among the various courses I've undertaken, gerontological nursing stands out as my favorite. Additionally, the Policy & Politics in Nursing course has significantly shaped my academic perspective.

I've actively participated in the 'Give Back 2 Africa' initiative, which I find immensely fulfilling and aligned with my personal values.

Looking ahead, I aspire to establish myself as a tenured professor and an independent researcher, contributing significantly to the field of nursing.

In my spare time, I enjoy watching documentaries and engaging in political debates, which stimulate my intellectual curiosity and broaden my understanding of various global issues.

My advice to new students embarking on a nursing career would be to invest time in self-discovery and maintain a focused approach toward their goals. This combination of self-awareness and dedication is crucial for success in this noble profession.

SAFE-T Center Award

Congratulations to Sheridan Miyamoto and the SAFE-T Team. The SAFE-T System is the recipient of the 2023 Pennsylvania Rural Health Program of the Year Award.

Established in 2017, the Sexual Assault Forensic Examination Telehealth (SAFE-T) System has evolved to provide person-centered, evidence-based, trauma-informed forensic care for victims of sexual assault (SA) across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Our equitable access model to healing care delivers 24/7 telehealth support and guidance during SA forensic exams, ensuring patients take their first step toward healing in a familiar, local environment. Working closely with rural community partners, including advocacy, law enforcement, district attorneys, regional and state government officials, the SAFE-T System provides a comprehensive approach to developing improved patient outcomes. Ongoing research and evaluation components are integral to the success of the program.

Student Kudos!

David (DJ) Schnabel

The National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) hosted their annual meeting last week in Arlington, VA. The goal of the meeting is to bring together senior leadership from CTSI hubs across the country. The theme for this year’s meeting was “Leveraging real world data and artificial intelligence to advance translation” and this year, NCATS requested that hubs select a TL1 trainee with a research focus aligned with the theme of the meeting. We invited DJ Schnabel to present his poster on “Computable Phenotyping with “Big Data” as a Foundation for Artificial Intelligence Algorithm Construction: Puberty as a Transdisciplinary Case Example” DJ was an excellent representative of our institution and Penn State CTSI and we are grateful for his participation. You can see the full poster gallery from the meeting HERE 

Karolus (Oluz) Wangi

The World Congress of ISONG hosted their meeting International Society of Nurses in Genetics on November 3-5, 2023, in Providence, RI.

I have been awarded a research grant award from the Interdepartmental Graduate Student Grant (IGSG) 2022, funded by Penn State College of Health and Human Development, for my research project related to reproductive rights in mothers with Transfusion-Dependent-Thalassemia (TDT). I want to thank my supportive mentors of this project, Dr. Barbara Birriel (Nursing) and Dr. Colin C. Smith (Philosophy), also our Center for Nursing Research (CNR) Penn State Ross and Carol Nese College of Nursing who always helped me in this grant and awarding additional travel grant funding. You can see Oluz's poster HERE

NIH All About Grants Podcasts: What Early Career Researchers Should Know

While these podcasts are from the National Cancer Institute and National Institute of Neurological Disorders there are still nuggets of good information for all researchers. Please click on the buttons below to find a list of all the podcasts.

NCI Podcasts
NINDS Podcasts

2024 Penn State Three Minute Thesis Competition

The Graduate School at Penn State, in partnership with the Graduate and Professional Student Association and the Graduate School Alumni Society, will host the University’s first Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition for the entire graduate student community in the spring 2024 semester. The competition provides an opportunity for graduate and professional students to hone their scientific and technical communication skills while competing for recognition, monetary awards and the chance to compete at regional or national Three Minute Thesis competitions. 

  • Round 1: Video format: open to graduate students from any Penn State campus. Students upload a video that is judged by community members that include faculty, staff, graduate students, and postdoctoral scholars.
  • Round 2: In-Person: Top-ranking students are invited back for a final, in-person presentation live streamed from the Penn Stater Hotel and Conference Center on Saturday, March 23. An invited panel of faculty, alumni, and community members will be judges. 
  • Prizes: First place: $1,000, second place: $500, and people's choice: $500


How to Participate:

  • To compete: eligible graduate and professional students must submit a 3-minute video between January 8 and February 9 through the Penn State 3MT website. More information about registration will be available in January.

myResearch Portal

To help manage your external award finances, please look into the myResearch Portal. For those of you with internal funding, you may need to coordinate with the finance office in the college that has that funding account. Feel free to reach out to the CNR with additional questions you may have.


Center for Nursing Research Office provides an organized infrastructure designed to support graduate research faculty and their interdisciplinary teams throughout the various stages of their projects, from preparing proposals and obtaining funding to disseminating results in peer-reviewed journals and at national and international conferences. If you have any questions use the resource list below.

Contact the CNR
Research Faculty
Research Opportunities
Current Awards
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