Deborah Finnell, DNS, CARN-AP, FAAN
Deborah Finnell has specialized in mental health and addictions for the majority of her career. From her grounding as a registered nurse working in inpatient psychiatry, she expanded her role to that of a clinical nurse specialist and then a nurse practitioner. She brings her passion for the neurobiological bases of mental health and addictions to her clinical practice, teaching, research, and policy/advocacy. With funding from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Dr. Finnell led the integration of substance-use related content including screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment (SBIRT) into the nursing curricula at Johns Hopkins School of Nursing. She advocates for expanded access to mental health and substance use treatment, including calling for advanced practice nurses to prescribe buprenorphine. Over her decade with the Department of Veterans Affairs, Veterans Hospital Administration, she conducted funded research focusing on improving the health of veterans with mental and substance use disorders.
Her professional leadership roles range from past chair of the New York State Peer Assistance Committee to past president of the International Nurses Society on Addictions. She served as chair of the Addictions Nursing Certification Board and also was a member of the Committee on Nursing Standards for the American Nurses Association. She currently serves on the board of the Association for Medical Education and Research in Substance Abuse (AMERSA) and is associate editor of that organization’s professional journal, Substance Abuse.
Areas of Scholarly Expertise and InterestHigh-risk alcohol use; medication taking behavior; patient-centered care; self-management of chronic mental health
This 20-minute video Alcohol and the Brain provides information about (1) how alcohol affects the brain, (2) how the brain recovers in response to abstinence, (3) behavioral and pharmacological treatments, and (4) how participation in mutual support groups promote recovery. This video was supported by a grant from the Veterans Administration [VA Substance Use Disorder Quality Enhancement Research Initiative (QLP 59-016)] to Dr. Finnell. To cite this work: Finnell, D. S. (2012). The neurobiological basis of alcohol use. B-roll Video Productions, Buffalo, NY. We would value your comments and feedback via email to SUResearch@jhu.edu.
Finnell, D.S. (2016, July 15). Op-ed: "New Legislation a Victory for NPs and Public at Large."
Finnell, D.S. (2016, June 21). Op-ed: "Helping Veterans Through Full Practice Authority."
Finnell, D.S. (2016, June 8). Op-ed: "How Many Will Die? The Fight to End Opioid Overdose."
Tierney, M., Finnell, D.S., Naegle, M.A., LaBelle, C., & Gordon, A. (2015). "Advanced practice nurses: Increasing access to opioid treatment by expanding the pool of qualified buprenorphine prescribers." Substance Abuse, 36(4), 389-392.
Savage, C.L. & Finnell, D.S. (2015). "Screening for at-risk alcohol use in older adults: What progress have we made?" Journal of Addictions Nursing, 26(3), 152-156.
Savage, C.L. & Finnell, D.S. (2015). "A comparative review of guides for implementing alcohol screening and brief interventions into trauma and primary care settings." Journal of Addictions Nursing, 26(1), 47-50.
Finnell, D.S., Nowzari, S., Reimann, B., Fischer, L., Pace, E., & Goplerud, E. (2014). "Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) as an integral part of nursing practice." Substance Abuse, 35(2), 114-118.
- “Advancing and Sustaining SBIRT Nursing Curricula and SBIRT Education for Current RNs and Healthcare Providers." Funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (1 H79 TI025964-01)
- “An Alcohol Screening and Brief Intervention Program for Advanced Practice Nurses.” Funded by the Centers for Disease Control/American Association of Colleges of Nursing (01-117WIPFA14-JH).
- "Comparing Two Brief Interventions for Alcohol Use: A Feasibility Study.” Funded by Johns Hopkins Medicine Primary Care Consortium.
Awards and Honors
2012 Fellowship, American Academy of Nursing
2012 March of Dimes Behavioral Health Nurse of the Year, New York
2010 Excellence in Research Award, University at Buffalo, School of Nursing
2009 Excellence in Teaching Award, University at Buffalo, School of Nursing
2008 New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse (OASAS) Certified Addictions Registered Nurse (CARN) of the Year Award
2008 Distinguished Faculty Mentor Award, University at Buffalo, School of Nursing
2007 Distinguished Faculty Mentor Award, University at Buffalo, School of Nursing
2006-2009 Postdoctoral Nurse Fellowship, Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Office of Nursing Services, Western New York VA Healthcare System
2005 Appointment to the Graduate Faculty, University at Buffalo, The State University of New York
2005 Promising Inventor’s Award in recognition of first invention disclosure at the State University of New York, The Research Foundation’s Innovation, Creation & Discovery
2005 Post-doctoral Fellowship, VA Office of Nursing Services
2005 International Nurses Society on Addictions President’s Award for leadership as Chair of the Addictions Nursing Certification Board
2002 Education Award from the International Nurses Society on Addictions
2002 VA Secretary’s Award for Excellence in Nursing (Upstate New York, VISN2)
2001 Special Contribution Award from the Canandaigua VA Medical Center for preparation for the Commission on the Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities review
2000 Special Contribution Award from the Canandaigua VA Medical Center as a member of the Joint Commission Behavioral Health Steering Committee
2000 Special Contribution Award from the Canandaigua VA Medical Center as a member of the Commission on the Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities Work Team
Sigma Theta Tau International (inducted 1992)
Gamma Kappa Chapter (2004-present)
Delta Sigma Chapter (1992-2004)