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JHUSON Faculty Awarded Research Fellowship to Help Heal the Aging Heart


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Posted: 5/6/2008

Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing Assistant Professor Cheryl R. Dennison, PhD, RN, ANP, has been selected as a recipient of a 2008-2010 John A. Hartford Foundation Claire M. Fagin Fellowship in geriatric nursing research. Over the next two years, working under the mentorship of leading cardiovascular researcher and School of Nursing Professor Jerilyn Allen, ScD, RN, FAAN, Dennison will engage in both research and professional development activities that will meld her ongoing research expertise in heart disease with her growing interest in geriatric nursing.

Heart disease is number one cause of death in the United States, and African-Americans and older adults are disproportionately affected. says Dennison.  This project will respond to the great need to develop effective interventions that are sensitive to the needs of the high risk population of older African Americans with heart failure.

While her professional development activities are designed to provide a solid grounding in geriatric nursing, Dennisons research, under Allens mentorship, will help close gaps in research on the care of patients with heart failure by focusing on an underserved population of African American older adults. A randomized controlled pilot study will test the effectiveness of an interdisciplinary team approach to improve self management and outcomes following hospital discharge to community-based care. The intervention, provided to older African American patients and their families by a nurse-community health navigator team, will include medication and symptom self-management support as well as unique telemonitoring and a personal heart failure care record. It will be evaluated for both short- and long-term effectiveness at 30, 60, 90 and 180 days following hospital discharge.  Findings will help guide the scope, focus and direction of a larger research project that melds technology with multidisciplinary team care to improve outcomes for older adults with heart failure.

Dennison views this fellowship opportunity as an important step toward her goal as an independent investigator and leader in geriatric and cardiovascular nursing. The fellowship, awarded by the American Academy of Nursings Building Academic Geriatric Nursing Capacity Program, carries with it an award of $60,000 per year for two years. By producing leaders in geriatric nursing research, education and clinical care, the program believes it can help improve the lives and health of older adults nationwide.