Research areas aim at improved health

Rachel F. Schiffman, PhD, RN, FAAN
and Sally P. Lundeen, PhD, RN, FAAN

College of Nursing faculty at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee are engaged in research to improve the health of populations locally, nationally and globally. The scientific efforts are focused in the areas of self-management, geriatric health, global health equity and community-engaged health research. In addition, informatics and health technology are a cross-cutting facet. Faculty and students with interests in those areas of science participate in regular group meetings that promote scholarly dialogue, mentoring of junior faculty and students, and collaboration with interdisciplinary colleagues across UW-Milwaukee and in the community.

Self-Management Science Center

Individuals and families use knowledge and beliefs, self-regulation skills and abilities, and social facilitation to achieve health-related outcomes. Individuals and families stay healthier longer when they have tools to manage their own health, say College of Nursing researchers at the forefront of the multi-methodological center for the study of individual and family self-management. Quality of life can go up and health care costs can go down. The center is one of five centers nationally funded by the National Institute of Nursing Research; it partners with community resources to advance cutting-edge science.

Geriatric health care research

College of Nursing faculty provide research, theory, teaching and practices in geriatric health care – a field that’s rapidly expanding its relevance, impact and employment opportunities as Baby Boomers age and life expectancies increase worldwide. The scientists in this area specialize in research with frail and vulnerable older adults – particularly those with dementia and in long-term care – and with community-dwelling older adults, in order to maintain health. The Jewish Home and Health Care Foundation has supported the establishment of a research professorship in aging to enhance research in this area.

Global Health

Through the College of Nursing and the Center for Global Health Equity, research efforts are focused on HIV/AIDS prevention; maternal, reproductive and child health; gender-based violence and women’s empowerment. College scientists examine and address social, economic and political determinants of health on a global level, with a major focus on East Africa, Southern Africa, and Southeast Asia.

Community-Engaged Health Research

Through Community-Engaged Health Research projects, College of Nursing faculty, staff and students actively seek to involve community residents as partners in research. The unique strengths that community collaborators bring to the research process help to identify and refine research questions of interest and community impact. Scientists employ innovative methodologies that combine knowledge with action and stimulate change to expand knowledge, improve health outcomes and reduce health disparities.

Informatics/Health Technology

The dissemination and management of health information is key to improvements in both process and outcomes of care. College of Nursing faculty offer leadership in the areas of health informatics and health-information technology, including operating a U.S.-based research office of the International Council of Nursing for more than a decade. College faculty, students and staff participate in the International Classification for Nursing eHealth Programme, particularly with the International Classification for Nursing Practice component. The program is a unified nursing-language system with international standardized terminology for nursing practice; it facilitates the development and cross-mapping of local terms and existing terminologies.

The College of Nursing has three funded research professorships:

The Joint Research Chair in the Nursing of Children with the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin;
The Walter B. Schroeder Chair in Nursing Research with Aurora Health Care; and
The Jewish Home and Care Center Research Professor in Aging.

Center for Nursing History

In the Center for Nursing History, consultation and historical research are provided, utilizing records, papers and rare books housed at UW-Milwaukee. The College of Nursing also supports the Historical Gallery – museum – and an extensive collection of nursing-related artifacts. The unique resource is one of only a few nursing museums in the nation. The center collects artifacts and historical items from around the state and welcomes visits by students and community members.

In 2015, the college kicked off its 50th Anniversary Celebration, which culminates this month. The college will partner April 14 with community centers, agencies and organizations to “Celebrate Community Impact.” The college will recognize 50 Distinguished Alumni April 15 – alumni who have contributed to the field of nursing in extraordinary ways. Alumni, partners and friends will join together April 16 for the “BIG” Celebration, highlighting contributions and accomplishments from the college’s 50 years.

Visit www.uwm.edu/nursing/50th or contact Wendy Welsh at 414-229-3590 or welsh@uwm.edu for more information or to register for the events.

Full article published in Nursingmatters in April 2016 at: http://host.madison.com/nursingmatters/