• Dr. Michele Polfuss presenting her SMSC Pilot Project at National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR) in May 2016

Step Up Intervention for Self-Management of Fatigue in Young Adults Receiving Chemotherapy

Project Director:
Jeanne Erickson, PhD, RN, AOCN, University of Wisconsin Milwaukee

Ann Swartz, PhD, University of Wisconsin Milwaukee

John Charlson, MD, Medical College of Wisconsin
Melinda Stolley, PhD, Medical College of Wisconsin

This study examined a 12-week physical activity intervention (Step-Up) to improve self-management of fatigue in adolescents and young adults receiving chemotherapy. The intervention included components of education, negotiated collaboration to set individual physical activity goals during chemotherapy cycles, and tools for self-monitoring physical activity.

Physical Activity and Dietary Self-Management in Older Adults with Sarcopenia

Project Director:
Murad Taani, PhD, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Scott J. Strath, PhD, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Amy Harley, PhD, MPH, RD, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

This study examined the relationship of pain and self-efficacy for physical activity, goal congruence, social support, and expectations regarding aging to physical activity, nutrition-related self-management behaviors and muscle mass, function, strength and quality of life in older adults residing in continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs). This project drew upon on the CON’s strengths in geriatric health care research. The information gained from this study will fill a gap in geriatric self-management science and lay the foundation for designing interventions aimed to improve health outcomes for this population.

Weight-Related Self-Management in Children with Special Health Care Needs
Project Director:
Michele Polfuss, PhD, RN, CPNP-AC/PC University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Kathleen J. Sawin PhD, CPNP-PC, FAAN University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Emerita / Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin
Scott J. Strath, PhD University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Dale A. Schoeller, PhD University of Wisconsin-Madison

James H. Rimmer, PhD University of Alabama at Birmingham

This study examined measurement of energy expenditure in 36 children who were diagnosed with spina bifida (both ambulatory and a group who use wheelchairs for mobility) or Down syndrome (ages 4-18) or a group of children without a chronic illness. The project drew on College of Nursing strengths in pediatrics and family research. The information gained from this study fills a gap in the science of measurement of energy expenditure for the special needs population.


Forseth, B., Papanek P. E., Schoeller, D., Bandini, L., Sawin K., Fendrich, M., Moosereiner, A., Zvara, K., & Polfuss, M. (in press). Feasibility and acceptability of a self-report activity diary in families of children with and without special needs. Comprehensive Child and Adolescent Nursing. doi:10.1080/24694193.209.1606864

Polfuss, M., Sawin, K. J., Papanek, P. E., Bandini, L., Forseth, B., Moosreiner, A., …Schoeller, D. A. (2018). Total energy expenditure and body composition of children with developmental disabilities. Disability and Health Journal, 11(3), 442–446. PMC6005723 doi:10.1016/j.dhjo.2017.12.009

Polfuss, M., Moosreiner, A., Boushey, C. J., Delp, E. J., & Zhu, F. (2018). Technology-based dietary assessment in youth with and without developmental disabilities. Nutrients, 10(10), 1482. doi:10.3390/nu10101482.

Medication Self-Management in African American Older Women
Project Director:
Julie Ellis, PhD, RN, GCNS-BC University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Jung Kwak, PhD The University of Texas at Austin
Christine Kovach, PhD, RN, FAAN University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Emerita

Barbara Nichols, RN, DS-HC

This study examined the relative contribution of contextual and process factors that are pertinent to older adult African American women and medication self-management behaviors (MSMB). The focus was to better understand correlates of key variables potentially amenable to intervention. Findings inform the development of culturally appropriate medication self-management interventions that are consistent with precision medicine approaches and take individual variability into account to improve health outcomes.


Ellis, J. L., Kovach, C. R., Fendrich, M., Olukotun, O., Baldwin, V. K., Ke, W., & Nichols, B. (2019). Factors related to medication self-management in African American older women. Research in Gerontological Nursing12(2), 71–79.

Promoting Self-Management in Low-income African Americans with Hypertension
Principal Investigator:
Bev Zabler, MSN, RN, PhD University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Jeffrey Whittle, MD, MPH Medical College of Wisconsin/ Zablocki VA Medical Center

This study was focused on key factors in self-management in a population that is hard to reach and with limited health care resources. The project drew on the CON’s strength in community engagement through the longstanding and well-respected Community Nursing Centers and the relationship of those centers to other community organizations that serve those in need. This fills a gap in defining the specific nature, dose, and potential impact of interventions on the self-management behaviors of this population.


Zabler, B., Tsai, P.-Y., Fendrich, M., Cho, Y., Taani, M. H., & Schiffman, R. (2018). Effect of a nurse case management intervention for hypertension self-management in low-income African Americans. Contemporary Clinical Trials, 71, 199–204. doi: 10.1016/j.cct.2018.06.011.