The UCLA School of Nursing is well on its way to fulfilling one of they key goals Dean Courtney Lyder set when he took the reins a year ago: enhancing the school's research structure. In 2008–09, the school received 26 research grants totaling more than $18 million — a 300 percent increase over the previous year.
Many of the grants, most of which come from the National Institutes of Health, are supporting research in the areas of prevention and care delivery, including major projects on hepatitis and HIV prevention, diet and heart failure, and quality-of-care issues among the elderly in nursing homes.
"From bench to bedside, we are bringing the science of nursing to improving the delivery of care," said Lyder, who is also a prominent and prolific researcher. "Improving care and delivery of services is especially critical in an increasingly strained health care system. Quality patient care begins with evidence-based knowledge of best practices in nursing."
Reducing hepatitis and HIV among homeless parolees
Amount: $3.4 million
Recepient: Adey Nyamathi, A.N.P., Ph.D., F.A.A.N.
Homeless parolees pose a particular challenge for successful reentry into society, as they often have underlying mental health issues, combined with substance use and abuse, and must contend with unstable housing situations, disorganized lives, unemployment and limited access to health care and social services. Consequently, they are at high risk for hepatitis B and C and HIV. The research seeks to protect this population from infection by reducing risky substance abuse and sexual behavior; promoting access to health care and social and employment services; and enabling positive coping and communication skills. Parolee participants in the study will be enrolled in a coaching program that will include nursing case-management, specialized education services, vaccinations for hepatitis and coach-facilitated mentoring by cell phone. The findings will lay the groundwork for health policy decisions that can positively impact hepatitis and HIV risk reduction and behaviors that lead to a high reincarceration rate among parolees.
Improving prevention efforts for homeless at risk for hepatitis and HIV
Amount $3.3 million
Recepient: Adey Nyamathi, A.N.P., Ph.D., F.A.A.N.
In this study, researchers from UCLA and the Friends Community Center will work together to design a program that will help young, homeless, stimulant-using gay and bisexual men to complete the hepatitis vaccine and reduce drug use and risky sexual behavior. As stimulant use threatens to increase homeless individuals' risk of exposure to the hepatitis B and C viruses, the research seeks to to engage this group in treatment until they are suitably protected from hepatitis B and, hopefully, to reduce their risk for hepatitis C and HIV as well.
Can high-protein diets reduce the incidence of heart failure?
Amount: $2.5 million
Recepient: Lorraine Evangelista, R.N., Ph.D.
Looking at advanced cardiac patients, this research focuses on better understanding the specific effects of high-protein diets on heart failure progression. Results from the study will provide evidence for rational recommendations that can be integrated in heart failure management and treatment guidelines.
Determining the relationships between brain structure and heart failure
Amount: two grants totaling $2.1 million
Recepient: Mary Woo, R.N., D.N.Sc.
These grants will enable researchers to examine the relationships among sleep disorders, thiamine (vitamin B1) deficiencies, and brain structure and function in heart failure. The studies will look at both the possible causes and potential treatments for heart failure mortality and symptoms, which dramatically impair quality of life, such as memory loss and depression.
Finding signs of early bedsores on darkly pigmented skin
Amount: $1.25 million
Recepient: Barbara Bates Jensen, R.N., Ph.D., C.W.O.C.N.
Detecting early signs of pressure damage in individuals with dark skin tones is difficult, as early detection is based on visual observation of skin redness. The goal of this study is to improve skin health by developing the use of biophysical measures to better detect pressure ulcers in elderly nursing home residents with darkly pigmented skin. Pressure ulcers, or bedsores, are a quality-of-care issue in all health care settings and are a major focus on the nation's health care agenda, since they are costly and, in many cases, preventable.
"Every day, nurses see the challenges faced by the individuals to whom they provide care," Lyder said. "The research being accomplished by our faculty is providing solutions to real-world problems."
The UCLA School of Nursing is marking its 60th anniversary transforming nursing science through the pursuit of uncompromised excellence in research, education, practice, policy and patient advocacy. The school offers programs for undergraduate (B.S.), postgraduate (M.S.N. and M.E.C.N.) and doctoral (Ph.D.) students.