PhD Faculty Research Interests

Azzarello, Jo

Cognition during problem solving, diabetes self-management education / decision making, development of expertise, mental models, structural knowledge, cognitive tutors, situation awareness.

Benefield, Lazelle

Distance care-giving of older adults living at home, distance care-giving needs of persons with Alzheimer's disease, case management of community-based elders, distance caregiving and technology innovation; Reynolds Center of Geriatric Nursing Excellence, OUHSC

Buckwalter, Kathleen

Expert in geriatric mental health, providing community-based care for chronically mentally ill older persons, and cognitively impaired older adults, and their caregivers in both institutional and community settings. She is also an editor, mentor, and was the 2010 recipient of the Doris Schwartz Gerontological Nursing Research Award given at that year’s Gerontological Society of American annual conference.

Carlson, Barbara

Neurovascular coupling, cardiovascular disease, vascular aging, sleep, and cognitive decline in older adults. Expert in computer-based data acquisition and physiological waveform conditioning, direct/computer based behavioral observation, instrument validation, and neurocognitive testing. Also has extensive experience in the collection and analysis of (1) biological fluids (blood and salivary cortisol, oxidative stress, and various inflammatory markers), (2) markers of arterial stiffness and endothelial function as well as (3) data derived from a number of ambulatory methodologies (i.e., wrist actigraphy, EKG, core temperature, blood vessel reactivity, and blood pressure monitoring). Prior studies have focused on (1) development of minimally intrusive instrumentation for monitoring sleep including web-based monitoring of biological signals, (2) use of cerebral oximetry to study alterations in regional cerebral blood flow, (3) analytic methods for characterizing trends in cerebral oxygenation, respiratory patterns and heart rate variability during sleep, and (4) the use of standard polysomnography, quantitative EEG and various magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) approaches for studying resting brain activity, cerebrovascular reactivity, cortical processing, and white matter integrity in older adults.


Bowers, Beverly

Dr. Bowers’ area of expertise is maternal- child Nursing. Her dissertation was about labor support-she developed the Perceived Professional Labor Support Tool (PPLST) to measure mothers' perceptions of professional labor support provided by nurses. Another area that she has done research in is promotion of duration of breastfeeding. She has worked with Dr. Alice Kuo from Taiwan and recently had a data based publication in the area of maternal attachment in Taiwanese mothers undergoing in vitro fertilization. Dr. Bowers has also received service grants in the areas of Centering Pregnancy and immunizations NIP-IT.

Craft, Melissa

Reflection, storytelling and expressive writing; breast cancer risk reduction and survivorship; experience of cancer in American Indians living in Oklahoma with focus on developing culturally appropriate interventions

Cuaderes, Elena

Effects of weight-bearing physical activity on foot health of diabetics, American Indian health, new and emerging therapies for diabetic seismometer polyneuropathy (DSPN), diabetes, foot ulcers and diabetes, pain of DSPN, nursing process. Relationship between balance measures and confidence in maintaining balance and prevention of falls with common everyday activities: older adult, gait symmetry, lower limb neuropathy, mobility, and balance.

Dwyer, Kathleen

Cancer prevention strategies in minority and underserved populations; cancer survivorship issues, with a particular focus on African American women; cancer supportive care in the clinical setting, community-based participatory research methods; community-based health promotion using faith-based collaborative partners; fall prevention in community dwelling elderly using health ministries as providers; Expertise in qualitative methods, quantitative methods and mixed methods.


Ellerbee, Susan

Dr. Ellerbee has over 35 years’ experience in the maternal-child nursing area. Her areas of expertise are breastfeeding and mother-baby care during the postpartum period. In the acute care setting, she has worked as staff nurse in newborn nursery, neonatal intensive care, labor and delivery, and mother-baby care as well as staff educator for maternal-child units. She was also a certified childbirth educator for three years. She served 2 ½ years with a state department of health as breastfeeding coordinator for the Women’s, Infants, and Children (WIC) Supplemental Nutrition Program. She has taught in both undergraduate and graduate programs in maternal-child nursing. Dr. Ellerbee has been certified as Inpatient Obstetric Nurse with NCC since 1984. From 1996 through 2011, she was an international board-certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) and worked part-time as a lactation consultant at a local acute care hospital. Dr. Ellerbee directed writing of the first edition of the International Lactation Consultant Association’s (ILCA) evidence-based guidelines for breastfeeding during the first two weeks. Service with the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric, and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN) includes manuscript reviewer for JOGNN, the association’s journal, and member of a team to develop and revise the evidencebased clinical practice guideline, ‘Breastfeeding support: Prenatal care through the first year.’ The third edition of the AWHONN guideline will be published in 2014. Research interests include breastfeeding/ breastfeeding support, quality of care for postpartum women and infants, adolescent mothers and qualitative methodologies.


Eschiti, Valerie

Cancer across the continuum in American Indians of the Southern Plains, including rural and urban populations from adolescence to elders. . Includes focus on patient navigation, wellness and cancer education, commercial tobacco cessation, behavioral change, and HPV immunization.

Fisher, Mark

Communication (empathic communication), interactions, and relationships between parents, nurses, physicians, and other health care providers in the context of pediatric chronic illness.

Holtzclaw, Barbara

Thermo-regulatory response of vulnerable patients (older adults, dementia, perioperative patients, chronic diseases). Temperature-related sleep disturbances and thermal comfort; Translational Science applications to research: physiologically based interventions.

Leasure, Renee

Health literacy, symptom management, outcomes, evidence-based practice, ventilator-associated pneumonia of adults cared for at the VA

Marfurt, Stephanie

Dr. Marfurt’s research focus is health prevention and promotion of women across the life span. Her research passion is community based interventions aimed to improve quality and equable health care to underserved populations. As a Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner, she has worked at non-profit agencies serving pregnant and parenting teens, women recovering from substance abuse and uninsured families. Her NP experience has provided her with an understanding of strategies to improve not only physical but also psychological care to these marginalized women. Dr. Marfurt completed a small randomized control trial with a substance abuse population focused on stress reduction strategies. In addition, she conducted a large survey at the Take Charge! Program to identify barriers to breast and cervical cancer screening in uninsured women.


Matzo, Marianne

Survivorship (health promotion and disease prevention) and supportive/palliative care issues for people living with cancer. Sexual health issues across the cancer continuum; pain and symptom management in late stage disease.

McCleary-Jones, Voncella

Health literacy, minority health, administration.

Pascucci, Mary Ann

Gerontology - health promotion needs of the oldest old, health literacy / adherence.

Phipps, Su An Arnn

Dr. Phipps’ master’s degree and clinical background is in pediatrics, including NICU, pediatric CNS and Lifeflight with those populations. Her Ph.D. is in Family Relations and Child Development with a focus on family systems functioning. Dr. Phipps earned a 2 year post-graduate certificate in marriage and family therapy from the Menninger Foundation. In 2008, through a George Kaiser Family Foundation grant, Dr. Phipps developed and now directs Healthy Women, Healthy Futures (HWHF), a women’s pre-pregnancy health program for women living in poverty who have children enrolled in early childhood education programs in Tulsa. The program is based on the Life Course Perspective and has received continued funding for the past five years. HWHF has received national recognition as a Promising Practice in MCH. The program addresses health disparities and the prevention of premature births and infant mortality. Current program research involves data mining to see how the routine pediatric developmental test scores of HWHF’s populations’ preschool children differ from those of a comparison group. Her other research area is the development of a perinatal risk assessment instrument utilized by Tulsa Healthy Start, which also includes social determinants of health. Dr. Phipps has been their program evaluator for 12 years. She has also conducted program evaluation for Paseo de Salud, a Robert Wood Johnson funded program with the goal of diabetes prevention in the Tulsa Hispanic population, as well as pediatric diabetes education programs offered by the Indian Health Care Resource Center. She is a member of the national Preconception Health and Health Care Public Health task Force which is partnered with the CDC. As a result, Dr. Phipps networks with leaders from all disciplines in maternal child and public health and stays current with issues and research needs of this population. 


Rogers, Carol

Health promotion in older adults, nexus of activity and activity intolerance, functional mobility, the efficacy of Sign Chi Do exercise in adaptation to aging, and well to frail older adults experiencing chronic illness.

Rose, Karen

Family caregiving; Alzheimer’s disease; sleep disorders; neuropsychiatric behaviors in dementia.

Smith, Patsy

Gero – psych: recognition of depressive symptoms, resilient behaviors, and coping skills among older African American cancer survivors; examination of interactions with ministers and church support systems.

Weatherby, Francene

Evaluation research - predicting success of first year BSN nursing students, predicting success on NCLEX, follow-up study of the careers of former accelerated BSN graduates, effectiveness of simulators, measures of continued competence for nurses.

Wilson, Janet

Prevention of child, adult, and older adult victims of violence; use of communitybased interdisciplinary teams and technology to gather data, study problems, design innovative, culturally sensitive, and evidence-based solutions.
Sooner Nursing: Integrity, Compassion, Excellence