Research Programs

Research Programs

The faculty at UTHSC College of Nursing have been exceedingly successful at securing funding for a variety of programs of research. In addition to NIH funding, our researchers have been awarded significant funding from private and public foundations and corporations. Links on researchers' names will navigate to their faculty profiles with the College of Nursing.


 Hathaway,  Donna K.

Dr. Hathaway has been investigating bio-behavioral linkages to quality of life outcomes following organ transplantation since the late-1980s. During this time she has amassed approximately $9 million in external funding as a principle investigator. By serving as a sponsor of multiple Career Development Awards, several Minority Faculty Supplements, and other grant applications she enabled her mentees at the University of Tennessee to acquire an additional $5 million of external funding. During her early NIH sponsored work, Dr. Hathaway and her team focused on identifying predictors of quality of life related outcomes for kidney transplant recipients. These predictors (post-transplant re-hospitalization, social support, and employment) were subsequently addressed by an intervention which, during a NIH funded trial, was able to demonstrate a significant improvement in quality of life outcomes. Additional bio-behavioral outcomes associated with quality of life following organ transplantation that have been, and continue to be topics of investigation for Dr. Hathaway and her team include: new onset diabetes, weight gain, autonomic neuropathy, cardiac function, renal function, side effects of immunosuppressant therapy, gastric function, and medication adherence. In her most recent research will test an intervention designed to improve medication adherence of kidney transplant recipients.

Graff,  J. Carolyn

Dr. Graff is interested in families of children with or at risk for intellectual and developmental disabilities. Her research focuses on the influence of prenatal and early childhood environments on health and developmental trajectories across childhood. She is a co-investigator with the Conditions Affecting Neurocognitive Development and Learning in Early childhood (CANDLE) Study. This prospective, community-based study follows generally healthy mothers living in Shelby County, Tennessee. Biological, nutritional, health, and developmental measures are obtained from mothers beginning in the second trimester of pregnancy and children beginning at birth extending to age five years. Dr. Graff uses quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods research to explore child health and developmental outcomes.   

Likes, WendyM.

Dr. Wendy Likes’ program of research focuses on women’s health, lower genital tract disease, and outcomes of medical interventions. Dr. Likes’ most recently funded study (K23 NR009968), a prospective year long- study, predicts of quality of life and sexual function in women who undergo vulvar surgeries. Dr. Likes serves as a co-investigator (PI, Speck)on a National Institute of Justice-funded grant evaluating post-coital DNA recovery. She also has funding to evaluate the efficacy of vaginal dilatation to maintain vaginal patency in cervical cancer patients and a study evaluating field effect of HPV in women with intraepithelial neoplasia.

Ramsey, Risa D.

Dr. Ramsey’s research interests are in the area of high risk pregnancies with a concentration on preterm labor, preterm birth, preeclampsia, and other hypertensive disorders in pregnancy.

Dr. Ramsey is currently performing an industry sponsored study to investigate the ability of newly developed assays to aid in the diagnosis of preeclampsia. Dr. Ramsey serves as a co-investigator on a state funded study to evaluate biological, behavioral, and psychosocial outcomes in pregnant patients receiving group (Centering Pregnancy®) versus individual prenatal care in an urban population. Dr. Ramsey also serves as a co-investigator on a locally funded observational study of children and their environment to determine the effects of the behavioral, social, economic, cultural, genetic, and environmental conditions on brain development in children from the perinatal period to three years of age. Dr. Ramsey was the Site Co-Principal Investigator of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention Cooperative Agreement Award (7 U01 DP000187) to look at race, ethnicity, immunity, functional genomics, and proteomic markers of preterm delivery in a high risk pregnant population. Study recruitment for this study has just completed and data analysis is currently being performed.

Wicks, Mona N.

Dr. Mona Wicks is the Memphis site PI had funded a multi-site grant entitled "Peer-Led Asthma Self-Management for Adolescents (PLASMA)." This is a 5-year grant with implementation in three cities: Buffalo, NY, Baltimore, MD, and Memphis, TN. This is a very exciting study that is focused on a serious health concern among inner-city adolescents.

Dr. Wicks’ program of research focuses on and health disparities broadly, and African American women who are caregivers to a chronically ill relative specifically.

Her most recently funded study, a randomized control trial (1 R15 NR008875-01A1) tests the efficacy of INSIGHT (a cognitive behavioral group intervention) and its influence on symptoms of depression and anxiety as well as caregiver function.

Dr. Wicks is also co-investigator on a National Institutes of Health, National Center for Minority Health and Health Disparities grant (1 P20 MD005118-01) that resulted in the development of a Health Disparities Exploratory Center of Excellence (PI, White-Means) and a consultant on a National Cancer Institute grant (1R03CA138136-01A1) focused on prostate cancer in African Americans (PI, Ukoli).


For questions about the PhD program, contact Dr. Carolyn Graff, Director of the PhD Program, by email [] or telephone 901-448-6544 or 800-733-2498.

To discuss potential employment opportunities, contact the Dean of the College of Nursing by telephone 901-448-6135 or 800-733-2498

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