Nursing Research

Dr. Kelly Ackerson is an associate professor with the WMU Bronson School of Nursing. Her research interests are in the behavior of health promotion and prevention, and health disparities.  Her most current research project focused on interpersonal trauma history, trauma-related psychological distress, and cervical cancer screening behavior. Additional research interests are in the use of complementary alternative medicine and the health needs of women who are incarcerated in Michigan jails. Dr. Ackerson has a collaborative research relationship with Dr. Lisa Stines Doane, a clinical psychologist and assistant professor at Cleveland State University, Psychology Department.

Dr. Shari Falan is an associate professor with the WMU Bronson School of Nursing, associate director of the Center for Health Information Technology Advancement, and co-director of the Health Informatics and Information Management undergraduate major and minor curriculum. Her research interests include health information technology and similarity. Her most recent research focuses on similarity and the use features, characteristics, and relationships to promote commonalities in information sharing and decision making in health care. This work will lead to clearer understandings about how errors occur in health information sharing, utilization, health management and patient outcomes. Falan has presented her research work in Ireland and China as well as in the United States at peer-reviewed conferences. Her research appears in the Journal of Nursing Measurement and Communications of the ICISA: an International Journal and the International Journal of Nursing. Falan is also a contributing member of the Technology Informatics Guiding Educational Reform initiative and member of NANDA-I Informatics Committee. 

Dr. Yvonne Ford is an assistant professor with the WMU Bronson School of Nursing. Her research interests are peri-operative nursing, nursing administration and patient safety, focusing on nurses' hand-offs. In October 2009, she presented her research findings at the International Nursing Administration Research Conference. The presentation described the linguistic structure of 43 end-of-shift hand-offs between nurses in acute care hospitals.

Dr. Mary D. Lagerwey is a Professor in the WMU Bronson School of Nursing. Her research continues to focus on the ethics of care for the vulnerable, using qualitative analysis of various texts. Much of her research focuses on historical cases, including nursing under the Third Reich and the Holocaust, the early birth control movement in the United States, nursing among the Navajo, and current research on the U. S. eugenics movement. She collaborates with researchers across campus in the Medical Humanities and with the University Center for the Humanities.

Dr. Mary Ann Stark is anassociate professor of nursing with the WMU Bronson School of Nursing. Her research interest focuses on non-pharmacologic pain management during labor. In June 2009, she presented the findings of a survey of 401 labor and delivery nurses to determine the barriers they encounter in providing hydrotherapy to laboring women at the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric, and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN) annual conference. Dr Stark completed a pilot study that examined the physiological and psychological effects of therapeutic showering. While on sabbatical in 2009, she is conducting a study with laboring women to determine the physiological and psychological effects of showering during labor. Dr. Stark received the Celeste Phillips Maternity Care Award from AWHONN to conduct this study. She reported on this study at the AWHONN national convention in September 2010 and it was recently published in Clinical Nursing Research.

Dr. Ruth Zielinski is an assistant professor of nursing with the WMU Bronson School of Nursing and also maintains clinical practice as a nurse-midwife at Borgess Women’s Health. Her dissertation, “Private Places—Private Shame: Women’s Genital Body Image and Sexual Health,” won a University of Michigan Pro-Quest Distinguished Dissertation Award in 2009.

This program of research related to women’s body image and sexual health is ongoing across various populations of women. Other current research includes NIH funded collaboration with the Pelvic Floor Research Group at the University of Michigan on “Birth Related Injuries and the Pelvic Floor”. Additionally, Dr Zielinski has developed a collaborative program of research related to maternal and infant birth outcomes including breastfeeding, group prenatal care and Healthy Babies Healthy Start. Collaborators have included Loyola University, Borgess Women’s Health Nurse-Midwives and KCMS. Findings from these areas of  research have been presented at numerous national and international meetings as well as several articles either published or in-press. International women’s health is also an area of research interest for Dr Zielinski and has included research related to pregnancy folkloric beliefs as well as experiences of missionary nurses in the United Arab Emirates (funded by a Support for Faculty Scholars Award). In February of 2013 she traveled to South Sudan to begin a program of research related to training Traditional Birth Attendants funded by the Haenicke Institute for Global Education.