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Faculty Research Areas

Our nursing faculty conduct research in diverse areas. The following are a sampling of key research areas with related descriptions of faculty research.


Judith Aponte, PhD, RN, CDE, CCM, APHN-BC, FAAN

Dr. Aponte seeks to advance knowledge that can improve the management of diabetes among Spanish-speaking Latinos and English-speaking African Americans. She is currently testing a SMS text messaging strategy to facilitate management of Type 2 diabetes. Concurrently, she has conducted comprehensive literature reviews of diabetes internet-based Spanish language information and validated a scale for electronic health literacy among older Hispanics.


Steven L. Baumann, PhD, RN, PMHNP-BC, GNP-BC

Dr. Baumann is interested in the safety and effectiveness of psychopharmacology agents used by older adults. Currently he is conducting a retrospective study of the safety and effectiveness of Suboxone, as compared with methadone, for low income ethnically diverse older adults who have an opioid use disorder. He is also carrying out a qualitative study of the experience of “deliberating something important,” which seeks to explore how older adults make important decisions.


Aliza Ben-Zacharia, DNP, RN, ANP-BC, FAAN

As a researcher, Dr. Ben-Zacharia recognizes the talent and skillset required to leverage science to inform public policy and improve clinical practice. Dr. Ben-Zacharia's current research interests involve technology use in neurology, palliative care in neurology, and the impact of environmental factors such as BMI on the progression of multiple sclerosis and on cognitive function and brain volume in patients with MS.


Elizabeth Capezuti, PhD, RN, FAAN

Dr. Capezuti is known for her work in improving the care of older adults by interventions and models that positively influence health care provider’s knowledge and work environment. Currently Dr. Capezuti is part of a multidisciplinary (Architecture, Sleep Medicine), multi-institutional (Cornell University and Weill-Cornell Medical School) research team that is developing and testing an educational and technological model to improve’ sleep regulation among persons receiving hospice or palliative care services. This work is funded by the Cornell University Cooperative Extension Smith-Lever Funds (National Institute of Food and Agriculture, US Department of Agriculture) and the Clinical Translational Science Center (CTSC) of Weill Cornell Medical College (1 UL1 TR002384-01).


Elizabeth Gross Cohn, PhD, RN, NP, FAAN

Dr. Cohn has been instrumental in engaging community stakeholders and the reduction of health disparities by increasing underrepresented minorities in research; as health providers, as researchers, and as participants in clinical trials. She is deeply committed to advancing health equity for underserved, low-income urban communities as her work focuses on increasing representation of minorities in genetic and genomic research. The underlying goal of research efforts are to assure that the findings of genomic research contribute maximally to health equity.


Jennifer DiPiazza, PhD, RN, PMHNP-BC

Dr. DiPiazza investigates cigarette smoking cessation, harm reduction for cigarette smokers, electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) and the influence of sensory influences on smoking behavior. With colleagues from University of Catania, Italy, she recently conducted two studies. One, examined the role of an electronic cigarette on smoking displacements in smokers with schizophrenia, with pilot funding from the Clinical Translational Science Center (CTSC) of Weill Cornell Medical College (1 UL1 TR002384-01). The other explored the influences of sensory experiences of e-cigarette use on cessation outcomes, with funding from a PSC-CUNY grant.


Christine Anne Ganzer, PhD, RN

Dr. Ganzer’s passion is the role of risk reduction as a key strategy in promoting and prolonging healthy cognition as we age. As part of a multidisciplinary team from Weill-Cornell Medical College and funded through the Clinical Translational Science Center (UL1 TR000457-06), she has explored the effects of Type 2 diabetes (DM2), cognition and its effect on amyloidosis, the clumping of proteins that block signaling in the brain which occurs in Alzheimer’s disease. The team has also examined how specific lifestyle (diet, physical activity) and vascular risk (overweight, hypertension, insulin resistance, elevated cholesterol and homocysteine) effects cognition (memory, executive function, language).


Lorie S. Goshin, PhD, RN

Dr. Goshin studies how justice involvement is a social determinant of health and is deeply commitment to this health disparity population. She aims to improve the health and protect the human rights of criminal justice involved women and their children by examining outcomes associated with community alternatives to incarceration for women and investigating the role of correctional nursing on health. She recently completed a large, national internet survey of nurses’ experience, knowledge, and attitudes toward caring for incarcerated pregnant women in perinatal hospital units, funded by the March of Dimes and the Association for Women’s Health, Obstetric, and Neonatal Nursing. In collaboration with Marianne Weierich (Hunter College, Psychology), she has investigated salivary biomarkers of parenting stress in mothers under community criminal justice supervision. This study was funded by the Clinical Translational Science Center (CTSC) of Weill Cornell Medical College (1 UL1 TR002384-01). She has also received funding from the New York Women’s Foundation to evaluate a community alternative to jail detention for women in New York City.


Tara Heagele, PhD, RN, PCCN, EMT

Dr. Heagele is interested in the facilitators and barriers to disaster preparedness in order to understand why some persons do or do not prepare for disaster. Household emergency preparedness is a major public health concerns due to the increasing frequency of manmade and natural disasters. She is concerned with the role of nurses in mobilizing the community to prepare for disaster, especially for older adult and medically fragile populations.


Ellen McCabe, PhD, RN, PNP-BC

Dr. McCabe studies how school nurses’ employment and workload characteristics as well as school environmental factors affect access to health care services for children. She aims to improve health care access for children, especially those with chronic illness, in the school setting by studying health care outcomes and advocating for robust health policies in schools. Her work as a Ruth L. Kirschstein NRSA Fellow supported her research interests on Vulnerable Women, Children, and Families. She has received funding from the National Association of School Nurses, the Pennsylvania Association of School Nurses and Practitioners, and the Office of Nursing Research at the University of Pennsylvania to evaluate Pennsylvania school nurses’ self-efficacy and performance of asthma management behaviors.


Gail C McCain PhD, RN, FAAN

Dr. McCain is known for her research about feeding preterm infants. Specifically how to help preterm infants, healthy preterm infants and infants with bronchopulmonary dysplasia, transition from gavage to oral feeding at breast/bottle. She developed and tested evidence-based interventions for transitioning preterm infants (GA 25-32 weeks birth weight 500-1,500gm) from gavage to oral feeding. Measurements included bio-behavioral variables and heart rate variability. With funding from R01s from NINR/NIH, clinical trials resulted in evidence for helping preterm infants transition to oral feeding 50% sooner than control infants who received standard care.


So-Hyun Park, PhD, RN, ANP-BC

Dr. Park program of research focuses on preventing cancer recurrence and other comorbid chronic health conditions in Korean American breast cancer survivors through lifestyle behaviors such as diet and physical activity. She is currently examining the dietary intake and physical activity behaviors in a group of Korean American females diagnosed with breast cancer living in the New York City area, funded by a PSC-CUNY Research Award.


Jin Young Seo PhD, RN, WHNP-BC

Dr. Seo targets her program of research on Asian immigrant women’s health service utilization, health disparities, and health seeking behavior regarding prenatal care and cancer screening. She recently completed a study of Korean and Chinese nail salon workers’ health seeking and health service utilization in NYC. In collaboration with researchers from Rutgers University she is working on two studies exploring health seeking and health service utilization for mental health among community-dwelling older Chinese Americans in NYC.


Leighsa Sharoff, EdD, RN, NPP, AHN-BC

Dr. Sharoff specializes in educational research that seeks to improve the knowledge and critical thinking skills of nursing students and educators, focusing on genomic literacy, simulation, innovative teaching-learning strategies and holistic nursing. With funding from the American Holistic Nursing Association, she has conducted a series of projects exploring genomic knowledge, perceptions and attitudes of both undergraduate and graduate nursing students as well as nurse educators and practicing practitioners.


Carolyn Sun, PhD, RN, ANP-BC

Dr. Sun examines the intersection of technology and healthcare and the use of informatics to improve practice. This includes identification of research priorities that will address gaps in the evidence, testing of national and international practice guidelines and evaluation of effective ways to translate existing evidence into practice both in the US and internationally (southern and eastern African countries, the eastern Mediterranean region and Brazil).


An-Yun Yeh, PhD, RN

Dr. Yeh is concerned with how sleep disturbances affect cognitive function among older adults. This includes an exploration of how cognitive reserve and depressive symptoms mediate the association between sleep and episodic memory.