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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, CDCES, CCM, PHNA-BC, FAAN

Faculty Profile | Grants and Publications | NCBI Bibliography

Dr. Aponte’s area of research is to advance knowledge that can improve the health and self-management of Hispanics (i.e., English- and Spanish-speaking) with Type 2 diabetes and reduce health disparities and health inequities. She is currently testing an ehealth-based strategy to facilitate management of Type 2 diabetes among both English- and Spanish-speaking adults. She has conducted comprehensive literature reviews of diabetes internet-based Spanish language information, validated a scale for electronic health literacy among older Hispanics and has used SMS text messaging as a strategy to facilitate management of Type 2 diabetes.


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

Faculty Profile | Grants and Publications | NCBI Bibliography

Dr. Baumann’s research interest at this time is on helping older adults with opioid use disorders stay safe and healthy, which includes telehealth and medication assisted treatment. Currently he is conducting a retrospective study with Dr. William Ellery Samuels and the research staff at Hudson River Healthcare, of persons age 55 and older with opioid use disorders and other chronic conditions, both medical and mental health. In his role as contributing editor for Nursing Science Quarterly, he does research and edits international papers on what affects nursing and health around the world. The most recent is a paper using grounded theory to study the experience of patients and their families and providers recovering from a Traumatic Brain Injury in Iran.


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

Faculty Profile | Grants and Publications | NCBI Bibliography

Dr. Ben-Zacharia is known for her work in improving the care of patients with multiple sclerosis and other neuroinflammatory and neurodegenerative diseases such as, neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorders and their care partners throughout the spectrum of their diseases. Dr. Ben-Zacharia research interests involve technology use in neurology, palliative care in neurology, the effect of music on cognitive function in patients with neurological diseases and the impact of environmental factors such as body mass index on the progression of multiple sclerosis and on cognitive function and brain volume in patients with multiple sclerosis. Currently, Dr. Ben-Zacharia is part of a neurology team from the northeast region of the USA (Yale University Neurology Center, Greenwich Hospital Neurology Center CT, Maimonides Hospital Multiple Sclerosis Center in Brooklyn, and Independence care System in NY) that is addressing the need for palliative care education among patients with neurological chronic illnesses.

Funded by the PSC-CUNY Foundation, Dr. Ben-Zacharia is collaborating with nurse researchers at Yale University and Mount Sinai to test an educational and technological model to improve the learning experience of undergraduate students of the complexity of the brain and related neurological diseases, focusing on multiple sclerosis.


Elizabeth Capezuti, PhD, RN, FAAN

Faculty Profile | Grants and Publications | NCBI Bibliography

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, Geriatric Medicine, 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 medication adherence in older persons receiving home care services as well as other projects to improve sleep regulation. This work is funded by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, the Clinical Translational Science Center (CTSC) of Weill Cornell Medical College (1 UL1 TR002384-01) and a Supplement grant to the Translational Research Institute on Pain in Later Life (Grant #5P39AG022845-17- NIA). Past research includes outcomes associated with the NICHE program and restraint minimalization in health care settings.


Maya N. Clark-Cutaia, PhD, RN, ACNP-BC

Faculty Profile | Grants and Publications | NCBI Bibliography

Dr. Clark-Cutaia is interested in the impact of racism, discrimination, and social determinants of health on the risks of high symptom burden and adverse clinical outcomes. She is particularly interested in minoritized individuals living with end stage kidney disease, who have been largely overlooked and are understudied. She has developed an interdisciplinary program of research focused on disparate outcomes in chronic kidney disease utilizing qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methodologies. Her research is in the community, of the community, and conducted by the community of invididuals it is meant to serve.


Jennifer DiPiazza, PhD, RN, PMHNP-BC

Faculty Profile | Grants and Publications

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

Faculty Profile | Grants and Publications

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).


Tara Heagele, PhD, RN

Faculty Profile | Grants and Publications | List of Published Work (ORCID)

Inspired by her clinical experience in emergency and critical care transport nursing, Dr. Heagele became interested in the role that nurses have in mobilizing the community to prepare for and recover from extreme weather events and disasters. She holds several certifications in disaster preparedness, response, and recovery. In a study exploring household emergency preparedness (HEP) of elderly and medically frail community members, she found that low levels of HEP were due in large part to lack of education on how best to prepare. She is now developing and pilot testing nurse-led HEP interventions in diverse in-patient and community settings. Dr. Heagele, as part of a team of disaster nurse researchers, developed a global, interdisciplinary, evidence-based, valid, reliable, all-hazards HEP instrument. She is pilot testing the instrument in various populations to gather additional validity data, while evaluating the effectiveness of various levels of HEP interventions. Additionally, her climate change research is measuring the effects of extreme heat and air pollution on the cardiovascular and pulmonary health of susceptible individuals in New York City.


William Ellery Samuels, PhD

Faculty Profile | Grants and Publications

Dr. Samuel’s research centers on using careful measurement in field-based research both to understand how people can overcome adversity to succeed and how to promote prosocial development. He investigates resilience primarily through the lens of executive functioning among disadvantaged adolescents; he investigates prosocial development through animal- and nature-based educational and service learning programs for children in diverse cultures.


Jin Young Seo PhD, RN, WHNP-BC

Faculty Profile | Grants and Publications | NCBI Bibliography

Dr. Seo targets her program of research on Asian immigrant women’s health service utilization, health disparities (social determinants), and health seeking behavior regarding cancer screening behavior. As a PI of a grant from the New York State Department of Health (DOH01-C33912GG-3450000), she has been developing, implementing, and evaluating a culturally tailored educational program to reduce breast cancer health disparity among high-risk Korean immigrant women in NYC. Dr. Seo has valuable experience leading community-engaged studies and recently, led, as PI, three pilot studies among this hard-to-reach and vulnerable population of Asian women working as nail salon to investigate their health symptoms, health concerns, and health seeking and health service utilization. Most recently, she conducted a pilot study in collaboration with Temple University College of Public Health to assess indoor air quality in nail salons in NY and NJ and plans to develop and implement multilevel intervention to minimize chemical exposure to nail salon workers in the Greater NYC area.


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

Faculty Profile | Grants and Publications

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

Faculty Profile | Grants and Publications | NCBI Bibliography

Dr. Sun’s research focuses reducing health disparities, both globally and locally using technology and informatics to improve evidence-based practice in nursing. Projects have included technology to reduce nurse burnout; artificial intelligence (AI) to increase nursing adherence to hospital protocols; use of an AI-based search engine to review evidence-based practice for low-income countries; the use of AI to detect sepsis in developing countries; and machine learning to reduce bias in health-care AI. Dr. Sun has worked with nurses both locally and globally to identify clinical nursing and midwifery research priorities to address gaps in the evidence, and translate existing evidence into practice. Dr. Sun maintains collaborations with partners in African countries, the Eastern Mediterranean region, Canada, and Brazil.



Faculty Profile | Grants and Publications

Dr. Amil Tan's program of research focuses on addressing long-term care reform efforts on outcomes sensitive to nurses and the older adult population. Projects have included exploring nurse practice environment, moral distress, and nurse retention in long-term care; investigating the impact of a nurse-led interdisciplinary heart failure team program on rehospitalization and nurse-patient interaction among older adults with heart failure in a nursing home, and have been involved in understanding resident-to-resident aggression in assisted living facilities. He is also interested in psychometric evaluation and has done research on validating long-term care moral distress questionnaires and collaborated in the development and testing of the Lucidity in Dementia and Neurological Impairment Measure (LD-NIM) questionnaire. Currently, Dr. Tan is involved in research projects in reducing falls and injuries among hospitalized older adults with cancer and in addressing health disparities among older urban persons with chronic diseases.