Faculty Research

Faculty Research Specialities

Dr. Sally Blowers

, PhD, RN

Associate Professor
PhD in Adult Education with cognate in Nursing, University of Tennessee

Dr. Blowers' research focuses on the nature and outcomes of peer tutoring on undergraduate students' academic success as well as students' understanding of NCLEX-style testing.  She works with at-risk students and studies students' emic perspective of nursing and nursing knowledge through her classroom research.  She presents nationally and internationally, and has published her findings in journals such as Nurse Educator and Nursing Education.  Dr. Blowers teaches education courses in the RODP master's program and concepts courses and theory in the PhD program.


Dr. Janne Dunham-Taylor

, PhD, RN

Professor & Coordinator Admin/Health Care Management
PhD, University of Michigan

Dr. Dunham-Taylor engages in research and scholarship in nursing leadership and administration, and educational success strategies.  Her textbook, Financial Management for Nurse Managers: Merging the Heart with the Dollar, 2nd edition, co-authored with Joe Pinzcuk, a former CFO, is published by Jones and Bartlett.  They are working on a third edition to become available during Spring 2013.  Dr. Dunham-Taylor is the author of a second textbook, Health Care Financial Management for Nurse Managers: Applications in Hospitals, Long-Term Care, Ambulatory Care, and Home Care (2006), Jones and Bartlett.  She has published her work in journals such as Journal of Professional Nursing, Journal of Nursing Administration, Nursing Economic$ and others.  Dr. Dunham-Taylor coordinates and teaches nursing administration and leadership courses at the graduate level, and education courses in the PhD program.


Dr. Joellen Edwards


Associate Dean for Research & Professor
PhD in Interpersonal Communication, Ohio University

Dr. Edwards' program of research centers on the health status and clinical outcomes of rural populations.  She focuses on improving the health of rural women through adherence to recommended health screenings and healthy lifestyle.  Health policy implications and health care system issues are integral parts of her work.  Her research has been funded by NIH (NCMHD); DHHS, HRSA, Office of Rural Health Policy; DHHS, HRSA, Office of Women's Health (subcontract); DHHS, HRSA Division of Nursing; and others.  She publishes widely in journals such as Journal of Professional Nursing, Women's Health Issues, Journal of Rural Health, and many others; and presents nationally and internationally.  Dr. Edwards is a member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Rural Health, and a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing.  Dr. Edwards teaches quantitative research methods and health policy in the PhD program and health policy in the MSN program.


Dr. Masoud Ghaffari

, PhD, RN, MT

Associate Professor
PhD in Urban Education, Cleveland State University

Dr. Ghaffari maintains an active qualitative research program aimed at understanding and promoting students' academic and life success.  He has developed, tested and published a conceptual model, the Trinity Paradigm of Intelligence, which provides a guiding framework for his work.  His current studies focus on assessing the effectiveness of exercise on student health and exploration of the role of socialization in promoting academic wellness.  His research has been funded by the ETSU Research Development Committee and Instructional Development Committee as well as the Center for Nursing Research.  Dr. Ghaffari presents nationally and internationally, and has published his findings in journals such as Journal of Nursing, Allied Health, and Health Education; International Journal of Technology, Knowledge & Society; and The International Journal of Learning and others.  He teaches undergraduate and graduate pathophysiology courses, consciousness and healing, and qualitative research in the PhD program.


Dr. Patricia Hayes

, PhD, RN

Associate Professor
PhD in Nursing, Georgia State University

Dr. Hayes studies the quality of life and health care practices among rural Appalachian older adults.  She is currently the PI on a HRSA grant that provides primary health care to public housing residents and in-home care to older adults experienceing complex chronic diseases.  She has recently completed a project as principal investigator on a nursing sub-award from the Department of Housing and Urban Development Senior Options Program to the Johnson City Housing Authority.  With this funding, she is exploring quality of life for older adults in public housing, and testing a conceptual model for case management using a nurse practitioner intervention.  Funding for previous studies has been obtained from the American Nurses Foundation and ETSU Research Development Committee.  She has published her finding in journals such as International Journal of Qualitative Research, Journal of Holistic Nursing, Seminar for Nurse Managers and others.  She presents her work nationally.  Dr. Hayes teaches research in the DNP program.  In the PhD program she teaches philosophy of science, phenomenology and concept development and analysis.


Dr. Sharon Loury

, PhD, MSN, RN

Assistant Professor
PhD in Nursing, University of Virginia

Dr. Loury engages in community-based research in partnership with members of the Hispanic community.  Dr. Loury has completed a pilot project on promoting migrant families' connections with loved ones in Mexico.  Funded by an Ignition grant from Wake Forest, she is currently conducting a study on the Health Needs of Hispanics in East Tennessee.  In addition, she is working on two smaller studies related to Hispanic quality of life and post partum depression risk factors with Hispanic females, in rural east Tennessee.  She previously received a grant from East Carolina University to study patterns of alcohol use among young Hispanic men, and published her results in Family and Community Nursing and the Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health.  She has recently expanded her research to include The Promotora Model stress, social support and social isolation among Hispanic immigrants in rural settings.  She has also published in Nurse Educator and Journal of Public Health and Management Practice and has presented nationally and regionally.  Dr. Loury teaches theory, concepts and bioethics in the PhD program, interprofessional rural health, and population based health in the undergraduate program.  Along with her research program of Hispanic Health, she is also collaborating with Dr. Florence Weierbach on a sudy funded by and ETSU Millennium grant that focuses on oral histories of nurses educated prior to 1960.


Dr. JoAnn Marrs

, EdD, RN, FNP, BC

Professor & Clinical Coordinator RODP
EdD in Health Education, University of Tennessee

Dr. Marrs engages in scholarship around ethical issues, and has published on linking nursing theory to practice.  She has also published articles on background checks and moral turpitude.  Her publications have appeared in JONA's Healthcare Law, Ethics, and Regulation; Nursing Science Quarterly; and book chapters.  She teaches pediatric courses, scholarly synthesis, and advanced role preparation in the Tennessee Board of Regents On-Line MSN Degree Program and has taught concepts and dissertation seminar in the PhD program.  Dr. Marrs practices as a family nurse practitioner seeing children at the Johnson City Downtown Clinic, and is turning her research toward the area of childhood obesity.


 Dr. JoAnn Marrs

, PhD, CNS, RN, BC 

Associate Professor
PhD in Nursing, University of Michigan

Dr. McCook was funded as co-principal investigator on an ETSU Research Development Committee grant to study perceptions of infertility stigma. She has previously studied the relationship of polycystic ovarian syndrome on various aspects of women’s lives and functioning and published her findings in the Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic and Neonatal Nursing. She has presented nationally and internationally. Dr. McCook teaches obstetrics and community health in the undergraduate nursing program.



Dr. Wendy Nehring


PhD in Nursing Science, University of Illinois-Chicago

Dr. Nehring is internationally known as an expert in the field of intellectual disabilities, and studies many aspects of the health and well-being of this unique population.  A second research trajectory is in the area of effective use of simulation in nursing education.  Her work has been funded by sources such as NIH (NINR), DHHS (HRSA), Sigma Theta Tau, Down Syndrome Research Fund and many more sources.  She has published her findings on both topics widely in peer-reviewed journals such as Journal of Professional Nursing, Issues in Comprehensive Pediatric Nursing, Journal of Pediatric Nursing, Nurse Educator and many more.  Dr. Nehring has also authored more than 30 book chapters and authored and edited eight books and monographs.  Her most recent books are High-Fidelity Patient Simulation in Nursing Education (Jones and Bartlett Publishing) and Nursing Care for Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (Paul H. Brookes Publishing).  Dr. Nehring is recognized as a national leader in nursing education, with special emphasis on integrating the use of simulation into nursing curriculum and on nursing education at the doctoral level.  She is a Fellow in both the prestigious American Academy of Nursing and the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.


Dr. Kathleen Rayman

, PhD, RN

Associate Professor & Director of Graduate Programs 
PhD in Nursing, University of Virginia

Dr. Rayman engages in qualitative and mixed methods research on self-management of diabetes in women. Building on previous work with women with diabetes, Dr. Rayman’s most recent studies have centered on self-management experiences of Hispanic and African American women in Appalachia. She was principal investigator on a research sub-award from the Appalachian Center for Translational Research in Disparities (NIH), and has previously received funding from the ETSU Research Development Committee, Sigma Theta Tau International, the American Association of Diabetes Educators, and as co-principal investigator on a grant from the DHHS Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to prevent and manage diabetes in the regional Hispanic population. Dr. Rayman was honored with the College of Nursing Joyce Basham Faculty Research Fellowship from 2004-2007. She has published her findings in journals such as Diabetes Self-Management, Diabetes Educator, Health Care for Women International and others. She presents nationally and internationally.


Dr. Patti Vanhook


Assist. Prof. & Assoc. Dean Practice & Co-Coordinator NP Program
PhD in Nursing, East Tennessee State University

Dr. Vanhook studies the impact of stroke on the lives of survivors.  Her dissertation study empirically explored and validated the concept of "comeback" from the theory of chronic illness trajectory in female Appalachian stroke survivors.  She was funded as principal investigator on an ETSU Research Development Committee grant in which she replicated the study with a male stroke survivor population.  Her second area of research interest is in the nursing effectiveness and evidence-based care and outcomes of care in acute and primary care delivery settings, including prevention of falls in the elderly.  She has published her findings in journals such as Journal of Neuroscience in Nursing, On-Line Journal of Nursing Synthesis, Nursing Management, and others.  She presents nationally and internationally.  Dr. Vanhook teaches research in the undergraduate nursing program.  In the PhD program, she teaches measurement of clinical outcomes.  Dr. Vanhook maintains an active practice at Mountain City Extended Hours Health Center and is responsible for grant writing, grant monitoring, and grant reporting for the College of Nursing Practice Network.  The focus of her work is to enhance the NPs ability to provide services to the under-served including homeless, indigent, and rural citizens.


Dr. Florence Weierbach


Assistant Professor
PhD, University of Virginia

Dr. Weierbach studies a variety of issues that affect rural community dwelling elders with chronic disease conditions and their informal family caregivers.  The focus of her research is on how the community assists elders and their caregivers in maintaining their health status.  Her dissertation was a qualitative study which described the experiences of rural community dwelling elders during the first two weeks after hospitalization.  She completed a postdoctoral year at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, College of Nursing, where she explored rural geographic classification categories, informal elderly caregivers, and risk factors for cardiac disease among individuals residing in rural areas.  She received funding as the 2010 Virginia Kelly CRNA/American Nurses Foundation scholar for her study on Determinants of Health for Rural Caregivers.  She also does nursing history research and is currently collaborating with Dr. Sharon Loury on a study, funded by an ETSU Millennium grant that focuses on oral histories of nurses educated prior to 1960 and how their education influenced their practice.  She has presented regionally and nationally, and is published in Public Health Nursing, Journal of Nursing Administration, and Research in Gerontological Nursing. She is currently teaching in the Doctor of Nursing Practice program.




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