Center for Nursing Research Staff


Dr. Ken Phillips

, PhD

Associate Dean for Research & Professor
202 Nicks Hall
Johnson City, TN 37614
Phone: 423-439-4082
Fax: 423-439-5780

Dr. Phillips’ program of research centers on symptom management in chronic illnesses, with a primary focus on HIV disease and cancer. He studies how body, mind, and spirit affect the immune system (a branch of science known as psychoneuroimmunology). He studies how complementary and alternative therapies help with symptom management. He conducts quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods research. His research has been funded by the National Institute of Nursing Research and other agencies. Dr. Phillips has taught a wide variety of courses in the PhD programs in the Colleges of Nursing at the University of South Carolina, the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, and now at East Tennessee State University.

Support Staff

Yan Cao

, MPH, PhD

Research and Evaluation Services Coordinator
Campus Box 70551 
102 Nicks Hall 
Johnson City, TN 37614 
Phone: (423) 439-4067 
Fax: (423) 439-5780

Dr. Cao is responsible for evaluation services and statistical support for the College of Nursing. Evaluation services include online survey development, in-class survey management, and evaluation data analysis, as well as serving on the College’s Evaluation Committee. She also provides statistical support for faculty research and student capstone projects. She earned a PhD degree in Geodetection and Information Technology from the China University of Mining and Technology in Beijing, China and received a Master of Public Health degree in Biostatistics from East Tennessee State University. She is proficient at SPSS and SAS statistical software, having earned “SAS base programmer” & “SAS advanced programmer” certificates. 

Bill Hartley


Grants and Scholarship Manager
Campus Box 70551
111 Nicks Hall
Johnson City, TN 37614
Phone: (423) 439-4093
Fax: (423) 439-5780

Bill Hartley manages and supports the development, submission, and post-award administration of sponsored projects (grants and contracts) within the College of Nursing. Bill assists faculty in finding grants, packaging and submission of proposals, IRB submission, and post-award support including monitoring budget, completing progress & performance reports, and grant close out. Additionally, Mr. Hartley serves as managing editor of International Journal of Health Science Education and provides assistance to faculty in the development of publications and presentations by editing manuscripts, abstracts, and presentations. Bill holds a Bachelors Degree in History and Political Science from Clemson University, and Master of Arts in History from the University of Alabama, additional graduate coursework in History from the University of Tennessee, and a Master of Business Administration from King University.

Vickie Martha

Information Research Technician II
104 Nicks Hall
Johnson City, TN 37614
Phone: (423) 439-4082
Fax: (423) 439-5780

Vickie Martha is responsible for coordinating and supporting the activities of the CNR. She assists faculty researchers by providing monthly updates on funding and conference opportunities, completes literature searches, edits and completes final technical preparation of manuscripts, and assists with final grant preparation. Vickie also supports faculty and students in the PhD program.



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