PhD Faculty Research

Shawn Collins, PhD, DNP, CRNA

Shawn Collins, PhD, DNP, CRNA

Dr. Collins, Professor, is the Associate Dean for Graduate Programs at the LLUSN. He also maintains clinical expertise as a nurse anesthetist. His program of research has sought to understand nurse anesthetists’ emotional intelligence.
Current Research:
  • “Non-cognitive factors as predictors of student success in nurse anesthesia students: A prospective, exploratory, longitudinal cohort study.” This research is exploring non-cognitive factors as predictors of student success. Emotional intelligence, resilience, locus of control, state-trait anxiety, conflict resolution, and critical thinking of nurse anesthesia students are being measured so that change over time between matriculation and graduation can be evaluated.
  • “The Relationship of Grit Scores, NCE Scores, and Attrition Rates of Graduate Nurse Anesthesia Students” (Funder: AANA Foundation). With Courtney Brown, PhD, CRNA of Wake Forest University, Dr. Collins will examine the relationship between grit scores, NCE scores, and attrition rates of graduate nurse anesthesia students. Scores will be collected using the 12-item Grit scale given to graduate nurse anesthesia students in their first semester and prior to taking their National Certification Exam. The 12-item Grit questionnaire has been proven effective as a measure of trait-level perseverance and passion for long-term goals. 
Salem Dehom, DrPH

Salem Dehom, DrPH

Dr. Dehom, Assistant Professor, provides statistical consultations for faculty and doctoral students at the SN. His current research interests include lifestyle and disease prevention, environmental factors impacting health outcomes, nursing research, and evidence-based practice in healthcare. His most recent research examined long-term exposure to fine particulate matter, and its association with cardiovascular disease mortality among renal transplant recipients.

Ellen D’Errico, PhD, RN

Ellen D’Errico, PhD, RN

Dr. D’Errico, Professor, is the director of the LLUSN PhD program. Prior to her academic career, she  spent 25 years in the clinical arena; for 11 years she was a frontline nurse in acute care hospitals and for 14 years she was a community health visiting nurse and supervisor in home health and hospice agencies. Being an advocate for and facilitator of optimal pain and symptom management for patients with life threatening illnesses was very gratifying. Thus, now she is particularly interested in researching cancer survivorship issues, as well as health services. While disease management and achievement of remission have improved in the past 10 years, more robust and successful strategies are needed when it comes to managing cancer survivorship. Thus, her research seeks to improve the management of the myriad of discomforts wrought by lifesaving therapies.
Current Research:
  • “Intraneural Facilitation: Managing Chemotherapy-Induced Peripheral Neuropathy” (Funder: LLU Grants for Research and School Partnerships). This study tests a novel, non-invasive physical therapy treatment in the mitigation of neuropathological side effects of chemotherapy in early diagnosed breast cancer patients.
  • “Student Nurse Assistive Program (SNAP): The Effect of a Pre-licensure Transition to Practice Program” (Funder: LLUSN Seed Money). The purpose of this research is to learn what effect, if any, participation in the Student Nurse Assistive Program (SNAP) as a student has on newly hired graduate nurses in terms of transition to practice, job satisfaction, readiness to practice, retention and intent to leave. 
  • “Measuring Nurse Grip Strength: A Project to Support Student Undergraduate Research Generating Evidence (SURGE)” (Funder: LLUSN Seed grant). This project is a collaboration between Dr. Roberts and Dr. D’Errico and the undergraduate nursing students who they are providing with research experience. Grip strength is an upper body strength measure indicating overall muscle strength; it also predicts musculoskeletal health, disease development and progression, disability and mortality, and healthy aging. In this descriptive study, the team seeks to compare grip strength of both student nurses and working licenses nurses against current norms.
Iris Mamier, PhD, MSN, RN

Iris Mamier, PhD, MSN, RN

ORCID #: 0000-0002-4535-9717; Web of Science ResearcherID: B-9469-2013
Dr. Mamier, Associate Professor, teaches in the Graduate Programs and has been serving on several international accreditation visits of faith-based universities. She is passionate about empowering nurse leaders locally and globally through graduate education. Her scholarship centers on whole person care with specific attention to patients’ spiritual needs and nurses’ support of these. Beside collaborative research within the university, the Medical Center, the Center for Spiritual Life & Wholeness, and the Department for Medical Education, she recently engaged in cross-cultural research with a Veteran hospital and Sahmyook University in South Korea. Other research involvement has focused on student retention in nursing education, program evaluation, and informal care giving.
Current Research:
  • “Diabetes co-management in hospitalized patients.” This interdisciplinary research project under the leadership of Dr. Chris Schubert applies a human factors research lens to studying patients who are managing their blood sugars with an insulin pump and who are hospitalized for reasons other than diabetes. This project is about to go into the empirical phase and involves academics and clinicians from LLU School of Medicine and the SN.
Anne Berit Petersen, PhD, MPH, RN, CNS, CHES

Anne Berit Petersen, PhD, MPH, RN, CNS, CHES

Dr. Petersen is an Assistant Professor with joint appointments at the LLU School of Nursing and School of Public Health, and is Director of Global Nursing at LLUSN. She is a Clinical Nurse Specialist, specializing in Maternal/Child Nursing and Health Education. In addition to her clinical experience, Dr. Petersen has served in a wide range of capacity-building roles working alongside nurses in Tanzania, China, Afghanistan, Nicaragua and Ethiopia.  Her program of research focuses on global tobacco control, promotion of smoke-free homes and tobacco use cessation among underserved, vulnerable populations. She is passionate about empowering health care professionals—in the U.S. and globally— to intervene effectively in the tobacco epidemic. Dr. Petersen is currently Co-investigator on two funded projects and she is a member of the LLUH Cancer Center’s Transdisciplinary Tobacco Research Program (TTRP)
Current Research:
  • “Comparative Effectiveness of Cytisine versus Nicotine Replacement Therapy in the National Smoking Cessation Program of Mongolia: A Pragmatic Non-Inferiority Trial” (Funder: Pfizer Foundation). This grant allows for testing the effectiveness of cytisine (a naturally occurring plant alkaloid found in plants) for smoking cessation, within nine health centers in Mongolia. Dr. Petersen believes low-cost cessation drugs like cytisine represent significant opportunities to help smokers in low-income communities everywhere (PI Singh).
  • “Building GIS Capacity into Tobacco Control Research Programs of East Asia” (Sponsor: Fogarty International Center). This project is being conducted in Cambodia, Lao PDR, and Mongolia to monitor and improve the progress of implementing tobacco control policies at the community level (PI Singh). 
  • San Bernardino Maternal Cessation Program Research. Dr. Petersen is currently working with colleagues at the LLU School of Public Health to investigate the efficacy of the LLUH Comprehensive Tobacco Treatment Program, which until June 2019, was the largest cessation program for mothers in San Bernardino County. Though it has a high dropout rate, a significant number who participate quit smoking. This research has shown that innovative, culturally competent outreach methods need to be developed to reduce dropouts from this otherwise successful smoking cessation model. Expanding programs like this can help improve the health of mothers and children and reduce their cancer risk. This program of research has also shown that supporting programs like this actually costs less overall. For every 35 mothers in the county who quit, one preterm birth is prevented. Helping those moms quit has a total cost of $3,500, while not helping costs $1 million and risks a child’s life.


Lisa Roberts, DrPH, MSN, RN, FNP-BC, CHES, FAANP

Lisa Roberts, DrPH, MSN, RN, FNP-BC, CHES, FAANP

Dr. Roberts, Professor, is the LLUSN Director of Research, as well as a practicing Nurse Practitioner and educator. Her research focuses on nursing interventions and public health programs to address the needs of vulnerable populations in the United States and abroad. Her passion for helping these populations is in part fueled by her childhood experiences while growing up in India. Her clinical focus is prevention and primary care. 
Current Research:
  • “Constructing collaborative partnerships through teaching and research capacity building” (Funder: Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program). This coveted opportunity will allow Dr. Roberts to lead a collaborative, mixed-method descriptive study to explore how globalization and urbanization are affecting poor urban women in India’s rapidly changing society. Aiming to elucidate protective and risk factors affecting women is critical to develop effective nursing and public health programs.
  • “Measuring Nurse Grip Strength: A Project to Support Student Undergraduate Research Generating Evidence (SURGE)” (Funder: LLUSN Seed grant). In the last generation grip strength (a proxy measure of overall strength) has dramatically declined. Some of the most frequent workplace injuries in nurses happen in the upper body (neck, shoulders, and back). This descriptive study compares student nurses’ and working nurses’ grip strength to reference norms, to determine if there could be a correlation between grip strength and potential for future injury.
  • “Support after Stillbirth and Infant Death” (Funder: LLUH Research Affairs). In the Indian context, women’s fertility is closely linked to social status, complicating coping after stillbirth and/or infant death.  This interventional study seeks to promote coping and resilience among low income, vulnerable women living in the slums of Mumbai who experience complex pressures related to their fertility.
  • “Project Changing Health for African American men with New and Great Experiences (C.H.A.N.G.E.)” (Funder: LLU School of Behavioral Health and Center for Health Disparities and Molecular Medicine). This study seeks to understand Black men’s health beliefs, including prostate health beliefs, knowledge, and readiness to screen to reduce their risks for prostate cancer.
Elizabeth Johnston Taylor, PhD, RN, FAAN

Elizabeth Johnston Taylor, PhD, RN, FAAN

Dr. Taylor, Professor, has pursued a program of research exploring the intersection of spirituality, religiosity, health, and nursing for 25 years. The desire to help nurses understand and support patient spiritual health during health-related transitions has motivated her to write well over 100 articles and book chapters. Her books include Spiritual Care: Nursing Theory, Research, and Practice (Prentice Hall, 2002), What Do I Say? Talking with Patients about Spirituality (Templeton Press, 2007), Religion: A Clinical Guide for Nurses (Springer, 2012), and Fast Facts About Religion: Implications for Nursing Care (Springer, 2019).
Current Research:
  • “Assessing Healthcare Chaplains’ Perspectives on Nurse-Chaplain Collaboration: An Online Survey” (Funder: LLUSN Seed Funds). This project involved the surveying of members of the Association of Professional Chaplains to determine their perspectives how nurses collaborate to provide spiritual care. Presently, analysis of chaplain-submitted healthcare organization protocols about collaboration with chaplains await thematic analysis. Future research will explore nurse perspectives on collaboration with chaplains to provide spiritual care.
  • “Development of Spiritual Care Protocol Based on a Meaning-Centered Model for Hospice Palliative Care” (Funder: National Research Foundation of Korea Basic Science Research Program to Principal Investigator Kang Kyung-Ah of Sahmyook University). This multi-site study has used instruments developed by Dr. Taylor. Currently, the team is analysing and disseminating findings about the spiritual needs of Korean and American patients with a life-limited disease.
  • “Nurse Spiritual Care Therapeutics Scale: Cross-Cultural Comparisons.” This work continues as nurse researchers around the globe use this scale developed by Dr. Taylor (with Dr. Mamier). Data from culturally diverse samples (e.g., Iran, Philippines, China, Portugal) are being compared to determine how nurses around the world vary in their spiritual care practices.
  • “Nurse Spiritual Care Therapeutics Scale (NSCTS): Additional Evaluation of Reliability and Validity.” This project is in the planning phase with funding yet to be sought. It will involve surveying nurses to measure the test-retest reliability of the NSCTS and its convergent validity. Further psychometric evaluation is also planned.
Fayette Nguyen Truax, PhD, RN, CPNP

Fayette Nguyen Truax, PhD, RN, CPNP

Because of her personal story of being a “boat refugee” as a toddler, Dr. Truax, Assistant Professor, works ardently to improve the lives of immigrants and children. She maintains clinical expertise as a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner and works in a primary care setting; she has taught and directed the PNP program at the LLUSN.  Her past research has identified barriers to latent TB treatment acceptance and the patients’ decision-making process of accepting or declining the free treatment offered by the public health department. Indeed, since 2012, she has worked very closely with the Orange County Public Health Department Pulmonary Division to conduct research aimed at reducing TB disease. Her current research also focuses on understanding how increased screen time affects young children.
Current Research:
  • “Addressing LTBI Testing and Treatment in Orange County, California: Training Health Care Providers at a Local Health Center (Funder: California Department of Public Health)”.  In 2017, 89% of the tuberculosis (TB) cases in Orange County were among non-U.S.-born individuals; 42% of these immigrants with TB were born in Vietnam. A key strategy to eliminate TB is to increase LTBI testing and treatment of non-U.S.-born populations in the community. Dr. Truax’s research in this area has involved retrospective chart reviews, as well as quantitative and qualitative approaches to understanding reasons for resistance to treatment. She is also evaluating the efficacy of an educational intervention delivered to Vietnamese who visit the OC health department.
  • “The Effects of Screen Time on School-Aged Children’s Physical and Emotional Health: A Family Perspective” (Funder: LLUSN Seed Funds). This qualitative study using Grounded Theory methods is studying the effects of screen time usage on the physical and emotional health of children ages 6-12 years. It is also exploring how screen time potentially disrupts the family unit. Data are being collected during face-to-face interviews with parent-child dyads which are videotaped.

LLUSN PhD Dissertations Completed

2019 – Cherie Perfanco, PhD, RN: The development and validation of a 30-day all-cause readmission risk model after coronary artery bypass grafting: A model to guide and direct plan of care (Funder: HRSA Nurse Faculty Repayment Loan)

2019 – Kathleen Fulmer, PhD, RN: Inflammation, depression and non-adherence correlates among persons on hemodialysis (Funder:  American Nephrology Nurses Association) 

2019 – Hazel M. Ada, PhD, RN: Association of nurses’ sanctification of work with work-related outcomes and patient satisfaction

2019 – Gudrun Klim, PhD, RN: Social empathy and associated factors among nurses: A mixed method study

2018 – Amal Alaskar, PhD, RN: Accreditation perceptions and involvement in Saudi Arabian nursing schools (Funder: Saudi Arabian Ministry of Culture)

2018 – Mai Yaseen, PhD, RN: Does Magnet® status make a difference in nurse and patient empowerment? (Funder: Saudi Arabian Ministry of Culture)

2018 – Alaa Mujallad, PhD, RN: Saudi nurse knowledge, cultural perspective, and intent regarding cervical cancer prevention (Funder: Saudi Arabian Ministry of Culture)

2017- Vilma Gill, PhD, RN: Social support and stressors predicting postpartum depression in Karachi Pakistan

2017 – India M. Medley, PhD, RN: The lived experience of retention and progression of Black/African American nursing students

2017 – Shaunna Siler, PhD, RN: Clinicians' perspectives on adopting a lung cancer palliative care intervention (Funder: T32 Pre -doctoral research training award from National Institute for Nursing Research)

2016 – Erhuvwukorotu S. Kollie, PhD, RN: Experiences of nurses and midwives during the Ebola outbreak in Liberia, West Africa (Funder: Radke Scholar Award)

2016 – Suzy Jael, PhD, RN: Use of outcome-present state test model of clinical reasoning with Filipino nursing students

2016 – Lili Yang, PhD, RN: Factors influencing blood pressure among rural hypertensive adults in China

2015 – Noraida Guntalib, PhD, RN: Effect of a simulation course on medication administration safety of Malaysian nursing students

2015 – Shanti Soloman, PhD, RN: Hospice care in Malaysia: Knowledge, attitude and time of discussion (Funder: Radke Scholar Award)

2015 – Julia Pusztai, PhD, RN: The lived experience of aging: Listening to the oldest-old

2015 – Joyce Volsch, PhD, RN: Effects of nurse caring behaviors on mothers’ anxiety and attachment in pregnancy following perinatal loss

2014 – Jane Pfeiffer, PhD, RN: Creating a healing environment: Strategies Christian nurses use

2014 – Heather Fletcher, PhD, RN: The effects of health literacy on self-care agency in older adults in Jamaica (Funder: Radke Scholar Award)

2014 – YuQin Pan, PhD, RN: Effect of mutuality, filial piety and perceived social support on Chinese’s caregivers’ self-reported health

2013 – Janice Palaganas, PhD, RN: Exploring healthcare education as a platform for interprofessional education

2011 – Deanna Stover, PhD, RN: Foundation for evaluating injured firefighters returning to work

2009 – Iris Mamier, PhD, RN: Nurses’ spiritual care practices: Assessment, type, frequency, and correlates (Funder: LLU Center for Spiritual Life & Wholeness; Radke Scholar Award)

2007 – Ahlam Jadalla, PhD, RN: Acculturation, health, and health behaviors of adult Arab Americans

2006 – Myrna Dial, PhD, RN: Factors affecting the health of aging Filipino Americans