Office of Research

Proactively fueling, investing and advancing research collaborations tackling the diverse healthcare needs of society, especially directed at vulnerable populations, is the mission of the Office of the Associate Dean of Research at the FIU Nicole Wertheim College of Nursing & Health Sciences.

The Associate Dean of Research facilitates team science; develops and collaborates with clinical and tenure-earning faculty for academic success; builds strong research collaborations across Florida International University; assists and promotes the securement of research funding; and supervises all novice research-oriented faculty.

The varied research interests of our talented faculty address a wide range of important and innovative areas of study and embody an interdisciplinary approach to research that mirrors and supports the holistic views on healthcare practice with a special emphasis on team science, preventative care and chronic diseases in vulnerable populations.

Link to Video on for FIU Imprint: Forensic Nursing

FIU Imprint: Forensic Nursing - The evolution of the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner.

Link to video on for Cross-Cutting Innovations

Cross-Cutting Innovations: FIU Global Forensic & Justice Center effect on FIU Nursing’s forensic program

Link to PDF for FIU SANE program

FIU SANE program / Florida Trend – Nov. 2020

Link to video on for Cross-Cutting Innovations

Wertheim Innovation Fund Faculty Recipients - Dr. Trudy Gaillard and Dr. Edgar Vieira.


Dr. JoAnne Youngblut has an extensive NIH-funded research program with critically ill children and their families. She and Dr. Dorothy Brooten are studying (in English and Spanish) the physical and mental health and functioning of Black/African-American, Hispanic/Latino, and white parents, grandparents, and siblings through 13 months after a child’s NICU/PICU death. Findings have been published in Pediatrics, American Journal of Hospice and Palliative Medicine, among others.

Additional areas of study by faculty in this department include:

  • Caregiver behavior support
  • Peer-led behavioral interventions to slow sexually transmitted diseases
  • Nurse research measurement
  • Rural health
  • Health disparities
  • Diabetes

Athletic Training

Dr. Alicia Montalvo’s scientific inquiry encompasses the dynamic field of Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) injuries across several sports including soccer, basketball and handball. Dr. Montalvo is also studying inflammatory marker profiles following ACL injury and reconstruction. She has presented this work at prestigious venues such as the American College of Sports Medicine and the National Athletic Trainers Association Annual Symposia.

Additional areas of study by faculty in this department include:

  • Use of epigenetics to determine risk factors for injury
  • Biomechanical interventions to improve performance and reduce injury risk
  • Simulations teaching and learning strategies to improve clinical decision-making skills
  • Learner-centered education to promote critical thinking skills

Communication Sciences & Disorders

Dr. Angela Medina’s research focuses on the manifestation of stuttering in bilingual individuals. Her ground-breaking work has been presented at national conferences of the American Speech Language Hearing Association conferences.

Additional areas of study by faculty in this department include:

  • Aphasia
  • Hearing loss and stuttering in bilingual children / Bilingual therapy interventions
  • Vocabulary comprehension in autism
  • Augmentative and alternative communication with severely impaired children
  • Brain organization of language
  • Role of bilingualism to delay the onset of Alzheimer’s and dementia

Occupational Therapy

Dr. Jacyln Schwartz is currently funded through Florida International University Embrace. Her work focuses on medication adherence across the life span. Dr. Schwartz is developing innovative ways to assist patients in managing medications, including the efficacy of customized 3-D printed pillboxes. She serves at the local and national levels of the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine, the Florida Occupational Therapy Association, and the American Occupational Therapy Association.

Additional areas of study by faculty in this department include:

  • Health self-management
  • Assistive technology
  • Adults with physical and/or cognitive disabilities
  • Driving and mobility safety for older adults
  • Motor recovery in stroke patients through adaptive technology

Physical Therapy

Dr. Edgar Vieira’s research expertise includes risk assessment and prevention of aging-related mobility impairments, frailty and falls. His work employs both mixed methods research and the evaluation of mobility impairments and fall risks in older adults. Dr Viera’s clinical training and specialization (ergonomics) has led to numerous collaborative team science projects.

Additional areas of study by faculty in this department include:

  • Use of high-density EMG to evaluate reorganization of nervous system after neurological injury
  • Manifestation of chronic whiplash-associated disorders and behaviors during driving
  • Evidence-based solutions for aging in place