JoAnne Youngblut Headshot


JoAnne M. Youngblut, PhD, RN, FAAN

First Dr. Herbert and Nicole Wertheim Endowed Chair in Prevention and Family Health (2014-2020)

Dr. JoAnne Youngblut’s eminent career and leadership in nursing research eclipses 40 years. She has been the Principal Investigator on five large NIH research grants totaling nearly $9 million dollars, including four RO1 projects.

Dr. Youngblut is globally celebrated for her extensive program of research funded by the National Institutes of Health focused on how a child’s critical illness or death affects the health of family members and the quality of family relationships. She and Dr. Dorothy Brooten most recently led a groundbreaking study on the physical and mental health and functioning of Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino, and white parents, grandparents, and siblings through 13 months after an infant’s or child’s death in a neonatal or pediatric intensive care unit (NICU/PICU). The research was conducted in English and Spanish.

Dr. Youngblut’s study findings have resulted in more than 100 published articles in internationally respected interdisciplinary and peer-reviewed journals such as the Pediatrics, Journal of Palliative Medicine, Pediatric Critical Care Medicine and Journal of Nursing Scholarship, among many others. A Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing, Dr. Youngblut was inducted into Sigma Theta Tau’s International Nurse Researcher Hall of Fame in July 2019, recognizing the importance of her body of work.

Dr. Youngblut has served as a reviewer of NIH research grant applications since 1993 and has received distinguished research awards from the Southern and Midwest Nursing Research Societies, and from the Florida and Ohio Nurses Associations.


Dr. Ellen Brown


Ellen Leslie Brown, EdD, MS, RN, FAAN

Erica Wertheim Zohar Endowed Chair in Community Mental Health

Dr. Ellen Brown’s long-standing program of research focuses on the emotional health and well-being of community-dwelling older adults; the mental welfare of those who provide their care; and support for the choice of older adults to age in place. She has received funding from the National Institute of Mental Health, Florida’s Agency for Health Care Research and Quality, and most recently, the National Institutes of Health.

In September 2020, The National Institute on Aging awarded $1.6 million to Dr. Brown, her FIU based research team, and researchers from the University of Alabama to design touch-screen technology to improve communication between dementia patients and their caregivers. The 5-year R01 project title is “Integration of Health Information Technology and Promotion of Personhood in Family-Centered Dementia Care.” The new interface will be customizable and grounded in evidence on Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) devices and touchscreen-use by persons with dementia. The AAC will be developed to compensate for the persons’ communication deficits by using photographs, graphics and text to promote engagement of the person with dementia, promote personhood, and offer providers access to real-time, tracked behavioral trends that support early detection, intervention, and monitoring of community dwelling older adults. Dr. Nicole Ruggiano, Associate Professor at the University of Alabama is the Co-PI for this project. Full details about the clinical trial can be found here. (

The project builds on Dr. Brown’s and the team’s earlier work developing “Care Heroes,” a multi-function app designed to support caregivers and improve dementia care coordination including communication between healthcare providers and caregivers. Dr. Brown and her colleagues previously received a Florida State appropriation and federal funding (AHRQ R21 HS026571) to develop and test Care Heroes.

Dr. Brown’ scholarly work has been presented nationally and internationally and she is the author of more than 60 articles appearing in multiple high impact journals. Dr. Brown is an elected member of the American Academy of Nursing (AAN). The nursing intervention developed by Dr. Brown and colleagues, “Training in the Assessment of Depression” (TRIAD), established efficacious and effective, received national recognition from the AANs’ Raise the Voice Edge Runner Program. Dr. Brown is a founding editorial board member of the journal Research in Gerontological Nursing and an editorial board member of the Journal of Applied Gerontology.


Dr. Sheila Clemens


Sheila M. Clemens, Ph.D., M.P.T, P.T.


 Dr. Trudy Gaillard


Trudy Gaillard, PhD, RN, CDE, FAHA

Dr. Trudy Gaillard’s research trajectory has informed the science of aging and health equity.  She has been awarded a 2.9-million-dollar grant from the National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Aging (NIA) entitled, “ Florida Registry for Aging Studies” to recruit and retain older African American, Latino/Hispanic, and Caribbean adults into clinical research  as recruitment in these groups continues to be a significant challenge.  Dr. Gaillard’s study will explore  younger family members' (25-64 years) influence on recruiting older adults (65 years and older) into aging research as this line of research is  particularly important because many culturally diverse adults consult family members when making healthcare treatment decisions. The primary goal is to have a population of diverse older adults ready to participate in NIA funded clinical research studies. Specific aims of this study are 1) to identify strategies that promote recruitment and enrollment of diverse older adults into aging research; 2) implement a communication plan to increase awareness of and willingness to participate in research and 3) implement a statewide registry of African American, Latino/Hispanic and Caribbean  older adults ready to participate in NIA- funded clinical research. Dr. Gaillard’s work  is among the first to propose an organized plan specifically designed to increase our understanding of younger and older diverse adults' knowledge of research participation, and then translate this information into a strategic plan to recruit and enroll older diverse adults throughout Florida into a registry.


Jean Hannan Headshot


Jean Hannan, PhD, ARNP

Dr. Hannan is a member of the American Academy of Nursing whose program of research focuses on improving health outcomes of minority mothers and their infants leading to lower healthcare costs. Dr. Hannan has been a Principal Investigator on a grant funded by the National Institutes of Health examining an intervention to improve healthcare access for low-income mothers and their infants. Dr. Hannan has also served as a Co-Investigator on a Canadian Institute of Health-funded grant for a multi-international study examining ethno-cultural infant feeding practices with HIV+ mothers.


Ora Strickland Headshot


Ora L. Strickland, PhD, DSc (Hon.), RN, FAAN

Dr. Strickland is one of the original founders of the National Institute of Nursing Research. Her field of research includes the world-renowned Women’s Health Study. Her cutting-edge findings inform evidence-based practice and millions of women and families around the world by providing foundational knowledge in women’s health, genetics and quantitative measurement. Dr. Strickland has made research innovations in the field of measurement through her text books, articles and application of measurement in both nursing practice and nursing research across healthcare disciplines including medicine, nursing, psychology, sociology, genetics and epidemiology.


Tamu Thomas Headshot


Tami L. Thomas, PhD, RN, CPNP, FAANP, FAAN

Dr. Herbert and Nicole Wertheim Endowed Chair in Prevention and Family Health

Dr. Tami Thomas is an award-winning nurse scientist with a background in epidemiology. She is renowned as an advocate and authority in health promotion whose research findings serve as models for culturally appropriate patient education and care for underserved children and families.

Dr. Thomas’ illustrious body of research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Nursing Research, the National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities and the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration. Her research focuses on the HPV Vaccine, Rural Health and Health Disparities.

Her groundbreaking NIH-research on adolescent HPV vaccinations showed that health care providers could increase HPV vaccine uptake serving to reduce HPV-related cancers through a multi-faceted approach to educate patients by relating to their values and beliefs. As a highly respected thought leader in health promotion for underserved populations, Dr. Thomas is leading federally funded projects addressing the health care gap by increasing the role of nurse practitioners to serve rural communities as primary care providers and certified sexual assault nurse examiners.

Dr. Thomas’ scholarly work has been presented nationally and internationally, with the impact of her service resulting in her selection as one of only 15 nursing faculty for the second cohort of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Nurse Faculty Scholar Program; selection as an Early Career Reviewer; and requests to contribute to prevention initiatives worldwide. Dr. Thomas is a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing.

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Dr. Edgar Viera


Edgar Ramos Vieira, PT, MSc, PhD

Dr. Edgar Vieira’s research expertise is on risk assessment and prevention of aging-related mobility impairments, frailty and falls. The aim of his research activity is helping older adults stay functionally independent longer in their lifespan. Dr. Vieira had 12 projects in the field funded by agencies such as the Florida Department of Health and the Administration for Community Living from the Department of Health & Human Services (ACL-HHS).