Through the Brigham Nurse Scientist Program, every nurse has access to resources and mentorship to help them pursue research and innovative initiatives, no matter where they are in the process.
Regular offerings include research immersion days to help nurses understand different concepts of research, as well as abstract and poster workshops to assist nurses preparing for local and national presentations.
Additionally, nurse scientists hold weekly office hours to provide staff with feedback and guidance on active and proposed quality improvement projects and research. Monthly doctoral forums provide an avenue for DNP- and PhD-prepared nurses and students to discuss research ideas.
“It’s fulfilling to be able to engage nurses in a different aspect of care by supporting their research and innovative endeavors,” said Dany Hilaire, PhD, RN, nurse director of Research and Academic Affiliations. “Through these efforts, nurses have opportunities to improve the care of many patients and loved ones. I think that creates another dimension of satisfaction in our work as nurses.”
Learn more about our nurse scientists and team members below. Zoom links for office hours are available here (for internal staff only).
Sabianca Delva, PhD, RN
Sabianca Delva, PhD, RN, is a professor at the Boston College School of Nursing. She received her Doctor of Philosophy from Johns Hopkins University and her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Boston College.
Research focus: Delva is studying the use of mobile health technologies, such as Fitbits and smartphone apps, in managing cardiometabolic diseases in ethnic minorities with a community participatory approach. “This process is firmly rooted in the belief that engaging the community will be the key to developing viable solutions to the ever-evolving challenges in health care,” she said.
Commitment to reducing health disparities: Delva has witnessed firsthand the hardships immigrants face in navigating the U.S. healthcare system. “Non-English-speaking patients often experience structural, cultural and linguistic barriers when accessing care,” she said. “I use behavioral interventions to help these patients improve self-care and management of cardiometabolic diseases, with a goal of ultimately reducing health disparities.”
Office hours: Mondays, 1-2 p.m.
Priscilla Gazarian, PhD, CNS, RN
Priscilla Gazarian, PhD, CNS, RN, is an associate professor in the College of Nursing and Health Science at the University of Massachusetts Boston, where she teaches PhD and DNP students.
Research focus: Gazarian studies patient engagement in preventing harm and adverse events, such as in-hospital cardiopulmonary arrest and monitor alarm events. Currently, she is investigating how to engage end-of-life patients and their care partners in preventing harm.
Additional roles: Gazarian is affiliated with the Center for Surgery and Public Health at the Brigham and serves as a member of an interdisciplinary team investigating advance care planning.
Office hours: Thursdays, 8-9 a.m.
Dany Michaella Hilaire, PhD, RN
Dany Michaella Hilaire, PhD, RN, is the nurse director of Research and Academic Affiliations at the Brigham. She graduated from the University of Massachusetts Boston with a PhD in Nursing focused on Health Policy.
Research focus: Hilaire’s research focus and interests are related to cancer screening behaviors of underserved populations. Currently, she is working on initiatives to improve end-of-life care and resources.
Supporting nurses: Hilaire loves supporting nurses through their research journey. Her goal and passion is to make the process tangible, fun and rewarding for all nurses. She often reminds the nurses she works with that research and evidence-based practice is about creating a formal scientific process around what they do every day.
Office hours: Wednesdays, 5-6 p.m.
Annie Lewis-O’Connor, PhD, NP-BC, MPH, FAAN
Annie Lewis-O’Connor, PhD, NP-BC, MPH, FAAN, is a dually board-certified pediatric and women’s health nurse practitioner. She is the founder and director of the C.A.R.E Clinic (Coordinated Approach to Resilience & Empowerment) and serves as co-chair of the Mass General Brigham Trauma-informed Care Initiative.
Research focus: Lewis-O’Connor addresses trauma and violence from four pillars: research, policy, education and clinical practice. Her program of research is focused on trauma, violence and abuse and how to mitigate associated health outcomes. She uses mixed methods to explore research questions. She has received funding from the Office of Victims of Crimes, National Institute on Justice, Robert Woods Johnson Foundation, Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Passion for puzzles: “As a person who enjoys puzzles and assembling items that must be put together, I love working with staff as they explore answering research questions,” she said.
Office hours: Tuesdays, 5-6 p.m.
Colleen Shelly, MPH
Colleen Shelly, MPH, is a senior research assistant in the Department of Nursing. She holds a master’s degree in Public Health with a background in Biology, Epidemiology and Biostatistics.
Areas of interest: Shelly’s research interests are in maternal and child health and nutrition. She has investigated the role of exposures to environmental pollutants on child health outcomes and evaluated associations between intestinal inflammation and GERD in preterm infants. Currently, she is working on a project investigating potential associations between the maternal diet during pregnancy and the pH of human milk.
Supporting nurses: Shelly helps with ongoing research projects from the design and IRB submission stage through the process of analysis and dissemination of research findings. She is passionate about helping nurses not only engaging in research, but also flourishing in these efforts.
Office hours: She is available in all listed Zooms with the nurse scientists.