Military Cluster

Faculty members within the School of Nursing pursue research studies that pertain to multiple aspects of the military. For additional details about a study or to discuss collaboration opportunities, send an email to or call the identified investigator.

Graded Immersed Exercise Intervention

Purpose: The psychophysiological effects of immersion in laboring women include significant decreases in anxiety, plasma vasopressin, and oxytocin, while beta-endorphin levels increased along with a significant plasma volume shift. Pain is decreased more for women with high baseline pain than for women with low baseline pain levels. We hypotheses that graded immersed exercise may have similar neuroendocrine effects and decrease anxiety, pain, and depressive symptoms while decreasing glucose resistance and blood pressure. Strength and endurance may also improve. Skeletal muscle EMG measures can be performed using a previously developed waterproofing application.

Intended for: Veterans with PTSD comorbidities such as depression, neuropathy, diabetes, and HTN.

Led by: Rebecca Benfield
Email: rebecca.benfield@unlv.edu
Phone: 702-895-5045

Epigenetic Markers of Neurodegeneration After Traumatic Brain Injury

Purpose: Inflammation, oxidative stress, apoptosis-related pathways from peripheral epigenetic data have been reported in neurodegeneration (TBI). But these peripheral markers have rarely been examined with different neurological measures, such as cognitive decline, postural imbalance, problems in oculomotor movements or cortical excitability. This study will serve to develop a rapid, non-invasive, and reliable combination of tools sensitive to detect post-traumatic neurodegeneration.

Intended for: Veterans with traumatic brain injuries and age-, race-, gender-matched controls.

Led by: Hyunhwa Lee
Email: hyunhwa.lee@unlv.edu
Phone: 702-895-3492

Teaching, Learning, and Implementing Clinical EBP Projects

Purpose: EBP projects are needed to engage staff and enhance practice. Generally, bedside nurses do not have the skill set to engage in EBP activities to improve patient care and systems.

Intended for: Staff nurses or residence within any of the LV area health care facilities.

Led by: Mary Bondmass
Email: mary.bondmass@unlv.edu
Phone: 702-895-3987

Chronic Pain

Purpose: Studying chronic pain (e.g., low back pain), its management (self-management, self-management support, opioids), and biobehavioral process that help explain chronic pain mechanisms (e.g., epigenomics) toward improving pain management.

Intended for: Veterans.

Led by: Jennifer Kawi
Email: jennifer.kawi@unlv.edu
Phone: 702-895-5930

Physiological and Psychological Effects of Stress on Health Among Vulnerable Populations

Purpose: Interests include the following: 1) Impact of stress (acute and chronic) on health (specifically inflammation and endothelial dysfunction), 2) Sexual health and methods (i.e. tai chi, yoga) to improve sexual function among older adults, and 3) Health promotion and reducing health disparities among vulnerable populations including older adults.

Intended for: Veterans residing in Southern Nevada.

Led by: Cheryl Maes
Email: cheryl.maes@unlv.edu
Phone: 702-895-2947

Enhancing Care and Quality of Life for Patients and Families

Purpose: My research interests that could be applicable to the VA setting include:
1) hospice and palliative care - family caregiving in hospice and EOL care, caregiver self-care, complementary therapies in hospice care, ACP; 2) inner strength in women with chronic conditions - particularly cancer survivorship in women, QOL, and self-management; 3) quality and safety in acute care settings - nurse sensitive indicators, implementation of evidence-based practice in acute care settings.

Intended for: Veterans residing in Southern Nevada.

Led by: Catherine Dingley
Email: catherine.dingley@unlv.edu
Phone: 702-895-4062

The Effect of Hypobaria on Muscle Inflammation and Regeneration after Injury and Hemorrhagic Shock

Purpose: (a) To establish a combat casualty/en route care experimental model that incorporates lower extremity muscle injury and hemorrhagic shock with fluid resuscitation and simulates the hypobaria exposure of air transport from the Pacific theater to the United States; (b) To test the effect of 16-hour hypobaria exposure on leukocyte characteristics, function, and related genes responsive to muscle injury in a combat casualty/en route care experimental model.; and (c) To test the effect of 16-hour hypobaria exposure on muscle regenerative processes and functional properties in a combat casualty/en route care experimental model.

Intended for: In the long-term, this research is intended for wounded soldiers who undergo air transport from the battlefield. The findings of this research will also aid health care providers in treating these wounded soldiers.

Led by: Barbara St. Pierre Schneider
Email: barbara.stpierreschneider@unlv.edu
Phone: 702-895-1216

Experiential Avoidance and Resilience Among College Student Veterans

Purpose: To determine effects of a smartphone app about Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) on experiential avoidance, PTSD, and resilience among college student veterans.

Intended for: College student veterans

Led by: Andrew Thomas Reyes
Email: andrewthomas.reyes@unlv.edu
Phone: 702-895-5094

Health Disparity

Purpose: I am interested in health disparity research, and my expertise areas include evaluation research, research methodology, and statistical analyses which can be applied to research projects focusing on veterans or military families. I’m also interested in community-based participatory research (CBPR).

Intended for: Veterans residing in Southern Nevada.

Led by: Du Feng
Email: du.feng@unlv.edu
Phone: 702-895-3414