Pilot Projects

PI: Julie Barroso, PhD, RN, FAAN

Fatigue remains one of the most troubling symptoms for people living with HIV infection. This fatigue is chronic and often associated with stressful life events. Dr. Barroso studies HIV-associated fatigue and developed and tested the feasibility, acceptability and utility of her novel, low-cost technology application (app) based on the Cognitive Behavioral Stress Management (CBSM) Program. The app is designed to enhance coping skills to help people with HIV infection self-manage stressful life events and prior traumatic exposures. Study findings demonstrated the intervention to be credible and acceptable and few barriers to treatment participation were reported. There was also a decrease in fatigue intensity and overall fatigue-related functioning, which provides evidence of the promise of the intervention, which still needs to be tested in an adequately powered trial. These results are published in the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management. Dr. Barroso continues her work in her new role as Professor and Endowed Chair, Vanderbilt University.

Project Poster

PI: Shannon Phillips, PhD, RN

Children with sickle cell disease experience painful episodes that are often difficult to manage, leading to frequent clinic and emergency department visits for pain management. Dr. Phillips developed her intervention Self-Management for Youth Living with Sickle Cell Disease (SMYLS) using an application (app) platformVoice Crisis Alert specifically designed for children and their caregivers to monitor pain, and improve access to health information and their health care provider through secure, within-app messaging. This innovative app is specifically designed with children in mind, allowing them to build an avatar of themselves where they can point to the location of their pain and its severity. Caregivers are then able to see how their children are rating their pain, and can act promptly to provide care to prevent a sickle cell crisis. She found the app was feasible, acceptable, and satisfactory to children and caregivers. For children ages 8 – 17 years of age with sickle cell disease, there was noted improvement in multiple symptoms such as pain, fatigue, and quality of life. These findings are reported in Research and Nursing and Health and Applied Nursing Research. Dr. Phillips received a prestigious K23 career development award from the National Institute of Nursing Research to continue this important line of research over the next 2 years.


Coordinating PI: Teresa Kelechi, PhD, RN

Older people living in low income areas are often excluded from clinical trials but not in this trial of a telehealth “Activate for Life” intervention to address pain and fatigue. These symptoms are associated with several conditions such as arthritis, and reduced mobility which in turn reduce muscle tone and increase the risk of falls. To combat these problems, a strength and balance training program using gentle yoga and yogic breathing was developed and is delivered through a video platform Vidyo directly into the older persons’ homes using hand-held tablet computers. Participants are able to check their blood pressure and other symptoms that are transmitted to the study team. These data are currently being analyzed.


PI: Sarah Miller, PhD, RN

Dr. Miller understands the complexities of living with a respiratory disorder and the myriad of symptoms experienced by people with conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Breathing disorders often weaken the respiratory muscles making difficult to breath and leads to incapacitating fatigue. In this study, a muscle strength training device and smart airway management system app called RESP-FIT, short for Respiratory Fitness, is being tested to determine whether people with COPD feel stronger, are able to breathe easier on their own, and have less activity-related fatigue. Dr. Miller is currently analyzing these data.

Project Poster

PI: Brantlee Broome, PhD, RN

Approximately 6 million children in the United States suffer from food allergy, and for Dr. Broome, assisting caregivers to navigate the intricacies of helping their children live a normal life and deal with their own fears of their children developing a food-induced anaphylactic reaction. Persistent fatigue and stress, worry, uncertainty, and hypervigilance are commonly reported symptoms within that first few weeks of a child being diagnosed with a food allergy is the target of her study. Dr. Broom’s Food Allergy Symptom Self-Management with Technology (FASST) 4-week app intervention includes ways to help caregivers manage their symptoms through education and stress reduction techniques. She started to develop and test this intervention in May 2020.


PI: Michelle Nichols, PhD, RN

Obesity is now a worldwide epidemic, and Dr. Nichols recognizes that youth are among the fastest growing age group of obese individuals. These youth are also experiencing asthma at alarming rates leading to additional weight gain, fatigue and pain in their joints and muscles. These symptoms can result in decreased physical activity, social isolation, and poor quality of life. Dr. Nichols designed MATADORS, a mobile health intervention that was designed to help youth be better able to self-manage asthma and obesity related symptoms that have negative consequences for their health conditions by monitoring fatigue and other symptoms. The goal is to help them engage in healthy behaviors to reduce disease burden, and improving their quality of life. Dr. Nichols project began in May 2020.

Project Poster