The PAHO / WHO Collaborating Centre for Nursing Human Resources Development and Patient Safety has as one of its two major goals the development and strengthening of multi-center research projects in the global arena, particularly in critical regions of the Americas. In most of these projects, University of Miami School of Nursing and Health Studies investigators partner with research faculty from institutions of higher education in the targeted geographic areas. Research studies recently completed or currently underway include:

Completed Studies

  • “Increasing Capacity at Hospital Universitaire Justinien in Response to Haiti Earthquake” University of Miami School of Nursing and Health Studies faculty conducted a 1-year project to expand mental health capacity among Cap Haitien, Haiti healthcare workers for diagnosis and treatment of trauma in the aftermath of the January 2010 earthquake. This research project was funded by an administrative supplement to the NIMHD/NIH-funded University of Miami Center of Excellence for Health Disparities Research grant. During training sessions beginning on April 4, 2011 and ending in October 2011, instruction in how to triage and provide basic mental health services to the community’s population was given to 113 local healthcare providers. Preliminary findings indicate that the program was very well-accepted at all levels, from frontline trainees to local health leaders, and that there is a desire and perceived need to expand the program to other areas of Haiti, a WHO-identified critical region.  Products of this research study include a training manual and workbook in Haitien Kreole, French and English, with copies delivered to all participants and to leaders in the Northern Ministry of Health, the Hospital Justinien, Hospital Sacre Cuore, the medical school and the school of nursing. This project was featured in the April 8, 2013 issue of, a leading source of local and national nursing news. A peer-reviewed publication disseminating information about this project has been accepted for publication: Cianelli, R., Wilkinson, C., Mitchell, E., Anglade, D., Nicolas, G., Mitrani, V., Peragallo, N. (in press). Mental health training experiences among Haitian healthcare workers post-earthquake. International Nursing Review.

  • “Exploring the Health of Adolescent Young Adult Creole Women in Bluefields, Nicaragua”. University of Miami School of Nursing and Health Studies faculty conducted this community-based participatory research study funded by the University of Miami School of Nursing and Health Studies Dean’s Fund and carried out in Nicaragua, a WHO-identified critical region. The purpose of this one-year study, which began in October of 2011, was to explore the health experiences, with a focus on substance use and risky sexual practices, of adolescent and young adult Creole girls in this area, arguably one of the poorest regions of the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.  University of Miami School of Nursing and Health Studies faculty member Dr. Emma Mitchell collaborated on this project with the Bluefields, Nicaragua Indian and Caribbean University School of Nursing, which is the only school of nursing on the Atlantic Coast of Nicaragua.

Ongoing Studies

  • Improving Maternal and Child Health in the Southwest Corridor of Haiti”. From April to October of 2012, University of Miami School of Nursing and Health Studies faculty conducted a needs assessment evaluation to be used as the basis for the development and implementation of a 5-year proposal to expand the health workforce and family planning capacity of nurses and other healthcare workers at the State Nursing School in Les Cayes, in the southwest corridor of Haiti, a WHO identified critical region. Working directly with Haitian women, healthcare workers and local community leaders, needs assessment was completed on the infrastructure, personnel, equipment, services offered to mothers and children in this region, as well as on maternal and child needs. Based on the results of this needs assessment, UM School of Nursing and Health Studies faculty member Dr. Rosina Cianelli, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and the Ecole Infirmieres Des Cayes (Haiti), have prepared a proposal for a 5-year project entitled “Health Workforce Development to Improve Maternal-Child Health in the South of Haiti.

  • “Exploring the Health of Adolescent/Young Adults in Bluefields, Nicaragua”, is a one-year research project funded to University of Miami School of Nursing and Health Studies faculty member Dr. Emma Mitchell in the form of a University of Miami Provost Research Award. This research study is based on the premise that to address health disparities in low-income countries, global health research into economic inequalities is necessary. The study utilized a community based participatory research approach to explore potential health effects of familial economic migration on adolescents/young adults who remain in their country of origin.  This study builds upon Dr. Mitchell’s dissertation where Creole participants in Bluefields, Nicaragua identified adolescents/young adults as most vulnerable to these health effects due to economically driven familial separation.  The project aims to: 1) explore health effects of familial economic migration on Creole adolescents/young adults and culturally appropriate interventions to address these, 2) test the feasibility and cultural appropriateness of using assessment instruments not previously psychometrically tested in this population, to gather descriptive data on the attitudes and beliefs of adolescents/young adults across ethnic groups, and 3) continue to engage community stakeholders in Bluefields, building local research capacity.  The overall goal is to lay the foundation for a future health intervention initiative, as well as a longitudinal U Miami School of Nursing – Bluefields, Nicaragua partnership, for sustained collaboration.