Barbara J Riegel, PhD, RN, FAHA, FAAN
Professor of Nursing, Edith Clemmer Steinbright Chair of Gerontology, Director, Biobehavioral Research Center

Contact Information
University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing
Room 335 Fagin Hall
418 Curie Blvd.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104-4217
tel: (215) 898-9927

Heart failure remains the most common cardiac diagnosis in elders and one of the major reasons for hospital admission. Dr. Riegel provides national and international leadership in clinical research with this patient population. She is widely known for her studies of heart failure self-care and disease management. Specifically, she studies poor sleep and impaired symptom perception as factors influencing the ability of older adults to engage in self-care broadly defined to include medication adherence.

Dr. Riegel teaches primarily in the doctoral program. She teaches two seminars in the doctoral program: one on self-care and one on responses to chronic illness. Graduate students at all levels take these seminars. She also teaches in the undergraduate program, offering a case study on self-care.

Since 1994, Dr. Riegel has led interdisciplinary research in chronic heart failure, an extremely common and debilitating syndrome. Approximately 550,000 new cases of heart failure occur each year in the United States and one year mortality rates for newly diagnosed cases averages 35-45%. In her research, Dr. Riegel has tested various disease management approaches and developed psychometrically sound methods of measuring the self-care of persons with heart failure. Access her instrument at this website: Self-Care of Heart Failure Index. Most recently she demonstrated that older adults with heart failure have significant sleep problems and these issues causes lapses in attention and poor medication adherence.

• Currently Funded Grants

• Center for Biobehavioral Research

Clinical Practice
Dr. Riegel's research is directly applicable to clinical practice. Dr. Riegel has published her clinically relevant research widely in peer-reviewed journals and books. She is Co-Editor of The Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing.


A selection of her honors include Distinguished Scientist Award from the American Heart Association, the Kathleen Dracup Mentoring Award and the Lembright Award from the American Heart Association Council on Cardiovascular Nursing and the Heart Failure Research Prize from the American Heart Association Council on Cardiovascular Nursing and Otsuka America, Inc., Sigma Theta Tau International Nurse Researcher Hall of Fame, the Claire M. Fagin Award, the first annual Nursing Research Award of the Heart Failure Society of America, the Distinguished Research Lectureship Award from the American Association of Critical Care Nurses, and research awards from the Gamma Gamma Chapter, Sigma Theta Tau. She received the San Diego State University Alumni Association Distinguished Alumna Award and the award for Outstanding Faculty Contributions. Dr. Riegel is a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing, the American Heart Association, and the Preventive Cardiovascular Nursing Association.
• Honors/Awards Details »

Publications (select year)
2016  | 2015  | 2014  | 2013  | 2012  | 2011  | 2010  | 2009  | 2008  | 2007  | 2006  |
2005  | 2004  | 2003  | 2002  | 2001  | 2000  | 1999  | 1998  | 1997 and Prior  |
In Press  | More Publications 

The research we have been doing into the self-care practices of people with heart failure is so exciting to me. And, I've found that this topic resonates with students, clinicians, and other investigators. This excitement stems from the fact that patients who don't get involved in their own care have extremely poor quality of life and die earlier than they need to.