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Penn Nursing > Media > Veterans and PTSD > Mental Health

Mental Health

Nancy P. Hanrahan, PhD, RN, FAAN

Dr. Lenore H. Kurlowicz Term Associate Professor of Nursing

Through forward-looking research on the nursing workforce, Dr. Nancy Hanrahan addresses the potential of psychiatric nurses to integrate mental health in primary care services and to manage cognitive symptoms across all chronic illnesses. Her work, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, focuses on inpatient psychiatric outcomes and testing transitional care models for patients discharged from hospital treatment for a psychiatric condition.

Dr. Hanrahan applies brain and behavior neuroscience and psychopharmacology in mental health.  She has been appointed to the behavioral health steering committee of the National Quality Forum, working to establish priorities to improve the delivery of behavioral health services, achieve better behavioral health outcomes, and improve the behavioral health of the U.S. population, especially in the areas of mental illness and substance abuse.

Dr. Hanrahan leads Penn Nursing's Health Technnology Lab, where interdisciplinary teams connect to create serious games, mHealth apps, and other tools to address healthcare problems. One student-led project is Mission Reintegration, a game which aims to assist military personnel with the return to civilian life through PTSD symptom recognition and management. As part of the national Joining Forces initiative, Dr. Hanrahan is partnering with the American Nurses Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the American Nurses Association, to develop a PTSD toolkit for civilian registered nurses to help them better assess and treat PTSD in the nation’s veterans and military service members.

“Psychiatric nurses are building the science of effective patient and family care and optimal interventions across the healthcare system,” explains Dr. Hanrahan, “and can stand as leaders working with policymakers on health policy reform.”

Biography »


  • Mental health policy and evaluation of mental health delivery systems
  • Neuro-cognitive impairment and cognitive symptom management in chronic illness
  • Novel applications of gaming and digital applications in mental health

Related Publications

Health Care Reform and the Federal Transformation Initiatives: Capitalizing on the Potential of Advanced Practice Psychiatric Nurses (August, 2010)