Research Projects

Featured CHOPR Research Projects

Matthew McHugh

Multilevel Panel Study of Effects of Changes in Nursing on Health Equity and Patient Outcomes

National Institute of Nursing Research
PIS: Matthew D. McHugh, PhD, JD, MPH, RN, CRNP, FAAN; Linda H. Aiken, PhD, RN, FAAN, FRCN

Over the past year, CHOPR has been actively engaged in an extensive study on health equity and patient outcomes with support from the National Institute of Nursing Research. By studying healthcare organizations, nurses, and patients over time, we seek to understand the impact of nursing investments on patient outcomes and health disparities. This four-year, $3.3 million multilevel panel study builds upon nearly 30 years of previous work. We will conduct surveys twice across seven U.S. states, aiming not only to comprehend the benefits of organizational change on patient outcomes but also to identify targeted interventions that can transform health equity, nurse wellbeing, and patient outcomes.

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Achieving Health Equity During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Lessons Learned from Nurses and High Performing Hospitals

National Institute of Nursing Research
PIS: J. Margo Brooks Carthon, PhD, RN, FAAN; Ann M. Kutney-Lee, PhD, MSN, RN, FAAN

This mixed methods study aims to reveal new causes of COVID-19 disparities by examining how variations in nursing resources were associated with disparities in minority COVID- 19 outcomes, including mortality and readmissions. It also identifies hospitals that achieved equitable outcomes for racial and ethnic minorities during the pandemic. At these hospitals, we explore the open-ended responses of thousands of nurses who shared their perspectives of supports and barriers to care delivery for socially “vulnerable” populations, including racial and ethnic minorities. We determine whether there are particular combinations of nursing resources, organizational supports and care processes that are most effective in reducing COVID-19 disparities.

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Spurring the Development of a Promising Intervention to Help Chronically Ill Medicaid Patients After Hospitalization

Rita and Alex Hillman Foundation
PI: J. Margo Brooks Carthon, PhD, RN, FAAN

THRIVE is a novel, equity-centered approach that provides whole-person care to Medicaid patients transitioning from hospital to home. Developed by a nurse-led interdisciplinary team at the University of Pennsylvania, results from an early pilot demonstrated a range of positive outcomes including reduced rehospitalizations. A $300,000 Hillman Catalyst Award will allow THRIVE, in partnership with Penn Medicine at Home and Pennsylvania Hospital, to expand to a second site and generate new evidence that could help to establish the intervention as a standard for delivering comprehensive transitional care to Medicaid patients and their families.


(June 25, 2023) Principal Investigator, Dr .Karen B. Lasater presented findings related to lowering of a hospital's nursing skill mix.

Learning from Hospital Preparedness during COVID: Chronically Under-Resourced Nurses and Patient Safety

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
PI: Karen B. Lasater, PhD, RN, FAAN

By analyzing data from millions of patients, thousands of nurses, and hundreds of hospitals before, during, and after the COVID-19 pandemic, the research assesses the pandemic’s impact on nurses and investigates whether improved pre-pandemic staffing and work environments contributed to mitigating negative outcomes during the crisis. 

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Nurses4All: A Mail Survey of Nurses for Policy Evaluation of Nurse Regulatory Legislation in Pennsylvania

National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN)
PI: Karen B. Lasater, PhD, RN, FAAN

We will conduct a mail survey targeting registered nurses in Pennsylvania to perform a rapid cycle outcomes policy analysis with funding from the National Council for the State Boards of Nursing. This analysis will focus on crucial nurse regulatory legislation, including the effects of the Nurse Licensure Compact and the potential outcomes, both estimated and actual, if HB106 is passed. HB106 pertains to the implementation of minimum nurse staffing standards in hospitals across Pennsylvania.


Listen to Her: Communicating to Improve Racially Disparate Birth Outcomes

Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation
PI: Rebecca Clark, PhD, MSN, RN, CNM, WHNP-BC

Communication is a leading root cause of preventable maternal morbidity and mortality, and a critical part of your experience when you give birth. Similar to sports teams that watch video recordings of their games to get even better, we use the same method, a video-reflexive ethnographic intervention, to help our high-performing health team enhance our communication during maternity stays to improve patient satisfaction and outcomes.


(April 17, 2023) CHOPR T32 doctoral fellows with Director, Dr. Matthew D. McHugh at the Fagin Research Award Ceremony.

Advanced Training in Nursing Outcomes Research (T32)

National Institute of Nursing Research
PIS: Matthew D. McHugh, PhD, JD, MPH, RN, CRNP, FAAN; Eileen T. Lake, PhD, RN, FAAN; J. Margo Brooks Carthon, PhD, RN, FAAN

This fellowship training program develops highly skilled nurse researchers specializing in clinical patient outcomes research through advanced quantitative methods and data science approaches. The program has trained-to-date 32 PhDs and 43 postdoctoral trainees, most of whom are currently employed in research positions across 43 institutions in 23 states.

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Magnet4Europe

EU Commission
Study Directors: Linda H. Aiken, PhD, RN, FAAN, FRCN; Walter Sermeus, PhD, MSc, RN

Magnet4Europe implementing an evidence-based intervention based on the successful Magnet Recognition Program®, a voluntary hospital designation for nursing care excellence by the American Nurses Credentialing Center.


U.S. Clinician Wellbeing Study

American Nurse Credentialing Center
Study Directors: Matthew D. McHugh, PhD, JD, MPH, RN, CRNP, FAAN; Linda H. Aiken, PhD, RN, FAAN, FRCN

The U.S. Clinician Wellbeing Study is the first large-scale evaluation of the mental health and wellbeing of hospital nurses and physicians in the U.S. The study has been approved by the ANCC Research Council and strives to discover the value of positive work environments.

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