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Barbara Riegel, PhD, RN, FAAN, Transitions from Standing Faculty at Penn Nursing After 19 Years of Service

Barbara Riegel, PhD, RN, FAAN, FAHA has transitioned from her position as the Edith Clemmer Steinbright Chair of Gerontology. She has been a highly respected member of the faculty at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing for the past 19 years. A world-renowned expert in heart failure self-care, Barbara has been listening deeply to her patients and patients’ families to build a rich body of evidence aimed at helping older adults with heart failure enjoy a high quality of life.

First drawn to Penn Nursing by its commitment to policy and practice, and its focus on interdisciplinary work, Barbara has collaborated with colleagues in various School of Medicine departments - Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, the Center for Sleep and Circadian Neurobiology, and the UPHS Heart Failure Program. She is a world-renowned scholar and has numerous international collaborations with colleagues across the world including Italy, Sweden, Brazil, Australia, and Hong Kong. Her work includes development of the Self-Care of Heart Failure Index and numerous other psychometrically sound instruments. These instruments are available on her website: She has received support for her research from NIH, the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, private foundations, and other funders. Most recently, Barbara was invited to present a 2020 National Institute of Nursing (NINR)’s 2020 Director’s Lecture Series. Her presentation was so aptly titled, “At the Intersection of Self-Management and Symptom Science.” Only the nation’s top nurse scientists are asked to share their work to this transdisciplinary audience.

Barbara is an exemplary teacher and mentor – throughout all our programs. At the undergraduate level she developed an ABCS course case study on self-care of chronic illness. She has taught primarily in the graduate program and has engaged students and trainees at all levels in her research. She has advised, inspired, supported, and mentored many a student, post-doctoral fellow, and colleagues into productive research careers. She is an extraordinary mentor and her mentees speak with gratitude about the opportunities and guidance she has provided. Lastly, Barbara led our school’s Biobehavioral Research Center, which successfully advanced biobehavioral research in nursing by bringing together scientists in new ways to work collaboratively, align strongly with the School’s research mission, and create global partnerships often times with colleagues in lesser resourced countries. Her passion and energy continued to support nursing and interdisciplinary colleagues as part of the Biobehavioral Research Collaborative.

Barbara has received numerous honors for her research, including the Distinguished Scientist Award from the American Heart Association and induction into the Sigma Theta Tau International Nurse Researcher Hall of Fame. She has also received the Trustees’ Council of Penn Women mentor award as well as the Claire M. Fagin Distinguished Researcher Award.