Lois K. Evans, PhD, FAAN, RN
Dr. Evans received her BSN from West Virginia University and her MSN and PhD degrees from The Catholic University of America. She joined the Penn faculty in 1984 where she distinguished herself as a teacher, researcher, scholar, practitioner, and administrator.
Dr. Evans’ career– as one of the nation’s foremost leaders in care of the elderly – embraces several components. Along with her colleague, Dr. Neville Strumpf, Dr. Evans developed new ground-breaking, policy shaping research that reduced the use of restraints on frail elders in the nation’s nursing homes and hospitals. As faculty director, Dr. Evans played a major role in launching the academic clinical practices of the School of Nursing, offering rehabilitation to frail elders and primary care to low-income families who otherwise might go without health care. During her tenure as Family and Community Health Division Chair, she facilitated the development and implementation of a faculty mentorship program. Within the University, she provided interprofessional leadership in efforts related to aging and to faculty diversity.
Dr. Evans continues to mentor doctoral students in their research related to behavioral symptoms in older adults, mental health and long term care/health systems. “Increasing awareness through shared coursework among a broader range of students about the experiences and needs of older adults and their families in coping with age-related issues is one important way to extend mental health services to this population.” Her federally funded accomplishments in education at Penn include integrating aging into the psychiatric mental health graduate nursing curriculum and developing the psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner program.
Dr. Evans’ investigation in nursing facilities of a commonly observed phenomenon, the sundown syndrome, led to a program of collaborative, award-winning research with her colleague, Dr. Neville Strumpf, on reducing the use of physical restraints with older adults in nursing homes and hospitals. Related research interests include individualized care, organizational culture, geriatric mental health, behaviors in dementia, models and outcomes of care for frail elders, thriving in late life, and most recently, older women’s experience of transitioning from the workforce.
Drawing from her extensive background in aging, mental health, long term care and health care systems, Dr. Evans provided leadership for the development and implementation of the School’s model network of academic nursing practices, offering a broad range of community-based and -focused services, including a geriatric day hospital and a Program of All-inclusive Care for Elders [PACE]. Her text, Academic nursing practice-Helping to shape the future of health care, captures and describes the experience of Penn Nursing ‘s academic practices in providing a unique learning laboratory for integrating education, research and practice. Currently, Dr. Evans remains engaged in national efforts to enhance education and practice in geropsychiatric nursing for integrated care.