Barbara Riegel, PhD, RN, FAAN, FAHA
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. Annually, one in every four deaths is due to heart disease. Through her extensive research into self-care practices of older adults with heart failure—their behaviors, their adherence to medication regimens, and their ability to understand and manage their symptoms— Barbara Riegel has learned that patients who don’t get involved in their care have extremely poor quality of life and die earlier than patients who manage their care.
Beginning when she was a clinical nurse researcher in an acute care setting and continuing since then, Dr. Riegel has created a rich body of evidence aimed at helping older adults with heart failure enjoy a high quality of life in their own homes. Her work includes development of the Self-Care of Heart Failure Index, a psychometrically sound instrument. She has received support from her research from NIH, the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, and other funders.
“I conduct fascinating research to help older adults with heart failure take better care of themselves, and I teach and mentor incredible students.”
- PhD, University of California at Los Angeles, 1991
- MN, University of California at Los Angeles, 1983
- BSN, San Diego State University, 1981
Dr. Riegel teaches about self-care in both the undergraduate and graduate program. She also teaches a course on evolving nursing science at the doctoral level. She engages students of all levels in her research; undergraduate students are involved in enrolling patients into studies, collecting data, and conducting basic analyses. Doctoral students review grants, code data, and write articles. She is actively involved in advising students in conducting their own research.
Dr. Riegel’s current projects address medication adherence, the biggest reason for hospital readmission among older adults with heart failure. Her research has found that poor sleep influences medication adherence and this in turn increases hospitalization rates. This led her to her current interests: designing and evaluating a staged intervention to help older adults with heart failure take their medications and using technologies such as Skype to coach patients and their caregivers in self-care.
A Commitment to Advancing the Field of Nursing Research
Dr. Riegel started the Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing in 1985, and she continues as Co-editor. The journal is ranked #6 for impact out of 116 nursing journals by Journal Citation Reports. Dr. Riegel also publishes in journals in and out of nursing, such as the American Heart Journal and the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine.
Opportunities to Learn and Collaborate at Penn Nursing
Dr. Riegel leads Penn Nursing’s Biobehavioral Research Collaborative, a multidisciplinary effort to share ideas about and seek funding for projects that explore the interaction of biological and behavioral factors in the promotion of health. The group engages nursing faculty with expertise in nutrition, sleep, and symptom management. Faculty affiliated with Penn School of Medicine and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia also participate.
Penn Nursing’s dedication to using research to affect policy and practice, and a physical layout that facilitates interdisciplinary teaching and research, were a big draw for Dr. Riegel. All schools are within easy walking distance of each other.
Selected Career Highlights
- Nurse Researcher Hall of Fame, Sigma Theta Tau International
- Distinguished Scientist Award, American Heart Association
- Kathleen A. Dracup Lecturer in Exemplary Early Career Mentoring Award, American Heart Association and the Council on Cardiovascular and Stroke Nursing
- President’s Award for Research on Chronic Disease Management and Impact of Nursing in Promoting Self-Care, Friends of the National Institute of Nursing Research
- Lennie, T.A., Moser, D.K., Riegel, B., McKinley, S., Doering, L.V., & Dracup, K. (in press). Anxiety measured up to two years prior to onset of acute coronary syndrome is associated with in-hospital complications. American Journal of Critical Care, .
- Streur, M., Ratcliffe, S.J., Ball, J., Stewart, S., & Riegel, B. (2016). Symptom clusters in adults with chronic atrial fibrillation. Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing, Published online 5/19/2016, (PMID: 27203271).10.1097/JCN.0000000000000344
- Stewart, S., Riegel, B., & Thompson, D.R. (2016). Addressing the conundrum of multimorbidity in heart failure: Do we need a more strategic approach to improve health outcomes. European Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing, 15(1), 4-7. (PMID: 26362926).10.1177/1474515115604794
- Tang, H.Y., & Riegel, B. (2016). In South Asian people with cardiac disease, strong patient-professional relationships may increase treatment compliance. Evidence-Based Nursing, 19(1), 19. (PMID: 26376903).10.1136/eb-2014-102050
- Jonkman, N.H., Westland, H., Groenwold, R.H., Agren, S., Atienza, F., Blue, L., et al. (2016). Do self-management interventions work in patients with heart failure. Circulation, Published online 2/12/2016, (PMID: 26873943).
- Tang, H.Y., Riegel, B., McCurry, S.M., & Vitiello, M.V. (2016). Open-loop audio-visual stimulation (AVS): A useful tool for management of insomnia. Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback, 41(1), 39-46. (PMID: 26294268).10.1007/s10484-015-9308-7
- Masterson Creber, R., Patey, M., Lee, C.S., Kuan, A., Jurgens, C., & Riegel, B. (2016). Motivational interviewing to improve self-care for patients with chronic heart failure: MITI-HF randomized controlled trial. Patient Education and Counseling, 99(2), 256-264. (PMID: 26358533).10.1016/j.pec.2015.08.031
- MacKenzie, M.A., Buck, H.G., Meghani, S.H., & Riegel, B. (2016). Unique correlates of heart failure and cancer caregiver satisfaction with hospice care. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, 51(1), 71-78. (PMID: 26384557).10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2015.09.001
- Riegel, B., Masterson Creber, R., Hill, J., Chittams, J., & Hoke, L. (2016). Effectiveness of motivational interviewing in decreasing hospital readmission in adults with heart failure and multimorbidity. Clinical Nursing Research, Published online 1/6/2016, 1-16. (PMID: 26743119).10.1177/1054773815623252
- Tang, H.Y., Vitiello, M.V., Perlis, M., & Riegel, B. (2015). Open-loop neurofeedback audiovisual stimulation: A pilot study of its potential for sleep induction in older adults. Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback, 40(3), 183-188. (PMID: 25931250).10.1007/s10484-015-9285-x