Dr. Pamela Cacchione

Pamela Z. Cacchione, PhD, CRNP, BC, FGSA, FAAN

Professor of Geropsychiatric Nursing

Ralston House Term Chair in Gerontological Nursing

Nurse Scientist, Penn Presbyterian Medical Center

Imagine being unable to see or hear well.

I want to encourage other nurses to love gerontology as much as I do, and enter the field to improve the lives of older adults.


  • PhD, St. Louis University, 1998 
  • MSN, Marymount University, 1987
  • BSN, Villanova University, 1984

Social Justice

Dr. Cacchione’s scholarship addresses three areas that impact social justice for older adults: Her teaching and research focuses on decreasing ageism and stigma associated with mental health conditions; her health policy work has focused on models of care for the dual eligible population such as Programs of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly and Managed Long-Term Services and Supports; and she has engaged in innovative work to improve post hospitalization wrap around services for the Medicaid population to decrease rehospitalizations and improve quality of life.


Mercy Living Independently for Elders – West Philadelphia is part of the federal Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly. The program provides comprehensive medical, health, recreational, and social services to promote independence at home—and an opportunity for nurse practitioner students to gain gerontology expertise.  

As a clinician educator at Mercy Living Independently for Elders – West Philadelphia, Dr. Cacchione conducts cognitive and capacity assessments and works with Penn Nursing undergraduate and graduate students and clinicians. She screens older adults for depression and substance miss-use and intervenes in depression, psychosis, and other serious mental illnesses. Nurse-led interventions have been instrumental in keeping the rate of antipsychotic drug use – common in long-term care centers – low for program participants. This is important because these drugs increase stroke and heart attack risk in patients with dementia.

Opportunities to Learn and Collaborate at Penn Nursing

Dr. Cacchione is currently working with Penn Nursing students and colleagues on several projects, including studies of sleep and falls in older adults. Her work has also included collaborating with two doctoral students and a chaplain to investigate end-of-life preferences. She has worked with Penn Nursing gerontologist Mary Naylor, PhD, to integrate research findings into the nationally adopted Transitional Care Model developed by Naylor.  

In 2016, Dr. Cacchione received the Penn Nursing Dean’s Award for Exemplary Teaching. She is a past recipient of Penn Nursing’s Barbara J. Lowery Doctoral Student Organization Faculty Award.

Selected Career Highlights

  • Fellow, American Academy of Nursing 
  • Editor, Clinical Nursing Research 
  • Editorial board, Research in Gerontological Nursing 
  • Editorial board, Journal of Gerontological Nursing 
  • Fellow, Gerontological Society of America 
  • Elected convener, Nursing Special Interest Group, Gerontological Society of America

Accepting Mentees?

  • Yes

Accepting Fellows?

  • Yes

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