Subscribe to Notes on Nursing, our monthly news digest.
Nursing News & ProgramsNurses Leading Innovation

Nursing Science in Action: Community-Inspired Interventions

Timiya S. Nolan, PhD, APRN-CNP, ANP-BC, is a nurse scientist at The Ohio State University focused on working in and with her community to reduce healthcare disparities. In honor of Minority Health Month, learn how she’s helping Black patients improve quality of life after breast cancer, boosting heart health in Black men, and bringing more nurses of color into community-based research.
Nursing News & ProgramsNurses Leading Innovation

Nursing Science in Action: Community-Inspired Interventions

Share

Timiya S. Nolan, PhD, APRN-CNP, ANP-BC, is a nurse scientist at The Ohio State University focused on working in and with her community to reduce healthcare disparities. In honor of Minority Health Month, learn how she’s helping Black patients improve quality of life after breast cancer, boosting heart health in Black men, and bringing more nurses of color into community-based research.
Timiya Nolan with staff and OSU students at the Uplift Her event

Timiya S. Nolan PhD, APRN-CNP, ANP-BC knew she wanted to work in healthcare. She just didn’t know it would be nursing.

At first, she thought she’d become a physician. But the moment she stepped into her first clinical rotation, her plan changed entirely.

“I will never forget that moment,” says Nolan, a three-time graduate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Nursing, where she earned her bachelor’s, master’s, and PhD degrees. “I immediately saw it was the nurse, not the doctor, at the bedside doing the work and watching out for the patient. From that point on, I was all in.”

Today, Nolan is an assistant professor at The Ohio State University (OSU) College of Nursing and a nurse scientist at the OSU Wexner Medical Center, where she studies ways to reduce health disparities by better understanding underrepresented minorities with chronic conditions and developing culturally sensitive interventions.

Timiya S. Nolan
Source: The Ohio State University

Thinking beyond ‘labs and mice’

Nolan says that when it comes to health equity, research happens in the community and has a direct impact on clinical practice.

“Research is often equated with labs and mice.” Noting that her community-based intervention research differs, she says, “I like to say that my research works with people, not parts of people. I believe that interventions can only be successful if the community is involved in every step – at the bedside, chairside, and every aspect of research and evidence translation. When we all come together, we have better ideas and better execution.”

Nolan’s research specifically focuses on helping young Black breast cancer survivors learn to manage late effects from their treatment, and on educating Black men and women on everyday lifestyle changes to improve cardiovascular health.

Combining nursing skills with academic research, Nolan strives to bridge the gap between communities and clinicians. “My style is to bring people together,” says Nolan, who co-designs culturally sensitive interventions to help people self-manage their health. “We wrap our arms around those who need it most, focusing on how to support them outside the clinic walls.”

In her breast cancer research, women are paired with nurse interventionists to navigate their concerns regarding survivorship in the Y-AMBIENT intervention study. “We provide tailored education and opportunities around what might be useful to young Black survivors and engage each participant to come up with specific, manageable goals,” says Nolan. “Survivors choose what's most important and take the lead in their own health in partnership with our interventionists.”

Nolan also directs the Partnering in Negating Statistics for Black Women Initiative. As part of the Initiative, she spearheads the Columbus, OH, Uplift Her event with the African American Male Wellness Agency. The event offers Black women health information while making research participation accessible. “We provide mammography, pap smears, CPR and Narcan training, as well as cardiovascular health screenings that we also use in research,” she says. “We do biometric screenings and pair people with healthcare providers that day who explain their numbers and deliver a personalized prescription for moving forward. We also offer the opportunity to partner with us in various research studies.”

Mentorship matters

Nolan is also committed to improving health equity by bringing more nurses of color into research. “I never saw myself as a nurse scientist, but it is a good fit for me,” she says. “I have put into action my mission to mentor equity-focused nurse scientists.”

Nolan with team of staff and OSU students at the Uplift Her event

Her first research mentee graduated from OSU in May 2022. “I am so proud to say she is now in a doctoral program at Johns Hopkins,” Nolan says, beaming with pride. “We started the Nursing Students of Color organization at OSU in 2020, and she was our inaugural vice president,” says Dr. Nolan, who later became her research distinction advisor, told her, “I know you’re focused on learning about bedside nursing, but I want to introduce you to research, so come collect data with me.’”

OSU Nursing Students of Color Organization group photo

The student jumped at the chance. At the time, Nolan was working on Black Impact, a pilot clinical trial of community-based lifestyle interventions among Black men based on the American Heart Association's Life's Simple 7 (LS7) metrics to reduce cardiovascular disease.

“She helped us collect weights and blood pressures, do finger sticks for glucose and cholesterol,” says Nolan. “She stayed with me for three years and went from collecting data to helping me analyze data to writing for publications. She told me she had no idea nurse scientists could be out in the community doing work like this. So, you never know what your work might mean for building the next generation.”

Her advice to other nursing professionals is clear. Mentorship matters.

“Be open to taking someone under your wing,” she says. “Mentors are powerful for building the next generation, and we must use every single tool we have if we are to make positive steps toward health equity in the future.”

Latest from Johnson & Johnson Nursing
  • group of nurses in discussion while viewing a tablet device
    A first of its kind report commissioned by the American Nurses Foundation found that just one penny of every healthcare philanthropy dollar goes to nurses, despite the need for massive and urgent investment in nursing to transform our complex health care systems and improve care delivery. A new series on the SEE YOU Now podcast explores this important issue. Here are three takeaways from the episodes.
    2024-06-03T16:44:40.553Z
  • nurse using a tablet device with a futuristic technology overlay
    Data and information gathering is vital to healthcare outcomes and quality – from identifying best practices for taking care of patients to predicting and planning resource needs and staying nimble during constant change. The role of nurses in technology and informatics is more critical than ever as AI is poised to streamline systems and practices.
    2021-10-22T20:34:36.255Z
  • group of smiling nurses on promo graphic for National Nurses Month
    Johnson & Johnson has proudly championed the nursing profession for over 125 years because we know that for healthcare to work, it takes nurses. This National Nurses Month, we celebrate the innovation, expertise and tremendous impact of more than 4 million nurses across the U.S. Below, meet four inspiring nurses dedicated to transforming the health of their patients and communities, underscoring the innovation and leadership of the nursing profession.
    2024-04-29T15:11:36.755Z