Loyola University Chicago

Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing


Sigma Theta Tau International/Doris Bloch Research Award

Karen Fishe, RN, APN, NNP-BC

Karen Fishe, RN, APN, NNP-BC, PhD in Nursing student, was awarded the prestigious Sigma Theta Tau International/Doris Bloch Research Award, honorary society for nursing. This grant will support her dissertation research titled: "Impact of Maternal Childhood Adversity on the Psycho-Neuroendocrine-Inflammatory Profile During Pregnancy." The Doris Bloch Research Award was established through Sigma Theta Tau International to encourage nurses to contribute to the advancement of nursing through research.  Karen’s project will investigate the relationship between exposure to childhood adversity and how this exposure impacts the psychosocial-neuroendocrine-inflammatory profile of women during pregnancy. She will also evaluate maternal risk and protective factors posited to modify stress vulnerability and newborn outcomes. This bio-behavioral project is significant, as it will provide important insight regarding the impact of maternal childhood adversity on stress vulnerability during pregnancy, and upon the biological pathways by which childhood adversity compromises maternal-fetal well-being.  The study findings will contribute to evidence-based screening of pregnant women to identify those most vulnerable for greater prenatal stress, depression, and anxiety that portends poor birth outcomes.  Finding ways to improve mother-infant health outcomes will not only positively impact health of the newborn, but also health over the lifespan, as research now identifies early life experiences to strongly influence adult health.  As a nurse scientist who will be trained to incorporate biological outcomes in her research, Karen plans to disseminate her research findings to improve clinical practice, as well use the evidence generated as a vehicle to advocate for policy change to advance maternal-infant health.  Dr. Linda Janusek, Professor and Niehoff Endowed Chair for Research, is Karen’s mentor and dissertation advisor.