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Eapen named PARTNERS Scholar

Dr. Doncy Eapen

Assistant Professor Doncy J. Eapen, PhD, MSN, APRN, FNP-BC, has been selected as the new PARTNERS Research Scholar at Cizik School of Nursing at UTHealth Houston in recognition of her important research into interpersonal violence.

PARTNERS (Providing Advancement Resources To Nursing Education, Research, and Students), is devoted to raising funds to support faculty research and nursing scholarships at Cizik School of Nursing. Since its founding in 1994, PARTNERS has provided the nursing school with almost $15 million in direct and indirect support.

A new PARTNERS Research Scholar is chosen every three years and supported by an endowment. Effective Sept. 1, Eapen will succeed Assistant Professor Seema S. Aggarwal, PhD, RN, AGNP-C, who was selected in 2020.

Eapen said the PARTNERS endowment will support her current studies and help her disseminate the findings as she continues to build her program of research. Her current projects include two studies involving interpersonal violence among women experiencing homelessness and a secondary data analysis that examines the association between intimate partner violence and adverse birth outcomes using nationally representative Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS) data.

She is wrapping up her study “Positive Parenting: Empowering Young Mothers Experiencing Homelessness with a History of Interpersonal Violence to Improve Parenting Strategies,” which is funded by a $25,000 award through the Rockefeller University Heilbrunn Family Center for Research Nursing Scholars and partially supported by a grant from the Simmons Foundation.

Through this project, she works with parent/child pairs in Houston-area shelters. Women first receive counseling using the Recovering from Intimate Partner Violence Through Strength and Empowerment (RISE) program developed by the Veterans Administration for female veterans. After four weeks of one-on-one counseling, participants benefit from six weekly sessions based on the Play and Learning Strategies (PALS) program developed at the Children’s Learning Institute at UTHealth Houston.

“Mothers experiencing homelessness frequently do not have access to voluntary, one-on-one parenting sessions,” Eapen said. “Early results indicate combining the RISE and PALS programs for this population can be effective, resulting in increased parental self-efficacy and improved child behavior.”

Eapen was also selected in 2021 as the Academy of Violence and Abuse Scholar. That honor supports a qualitative research project that explores pregnancy-related interpersonal violence among women experiencing homelessness.

Eapen joined the Cizik School of Nursing faculty in 2018. She earned her PhD from the University of Kansas School of Nursing, where she also completed a post-master’s family nurse practitioner program. Eapen earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing and Master of Science in Nursing from Manipal College of Nursing in India.

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Doncy J Eapen, PhD, MSN, RN, FNP-BC

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