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Nursing at the NIH Clinical Center

NRTS Scientists

Gwen Wallen

Gwenyth R. Wallen, PhD, RN
Chief, Nursing Research and Translational Science
Tenured Senior Nurse Investigator Clinical Nurse Scientist

Gwenyth Wallen, RN, PhD is a Tenured Senior Nurse Investigator with Nursing Research and Translational Science at the NIH Clinical Center. Dr. Wallen's research focus can be categorized into four major areas: 1) health behavior in the context of health disparities and chronic care management; 2) integrative self-care approaches to pain and symptom management; 3) respondent burden as an ethical issue in clinical research and 4) mixed methodologies and measurement. Prior to beginning her career as a clinical nurse scientist she held advance practice roles as the Clinical Specialist for Neonatology and Clinical Manager of the Level III NICU at the Washington Hospital Center, in Washington, DC. Dr. Wallen also served as a post-doctoral research associate in the Department of Family Studies at the University of Maryland coordinating evaluation research for three state and local Responsible Fatherhood programs.

Dr. Wallen is a co-chair of the Intramural Scientific Review Committee for Nursing Research. Extramurally, Dr. Wallen holds adjunct faculty positions in the graduate schools of nursing at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences and the University of Michigan. She also holds an adjunct associate professor position in the Department of Behavioral and Community Health at the University of Maryland, School of Public Health.

Dr. Wallen has a BS in Nursing from the University of Maryland, a MA in Management and Supervision from Central Michigan University, and a PhD in Health Education from the University of Maryland. In 2008, she completed the 2-year University of Arizona Fellowship in Integrative Medicine as part of her developing portfolio of integrative health research.

Current Research Activities:

Studies –

Associate Investigator:

18-CC-0079: Pilot RCT of web-based behavioral sleep intervention for individuals with alcohol use disorder

16-CC-0162: Longitudinal Changes in the Oral and Gut Microbiome of Individuals with Alcohol Dependence

13-CC-0280: A Description of the Oral Microbiome of Patients with Severe Aplastic Anemia

12-CC-0145: Pilot Study of Yoga as Self-Care for Arthritis in Minority Communities

13-H-0183: Cardiovascular Health and Needs Assessment in Washington D.C.: Development of a Community-Based Behavioral Weight Loss Intervention


Nancy Ames

Nancy J. Ames, PhD, RN
Clinical Nurse Scientist

Dr. Nancy J. Ames is a Nurse Scientist in the Nursing Research and Translational Science section of Nursing Department at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Clinical Center. Previously, Dr. Ames was the Critical Care Clinical Nurse Specialist in Clinical Center Nursing Department. She received her Bachelor's in Nursing from the University of Maryland and spent 2 years after graduation in the United States Army. She has worked in numerous critical care units and spent more than 30 years practicing critical care nursing, specializing in pulmonary critical care and care of the patient who is receiving mechanical ventilation. Nancy came to the NIH in September of 1997 and has focused on bedside education and consulting as a method of improving care in the critical care units. In 2009, she received her PhD from the University of Maryland Baltimore. Her dissertation topic and research interests include oral bacteria and describing this complex component of the human microbiome and its relationship to pulmonary infection.

She has participated in numerous national critical care conferences as a speaker. She assisted in the development and implementation of an educational course for the clinical research nurse (Fundamentals for the CRN). She is a member of Sigma Theta Tau.

Current Research Activities:

Studies –

2012 OHSRP #11724: The Factors Influencing the Use of Hazardous Drug Safe Handling Precautions among Nurses Working in an Acute Care Oncology Research Setting


Alyson Ross

Alyson C. Ross, PhD, RN
Clinical Nurse Scientist

Dr. Alyson Ross is a Nurse Scientist with Nursing Research and Translational Science at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Clinical Center.  She graduated from Vanderbilt University with a BSN and MSN in psychiatric mental-health nursing. Dr. Ross received a PhD from University of Maryland School of Nursing in May 2012. She was awarded a Pre-doctoral Intramural Research Training Fellowship in 2011 at the NIH Clinical Center, where she completed a Post-doctoral Fellowship in 2014.

Dr. Ross's nursing experience includes pediatrics, women's health and mental health. In addition to her background in nursing and research, Dr. Ross received a certificate in Health Coaching from Georgetown University, and she is certified as an Iyengar Yoga Instructor and as an IAYT Yoga Therapist. Her current research at the NIH focuses stress and coping in family and professional caregivers, including the nursing staff at the NIH. She has researched, published, and presented widely on the importance of health-promoting behaviors such as proper nutrition, physical activity, social support, and stress reduction activities in alleviating the stress associated with caregiving and in preventing lifestyle-related diseases such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Dr. Ross is a member of the American Holistic Nurses Association, Sigma Theta Tau, and the International Association of Yoga Therapists.

Dr. Ross's focus in research is in two main areas: a) the relationship between stress and health behaviors and b) the impact of mind-body techniques such as yoga to reduce stress and change health behaviors. Her dissertation research examined health behaviors in yoga practitioners through a national survey. The primary findings were published in 2012 in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, "Frequency of yoga practice predicts health: results of a national survey of yoga practitioners." She has presented nationally on the health benefits of mind-body techniques, particularly the effects of yoga practice on stress and health behaviors. Dr. Ross is a member of the Society of Behavioral Medicine, the American Holistic Nurses Association, and Sigma Theta Tau.

Current Research Activities:

Studies –

14-CC-N006: Web-Based Patient Reported Outcome Measurement Information System to Explore Burden, and Stress in Cancer Caregivers (BaSiC2)

OHSRP #13263- Nurses and Self-Care: A Survey of Nurses Participation in Health-Promoting Activities

OHSRP #13187- National Survey of Nurse Coaches

OHSRP #00713- Inflammation in Family Caregivers of HSCT Recipients

Associate Investigator:

18-CC-00326 – Symptom Cluster Characterization in Cancer Survivors

17-CC-00106 – Biomarkers of Cardiometabolic Risk in Cancer Caregivers

15-CC-N204 - Family Caregiving Role Adjustment and Dyadic Mutuality: A Mixed Methods Study


Alyssa T. Brooks

Alyssa T. Brooks, PhD
Scientific Program Specialist

Dr. Alyssa Todaro Brooks is a Principal Investigator/Scientific Program Specialist within the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center Nursing Department (NIH CCND). She received her B.S. in Biobehavorial Health with Honors from Penn State University with minors in French and Psychology. Dr. Brooks was a pre-doctoral research fellow in the Nursing Department for five years. She completed her Ph.D. from the University of Maryland School of Public Health, Department of Behavioral and Community Health. She then served as a post-doctoral fellow in the Nursing Department until she moved into her current role.

Dr. Brooks' research focuses on: 1) behavioral treatment of sleep disturbances among individuals with alcohol use disorders in various phases of recovery, 2) novel approaches to collecting and analyzing subjective and objective data on sleep and circadian rhythms, 3) qualitative and mixed methodological approaches to understanding health behavior, 4) chronic disease management in vulnerable and diverse populations, and 5) exploring the effects of alcohol on the oral/gut microbiome. Dr. Brooks also serves as a mentor for post-baccalaureate, pre- and post-doctoral, and summer research trainees in the implementation and monitoring of research protocols. She is an active member of the Research Society on Alcoholism.

At the NIH, Dr. Brooks sits on the Innovation for Nursing Sensitive Practice in a Research Environment (INSPIRE) committee and is a voting member of the CCND/NINR Intramural Scientific Review Committee. She co-instructs the "Introduction to Genetics & Genomics in Healthcare" course for CCND staff nurses. Her main collaborations include the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, the University of Virginia School of Medicine, the NIAAA, NHLBI, and NICHD.

In addition to her role at the NIH, Dr. Brooks is the current President of the University of Maryland School of Public Health Alumni Network, serves on the University of Maryland Board of Governors, and teaches as an adjunct professor at the University of Maryland School of Public Health where she was recognized as "Most Valuable Professor" by the UMD Men's Lacrosse team in 2019. She is a mentor and keynote speaker for the Penn State Women's Leadership Initiative and the Penn State Schreyer Honors College "Mentoring with Honors" program.

Current Research Activities:

Studies –

18-CC-0079 (NCT#03493958): Pilot randomized controlled trial of web-based behavioral sleep intervention for individuals with alcohol use disorder

Associate Investigator:

14-CC-0143 (NCT# 02181569): Sleep disturbance and relapse in individuals with alcohol dependence: an exploratory mixed methods study (PI: Dr. Gwenyth Wallen)

16-CC-0162 (NCT# 02911077): Longitudinal changes in the oral and gut microbiome of individuals with alcohol dependence (PI: Dr. Nancy Ames)

14-AA-0181 (NCT# 02231840): Unit and Clinic Evaluation, Screening, Assessment, and Management (PI: Dr. Nancy Diazgranados)

NCT# 03288207: Tailoring mobile health technology to improve cardiovascular health in resource-limited neighborhood environments: a multi-level, community-based physical activity intervention (PI: Dr. Tiffany Powell-Wiley)

NCT01031160: Health behavior in school-age children: NEXT longitudinal study 2009-2016 (PI: Dr. Denise Haynie)


Lena Lee

Lena J. Lee, PhD, RN
Clinical Nurse Scientist

Dr. Lena J. Lee, PhD, RN is a Nurse Scientist in the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Clinical Center Nursing Department. Dr. Lee received a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 2006, and a Master of Science in Nursing in 2010, both from Kyunghee University in South Korea. Dr. Lee received her PhD in Nursing from the University of Maryland, Baltimore in 2015. She then served as an Intramural Research Training Award (IRTA) Postdoctoral Fellow in the NIH Clinical Center Nursing department from August of 2015 through May of 2019, when she accepted her current position.

Dr. Lee's research interests focuses on four major areas: 1) symptom management and symptom clusters in cancer and other chronic diseases, 2) latent variable modeling methodology, 3) psychosocial outcomes and biomarkers in cancer caregivers, and 4) psychosocial outcomes and health behaviors among vulnerable and diverse populations. Throughout her postdoctoral fellowship, she served as the lead associate investigator for protocols 17-CC-00106: Biomarkers of cardiovascular risk in cancer caregivers and 18-CC-00326: Symptom cluster characterization in cancer survivors. She has authored or co-authored 28 peer-reviewed papers, seven of which she is first author. She has presented her work in poster and oral formats at national research conferences. Dr. Lee is a member of the Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society, Oncology Nursing Society, Society of Behavioral Medicine, and American Public Health Association.

Associate Investigator:

17-CC-00106: Biomarkers of cardiovascular risk in cancer caregivers

18-CC-00326: Symptom cluster characterization in cancer survivors


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This page last updated on 04/08/2022

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