Nurse Inventors Named to Innovation Advisory Board

Karen Giuliano
Karen Giuliano

Two UMass Amherst nurse inventors, Karen Giuliano and Rae Walker, have been chosen to serve as founding members of the American Nurses Association’s (ANA) Innovation Advisory Board.

The board’s 15 members were tapped for their “significant expertise in health care innovation that encompasses nursing, design, education, nonprofit, business, venture and philanthropy sectors,” according to the ANA. They “demonstrate a deep commitment to nurse-led innovation and recognize its power to transform health care.”

Giuliano holds a joint position as an associate professor in the College of Nursing and the Institute for Applied Life Sciences (IALS), where sheheads up a product development and innovation laboratory. “As the largest group of health care providers, nurses touch more products and are a part of more services than any other health care professional,” Giuliano notes.

One of Giuliano’s research areas focuses on reducing IV medication infusion error by improving the usability of IV smart pumps. For her ongoing research on the epidemiology of nonventilator hospital-acquired pneumonia, she received the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology’s 2020 award for publication excellence. She also was named the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses 2020 Distinguished Research Lecturer.

Walker, associate professor and Ph.D. program director in the College of Nursing, aims to use nursing innovation as a catalyst for social justice. “If we want to create new and more equitable futures, we need to redistribute who holds the power over ‘innovation’ for health and health care, including within nursing,” Walker says.

They also are associate director of the UMass Center for Human Health and Performance – a multidisciplinary translational science center at IALS that specializes in sensors, nanotextiles and other digital health technologies. Walker was the first nurse to be named an official Invention Ambassador for the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Giuliano and Walker, along with other Innovation Advisor Board members, will work under the leadership of Oriana Beaudet, the ANA’s vice president of nursing innovation.   

“We are fortunate to have their vision and breadth of experience as we work to advance broader health nationally through innovation led by nurses,” Beaudet says. “We wholeheartedly welcome their leadership and insights as we move this work forward.”