UMass Amherst Nursing Inventor Named AACN’s Distinguished Research Lecturer

Associate professor’s interdisciplinary lab develops innovative medical devices
Karen Giuliano
Karen Giuliano

AMHERST, Mass. – Nursing researcher Karen Giuliano, who recently joined the University of Massachusetts Amherst, has been selected by the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) as its 2020 Distinguished Research Lecturer.

The AACN established the annual award in 1982 to honor nurses who make significant contributions to research that improves patient outcomes and advances nursing education and practice.

 In her joint position as an associate professor with the College of Nursing and the Institute for Applied Life Sciences (IALS), Giuliano will continue her program of research in medical device design and innovation with a team of interdisciplinary IALS colleagues. Giuliano’s own clinical outcomes research is focused in two areas: reducing IV medication infusion error by improving the usability of IV smart pumps, and product development and the role of oral care in preventing non-ventilator, hospital-acquired pneumonia.

In her IALS product prototyping and development lab, Giuliano will work with clinical, academic and industry partners outside UMass Amherst on a wide range of medical device innovation initiatives. Giuliano and her team can then take product prototypes to her product usability lab at the Mount Ida Campus for validation and further development.

“Dr. Giuliano’s work focuses on the intersection of clinical needs and medical technology use, development and innovation,” says AACN President Megan Brunson. “Her critical care nursing and medical device development experience provide her with a unique perspective on testing and improving medical devices that considers both patients and providers.”

Giuliano also is collaborating with a startup, Fisher’s Indiana-based Recovery Force, as the principal investigator (subaward) of a $1.8 million National Institutes of Health Phase 2 Small Business Innovation Research grant. She will lead the clinical testing of a portable active-compression device designed to improve patient mobility and prevent deep vein thrombosis, or blood clots.

“I am so thankful to AACN for selecting me to share my research at the 2020 National Teaching Institute,” Giuliano says.

Her clinical experience includes 15 years of critical care nursing. With a growing interest in product development, she then spent 13 years with Philips Healthcare, working on multiparameter patient monitors, and later worked for several startup companies.

She holds a bachelor’s and Ph.D. in nursing from Boston College, a master of nursing from the University of Rhode Island and a nurse practitioner post-master’s certificate from the University of Massachusetts Worcester. She also earned an MBA from Babson College and completed a postdoctoral research fellowship at Yale University. Before joining UMass Amherst, she was an associate professor in the School of Nursing at Northeastern University’s Bouvé College of Health Sciences.

Giuliano has published more than 80 articles in more than 20 journals, and she is an invited speaker at numerous national and international conferences. As the Distinguished Research Lecturer, Giuliano will discuss her career and research journey next May at the AACN’s National Teaching Institute & Critical Care Exposition (NTI) in Indianapolis – the world’s largest educational conference and trade show for acute and critical care nurses.

The American Journal of Critical Care will publish an abstract of Giuliano’s presentation in its May 2020 issue, followed by a complete manuscript in July 2020.