Profile: Woods Feels Good About UAMS
Diana Lynn Woods, Ph.D., is the first John A. Hartford Foundation scholar to join the College of Nursing at UAMS. As the first post-doctoral scholar in the college, she will conduct research funded by the foundation, which recently established a Geriatric Center for Nursing Excellence (GCNE) at UAMS with funds from an earlier grant. Dr. Woods joins Cornelia Beck, Ph.D., in conducting research on developing alternative treatments to drug therapy in elderly persons suffering from dementia. For both Drs. Beck and Woods, this research interest stems from an aspiration to improve the quality of life for people in nursing homes. Woods’ unique background in touch therapy research adds another dimension to these efforts.
She has been investigating the use of touch therapy in treating nursing home patients for more than twenty years. “I’ve always been on the edge of nursing research — above the norm of what people ‘thought’ a nurse should do,” Woods confided. “I have thoroughly enjoyed using touch therapy with my patients and seeing the positive effects that it can have on behavior and attitude.”
She completed her master’s thesis, “The effect of therapeutic touch on glucocorticoids and agitated behavior in persons with Alzheimer’s Disease,” at the University of Washington in 1991. It was while participating in a Hartford-sponsored conference at New York University that Woods’ mentor, Linda Terry, Ph.D., a professor at the University of Washington, introduced her to Beck. “At that point, I had heard about the Hartford Scholar post-doctoral program. Both Linda and Cornelia urged me to come to UAMS because of the correlations between my research and that already being done at the Reynolds Center on Aging,” said Woods.
Woods was excited to join the team at the Donald W. Reynolds Center on Aging and the College of Nursing. “I am looking forward to working with the wonderful researchers here at UAMS,” said Woods. She will be working with Gwynn Davis, M.N.Sc.; Claudia Beverly, Ph.D., R.N., who will serve as her project director; and Beck, who will serve as a mentor throughout the duration of her two-year scholarship.
Woods, a Canada native, is one of seven John A. Hartford post-doctoral nursing scholars across the country.
Did You Know?