Natalie Wilson, DNP, a doctoral student in the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Nursing, has received $100,000 from the Veteran’s Administration to fund a two-year Nursing Research Initiative pilot study on the role of inflammation in symptoms commonly reported by HIV patients.
Her research focuses on inflammation caused by microbial translocation in HIV and whether it is a source of symptoms — that include bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation, nausea, indigestion and more — and the influence of symptom perception on adherence decision-making in veterans living with HIV. She also will validate a tool for assessing quality of life among those with gastrointestinal disease in the HIV population.
As a student in the UAB School of Nursing, Wilson examined research on the use of probiotics in healthy and unhealthy populations and built a case for the study of probiotics use in the HIV-infected population to improve overall health and quality of life.
Wilson, who wants to conduct research and improve clinical outcomes for HIV patients, believes UAB’s post-doctoral program will provide her with the specific skills and resources she needs to grow as a clinical scientist.
“I felt that my project touched on an area that had not yet been investigated in the HIV population. I wanted to pursue my doctorate so I would be able to further research this topic and truly make a difference for my patients and many others living with HIV,” Wilson said.
Wilson credits much of her success to her School of Nursing mentors, Associate Professor Mirjam-Colette Kempf, Ph.D., and Professor Patricia Patrician Ph.D. Kempf has expertise in HIV-related health services and outcomes research with emphasis on psychosocial barriers in accessing care and medications adherence. Patrician, a mentor with the VA Quality Scholars program, has a successful career conducting military and health-care utilization studies with nursing practice environments and patient outcomes.
Wilson has been a nurse practitioner since 1995. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Spelman College, master’s in nursing from Vanderbilt University, master’s in public health from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill and her doctor of nursing practice at UAB.