Odom named Harper Endowed Professor

Photo of Nick Odom

By Laura Gasque

University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Nursing Associate Professor, J. Nicholas Odom, PhD, RN, ACHPN, FPCN, FAAN, is the inaugural holder of the Doreen C. Harper, PhD, RN, FAAN Endowed Professorship in Nursing.

Odom is a national and international leader in nursing science, developing and testing palliative care interventions to improve the decision-making and quality of life of family caregivers for individuals with advanced cancer and heart failure in under-resourced populations. Odom has acquired more than $9 million in extramural research grants from the National Institutes of Health and other organizations focused on palliative care and caregiving.

The Harper Endowed Professorship, an intermediate step to the planned Doreen C. Harper, PhD, RN, FAAN Endowed Chair in Nursing, was named in honor of Harper, the School’s fourth dean, who retired in 2022. Throughout Harper’s academic career as a nurse practitioner, she worked tirelessly to advance health care quality and equity, and advocate for nursing leadership, excellence and advanced practice through the preparation of highly educated diverse nurses.

Lead donors to the chair include Minnie Rast, Triton Health Systems, Nancy Dunlap and John Johns, and Joe and Gerrie Chambliss, as well as the School’s Board of Visitors and Junior Board of Visitors who dedicated proceeds from fundraising events to the endowment. The hope is that the ongoing contributions of this endowed fund to scholarly and clinical research will benefit the health and well-being of communities, patients and families.

Odom’s program of research focuses on the development and testing of early palliative care coaching interventions to optimize the role and health of historically under-resourced family caregivers of individuals with serious illness, particularly advanced cancer and heart failure. He has complementary topical interests in the role of family caregivers in providing decision support to patients, lay health care navigators, and digital phenotyping. In addition to his role in the School, Odom is Associate Director of the UAB Center for Outcomes and Effectiveness Research and Education, Assistant Director of the UAB Center for Palliative and Supportive Care, and is an Associate Scientist in the UAB O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer, UAB Minority Health and Health Equity Research Center, and UAB Center for Palliative and Supportive Care.

In 2021, Odom was named a Sojourns Scholar by the Cambia Health Foundation. In 2020, he received the Friends of the National Institute of Nursing Research Protégé Award, was inducted as a Fellow into the American Academy of Nursing and was named a Betty Irene Moore Nurse Leaders and Innovators Fellow. In 2019, he was named a Fellow of the Hospice and Palliative Care Nurses Association.

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