Gazaway receives K23 career development award

Photo of Shena Gazaway

By Pareasa Rahimi

University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Nursing Assistant Professor Shena Gazaway, PhD, RN, has received a five-year, $881,529 career development award from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases that will provide a mentored career development experience.

As part of the grant, Gazaway will develop a pilot project focusing on providing individuals with chronic kidney disease and their identified family caregivers the decision and communication skills necessary to navigate advancing disease as activated partners before facing major health-related decisions.

“As a community health nurse, I saw the difference in patient experiences with health-related decision-making, such as decisions about dialysis or where to get treatment, depending on whether they had robust family caregiving support,” Gazaway said. “I witnessed families work together to navigate the health system, co-manage illness and partner in these decisions. One of the greatest challenges patients with chronic kidney disease and their family caregivers face is being unprepared to engage and understand their disease process, thereby increasing the risk of experiencing decisional conflict, ineffective coping and distress.”

The pilot will enroll 64 chronic kidney disease patients with stage IV disease and their family caregivers to assess the feasibility, acceptability and potential benefits of each component of the decision support intervention, including finding ways to optimally support and engage patients in active disease management and future planning.

Gazaway’s mentorship team includes Doreen C. Harper Endowed Professor of Nursing J. Nicholas Odom, PhD, RN, ACHPN, FAAN; Professor Andres Azuero, PhD; and UAB Heersink School Medicine Marie S. Ingalls Endowed Chair in Nephrology Leadership, Professor and Director of the Division of Nephrology Orlando Gutiérrez, MD, MMSc.

“Throughout this entire process, I am grateful to this team of mentors who gave their time, insights and support,” Gazaway said. “When I became Dr. Odom’s primary research mentee in May 2021, I could sense his investment in me as an early career researcher. Because of his encouragement and training, our team is poised to significantly contribute to the research mission of the School over the coming years.“

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