Ann M. Kolanowski, Ph.D., RN, FGSA, FAAN

photo of Ann Kolanowski

Elouise Ross Eberly Professor in the College of Nursing; Center Director, Hartford Center of Geriatric Nursing Excellence at Penn State; Professor of Psychiatry, College of Medicine; Adjunct Professor, Associated Faculty, School of Nursing, University of Pennsylvania

Contact Information

106 Nursing Sciences Building
University Park PA 16802


(fax) 814-865-3779


Post-Doctoral Training, Research Fellow/Neurobeahvior, University of Michigan, 1994-96
Post-Doctoral Training, Research Associate/Teaching Nursing Home Project, University of Pennsylvania, 1992
Ph.D., New York University, 1989, Nursing Research and Theory Development
M.S., The Pennsylvania State University, 1980, Adult Health and Aging
B.S., College Misericordia, 1970, Nursing (Cum Laude)

Research Interests


  • Complex care issues in the health of the elderly
  • Dementia behavior in the elderly
  • Drug burden in nursing home residents with dementia
  • Non-pharmacological interventions for the behavioral symptoms of dementia and delirium
  • Non-pharmacological interventions for delirium in persons with dementia

Funded Research Projects

Current Research

RESERVE For Delirium Superimposed on Dementia (DSD). NINR R01 NR012242, 9/09/10- 6/30/15. Ann Kolanowski & Donna Fick (MPI). Information on the project can be found at the NIH RePorter web site.

The purpose of this RCT is to test the efficacy of cognitive stimulation, in the form of recreational activities, for resolving DSD. This is a 5-year $2,405,344 grant (9/09/10- 6/30/15) that will be conducted in rehabilitation sites across Pennsylvania. Other investigators include: Dr. Doug Leslie, College of Medicine, Penn State University; Dr. Mark Litaker, University of Alabama; Dr. Linda Clare, Bangor University, UK; Dr. Malaz Boustani, Indiana University; and Dr. Keith Whitfield, Duke University.

Co-Investigator. eCare for Eldercare. Funded by Children Youth and Family Services, Penn State. Total Award Amount: $23,000 ($3,000 from Smart Spaces), Jan 2010-December 2010. PI: Vittal Prabhu, Industrial Engineering Penn State.

Co-Investigator. Early Nurse Detection of Delirium Superimposed on Dementia-END-DSD. NINR. R01 NR011042, 2010-2015. Pi: Donna Fick.

Principal Investigator. Delirium Superimposed on Dementia: The IMPACT DSD Pilot Project. Social Science Research Center, Penn State. Co-PI: Donna Fick.

Principal Investigator- The Nursing Faculty Shortage: A Local Solution to Address a National Crisis. John A. Hartford Foundation Center of Geriatric Nursing Excellence. 2007-2012                         

Past Research

Principal Investigator- CNS-active Medications in Community-dwelling Elders. Beta Psi Chapter , Sigma Theta Tau,  2004

Principal Investigator- A Prescription For Enhancing Resident Quality of Life. National Institute of  Nursing Research 1R01 NR008910- 01A1 2005- 2009                        

Principal Investigator- A Prescription For Enhancing Resident Quality of Life. National Institute of  Nursing Research 1R01 NR008910- 01A1 2005- 2009                        

Investigator – CNS-active Drug Use in Persons with Dementia. College of Health and Human Development seed grant 2004-2006

Principal Investigator – Correlates of Antipsychotic Drug Use in Community-dwelling Persons with Dementia. Level 1 funding Center for Youth and Family Studies 2004-2005  

Principal Investigator – Theory-based Activities for Dementia Behaviors. National Institute of Nursing Research 1 R15  NR08148-01 2002-2003

Principal Investigator-subcontract – Wandering Behavior:  Background and Proximal Factor,    NINR,R01NR004569. Donna Algase—PI. 2002-2004

Co-Investigator – Development of the Neurological Disorders Database Repository to Support Collaborative, Multidisciplinary Research Investigations in the Areas of Neurobiology of Aging and Neurological Diseases. Medical College of Georgia Combined Intramural Grant Program 1999

Principal Investigator – Complex Care Issues in the Health of the Elderly and Near Elderly in Georgia.  Blue Cross of Georgia 2000-2003

Principal Investigator – Individualized Activity Intervention for Dementia Behavior: A Within-Person Analysis Over Time. Eastern Nursing Research Society 2000.

Principal Investigator – Medical College of Georgia MCGRI:  Testing Theory-based Interventions for Dementia Behavior 1999.

Principal Investigator – Medical College of Georgia School of Nursing Small Grant:  Designing Theory-based Interventions for Dementia Behaviors 1999.

Investigator:  Aggressive Physical Behavior:  Background and Proximal Factors.  NINR, R01NR004568 ($2,453,896).  Ann Whall—PI 1999-2004

Principal Investigator - The Relation of Premorbid Characteristics to Behavior in Dementia, Neuroscience Nursing Foundation 1998

Principal Investigator - Disturbing Behaviors in Institutionalized Elders.  Alzheimer’s Association Pilot Research Grant (#PRG-95-039) 1995

Research Fellow in Neurobehavior - University of Michigan School of Nursing Supported by T32-NR-07074 1994-1996

Research Associate - Teaching Nursing Home Project, University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing Partially supported by NIA P01-AG-23934-09 and NIA R01-AG-08324-03 1992.


Visiting Professor, Eastern Australia Dementia Training & Study Center, Queensland University of Technology
John A. Hartford Geriatric Nursing Research Award, Eastern Nursing Research Society
Recipient of the College of Health and Human Development Fran & Holly Soistman Award
Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing
Fellow of the Gerontological Society of America
Visiting Professor, School of Nursing, Medical College of Georgia
“Spirit of Nursing” Award, Georgia Nurses Association
Pennsylvania Higher Education in Nursing Schools - Distinguished Colleague Award
Leadership Wilkes-Barre, Class of 1991
1990-1991, 1983-1984
Listed in Who's Who in American Nursing
Excellence in Research Award, Zeta Psi Chapter, Sigma Theta Tau

Selected Publications

A. Kolanowski, M. Litaker, L. Buettner, J. Moeller, and P. Costa. 2011. A randomized clinical trial of theory-based activities for the behavioral symptoms of dementia in nursing home residents. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society 59(6):1032–1041.

A. Kolanowski, D. Fick, M. Litaker, L. Clare, D. Leslie, and M. Boustani. 2011. Study protocol for the recreational simulation for elders as a vehicle to resolve delirium superimposed on dementia. Trials 12(119).

C. Beck, K. Richards, C. Lambert, R. Doan, A. Landes, A. Whall, D. Algase, A. Kolanowski, and S. Feldman. 2011. Factors associated with problematic vocalizations in nursing home residents with dementia. The Gerontologist 51(3):389–405.

A. Kolanowski, D. Fick, L. Clare, B. Therrien, and D. Gill. 2010. An intervention for delirium superimposed on dementia based on cognitive reserve theory. Aging and Mental Health 14(2):232–242.

A. Kolanowski, D. Fick, J. Campbell, M. Litaker, and M. Boustani. 2009. A preliminary study of anticholinergic burden and relationship to a quality-of-life indicator, engagement in activities, in nursing home residents with dementia. Journal of the American Medical Directors Association 10(4):252–257.

D. Dettmore, A. Kolanowski, and M. Boustani. 2009. Aggression in persons with dementia: Use of nursing theory to guide practice. Geriatric Nursing 30(1):8–17.

A. Whall, K. Colling, A. Kolanowski, H. Kim, G. Son Hong, B. DeCicco, D. Ronis, K. Richards, D. Algase, and C. Beck. 2008. Factors associated with aggressive behavior among nursing home residents with dementia. The Gerontologist 48:721–731.

A. Kolanowski, L. Hoffman, and S. Hofer. 2007. Concordance of self-report and informant assessment of emotional well-being in nursing home residents with dementia. Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences 62B(1):20–27.

A. Kolanowski, M. Litaker, and L. Buettner. 2005. Efficacy of theory-based activities for behavioral symptoms of dementia. Nursing Research 54(4):219–228.

D. L. Algase, C. Beck, A. Kolanowski, A. Whall, S. Berent, K. Richards, and E. Beattie. 1996. Need-driven dementia-compromised behavior: An alternative view of disruptive behavior. American Journal of Alzheimer's Disease 11(6):10, 12–19.