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The Pennsylvania State University
Capella University
Misericordia University
The Pennsylvania State University, Scranton Campus
The Pennsylvania State University, Scranton Campus

Job Responsibilities/Research Interests/BIO

  • I am a graduate of Penn State Scranton’s A.S.N. and RN-B.S.N. programs, Misericordia University’s M.S.N. program in adult health as a Clinical Nurse Specialist with a subspecialization in nursing education. I also earned my M.S.Ed. from Capella University with a focus in professional studies and my Ph.D. at Penn State University in the Ross and Carol Nese College of Nursing. In addition, I earned my certificate for online teaching through Penn State and I am also certified in Nursing Education, Medical/Surgical Nursing and End-of-Life care.
  • I have worked at Penn State University since 2003 (full-time since 2008) where I am responsible for teaching in the BSN Penn State Scranton, graduate-level nursing education courses for the World Campus and also serve as the Assistant Dean of Undergraduate Nursing Education at the Commonwealth Campuses for the Ross and Carol Nese College of Nursing. I am currently a Teaching Professor of Nursing. I love nursing and educational research. I have published and presented many scholarly articles and have a true love for conducting and disseminating research in order to advance our great profession. My current area of research revolves around end-of-life and palliative care.

Michael M. Evans CV

Michael’s website


Research & Publications


Dr. VanHaitsma is a Clinical Geropsychologist with a PhD in Clinical Psychology. She is Professor in the Ross and Carol Nese College of Nursing and Director of the Program for Person Centered Living Systems of Care (PPCLSC) located in the The Tressa Nese and Helen Diskevich Center of Geriatric Nursing Excellence (CGNE). She also serves as Adjunct Research Scientist at the Polisher Research Institute, Abramson Senior Care. Dr. VanHaitsma provides mentorship to doctoral and post-doctoral level students. From a research perspective, she has been the Principal Investigator or Co-Principal Investigator on more than 35 grants as well as consultant on additional grants awarded from federal, state and foundation sources. Over her career, she has published more than 100 articles in peer-reviewed journals, many of which are co-published with former students. Dr. VanHaitsma’s areas of research include: development and testing of various mental health education and intervention approaches; innovative methodological and measurement development; and testing intervention and implementation strategies that facilitate the uptake of evidence-based, person-centered preference-informed care practices targeting older adults with multiple chronic care conditions. For a summary of work specific to preference based living activities, see

Nursing Home Toolkit



Research & Publications


Research Interests:

Current Research Funding:

Honors and Awards:


Research & Publications


Research Interests:



PhD, Nursing (Focus: Aging), University of Iowa

MSN, Adult and Gerontology Nurse Practitioner Program, University of Iowa

BSN, Nursing, National Taipei University of Nursing and Health Sciences, Taipei, Taiwan


Funded Projects: 


Honors and Awards

Dates Honor, Organization
2022–2023 Faculty Scholar, NIA IMPACT Collaboratory.
2022 Fellow, Gerontological Society of America (FGSA).
2021 Alzheimer’s Association Interdisciplinary Summer Research Institute.
2019 Distinguished Educator in Gerontological Nursing Award, National Hartford Center for Geriatric Nursing Excellence (NHCGNE).
2018–2020 Selected Faculty for the Distinguished Honors Faculty Program, Pennsylvania State University.
2015 Developing Behavioral Interventions Scholarship, Johns Hopkins Summer Research Institute.
2013 Myrtle Aydelotte Doctoral Education Fund in Nursing Award, University of Iowa
2013 Graduate College Summer Fellowship, University of Iowa
2013 Hartford Center for Geriatric Nursing Excellence Travel Award, University of Iowa
2013 Etta Rasmussen Professional Development Award, University of Iowa
2012 International Programs Graduate Student Travel Award, University of Iowa
2010–2011 Interdisciplinary Fellowship of Aging, Center on Aging, University of Iowa
2008 Inducted Member of the Sigma Theta Tau International (STTI), Gamma Chapter, University of Iowa.


Selected Publications

Liao, Y-J, K., Jao, Y.-L., Berish,  D.,  Hin, A.S., Wangi, K., Kitko, L., Mogle, J., & Boltz, M. (2023). A Systematic Review of Barriers and Facilitators of Pain Management in Persons with Dementia. The Journal of Pain. DOI: 10.1016/j.jpain.2022.12.014

Jao, Y.-L., Wang, J., Liao, Y.-J., Parajuli, J., Berish, D. E., McNally, L., Boltz, M., Van Haitsma, K., Wang, N., & Calkins, M. (2022). Effect of Ambient Bright Light on Behavioral and Psychological Symptoms in People with Dementia: A Systematic Review. Innovation in Aging.

Feng, Y., Liu, S., Wang, J., Yang, J., &  Jao, Y.-L. (2022). Data-driven personal thermal comfort prediction: A literature review. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 16,

Scott, T., Jao, Y.-L., Tulloch, K., Yates, E., & Pachana, N. A. (2022). Systematic Review of Horticulture Therapy Interventions and People Living with Dementia. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 10.1093/geroni/igab046.2437

Anju Paudel, Jacqueline Ann Mogle, Ashley Kuzmik, Barbara Resnick, Rhonda BeLue,  Elizabeth Galik, Wen Liu, Liza L. Behrens, Y.-L. Jao, & Marie Boltz. (2022) Gender Differences in Interactions and Depressive Symptoms Among Hospitalized Older Patients Living with Dementia. Journal of Women & Aging DOI: 10.1080/08952841.2022.2146972

Anderson, J. G. & Jao, Y.-L. (2022). The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Family-Focused Care of People with Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias. Journal of Family Nursing (3), 179-182.

Yuan, F., Boltz, M., Jao, Y.-L., Casenhise, A., Siddiq, A., Bray, R., Duzan, J., Crane, M., & Zhao, X. (2022). Assessment of a Humanoid Partner for Older Adults and Persons with Dementia during Home-based Activities. ICSR 2022 – 14th International Conference on Social Robotics. 

Jao, Y.-L., Liu, W., Habib, C. Habib, Jyotsana, P., Holmes, S., & Galik, E. (2021). Function-focused person-environment fit for long-term care residents with dementia: Impact on apathy. Gerontologist. doi: 10.1093/geront/gnaa111

Liao, Y.-J. Parajuli, J., Jao, Y.-L., Kitko, L., & Berish, D. (2021). Non-pharmacological Interventions for Pain in People with Dementia: A Systematic Review Systematic Review on Pain in Dementia. International Journal of Nursing Studies.

Woods, D., Yuan, F., Jao, Y.-L., & Zhao, X. (2021). Social Robots for Older Adults with Dementia: A Narrative Review on Challenges and Future Directions. Social Robotics, 411–420. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-90525-5_35

Parajuli, J., Berish, D. E., Jao, Y.-L., Liao, Y.-J., Johnson, L. A., & Walsh, A. (2021). Prevalence and Health Outcomes in Individuals with Comorbid Cancer and Dementia: Longitudinal Analysis. Aging and Health, DOI: 10.1080/13607863.2021.2003298

Parajuli, J., Berish, D, & Valenti, K. G., Jao, Y.-L. (2020). Prevalence and predictors of depressive symptoms in older adults with cancer. Aging and Mental Health.

Parajuli, J., Aluem, T., Jao, Y-L., Hupcey, J. (2020). Barriers to Palliative and Hospice Care Utilization in Older Adults with Cancer: A Systematic Review. Journal of Geriatric Oncology,11 (1), 8-16.

Resnick, B., Kolanowski, A., Van Haitsma, K., Galik, E., Boltz, M., Zhu, S., Ellis, J., Behrens L., Eshragi, K., Viviano, N., & Jao, Y-L. (2020).  Reliability and Validity Testing of the Assessment of the Environment for Person-Centered Management of BPSD and Assessment of Policies for Person-Centered Management of BPSD Measures.  Journal of Housing for the Elderly.

Liu, W., Jao, Y.-L., & Williams, K. (2019). Factors Influencing the Pace of Food Intake for Nursing Home Residents with Dementia: Resident Characteristics, Staff Assistance and Environmental Stimulation. Nursing Open.6 (3), 772-782.

Jao, Y.-L., Liu, W., & Williams, K., Chaudhury, H., & Parajuli, J. (2019). Association between environmental stimulation and apathy in nursing home residents with dementia, International Psychogeriatrics, 31 (8), 1109-1120. doi:10.1017/S1041610219000589.

Parajuli, J., Berish, D, & Jao, Y-L. (2019). Chronic Conditions and Depressive Symptoms in Older Adults: The Mediating Role of Functional Limitations, Aging and Mental Health.

Jao, Y.-L., Mogle, J., Williams, K., McDermott, C., & Behrens, L. (2018). Real-time observation of apathy in long-term care residents with dementia: Reliability of the Person-Environment Apathy Rating Scale. Journal of Gerontological Nursing, 4 (44), 23-28. doi:10.3928/00989134-20180131-02

Williams, K., & Jao, -L. (2018). Supporting elders with cognitive changes and caregivers across community and long-term care settings. In M. Rizzo, & S. Anderson (Eds.). The Wiley Handbook of the Aging Mind and Brain. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell.

Jao, Y.-L., Epps, F., McDermott, C., Rose, K., & Specht J. (2017). Effects of support groups for individuals with early-stage dementia and mild cognitive impairment: An integrative review. Research in Gerontological Nursing, 10 (1), 35-51.

Williams, K., Perkhounkova, Y., Jao, Y.-L., Bossen, A., Chung, S. J., Starykowicz, A., & Turk, M. (2017). Person-centered communication for nursing home residents with dementia: Four communication analysis methods. Western Journal of Nursing Research. doi:1177/0193945917697226

Jao, Y.-L., Loken, E., MacAndrew, M., Van Haitsma, K., & Kolanowski, A. (2017). Association between social interaction and affect in nursing home residents with dementia. Aging and Mental Health. doi: 1080/13607863.2017.1304526

Liu, W., Jao, Y.-L., & Williams, K. (2017). The association of eating performance and environmental stimulation among older adults with dementia in nursing homes: A secondary analysis. International Journal of Nursing Studies, 71, 70-79.

Kolanowski, A., Boltz, M., Galik, E., Gitlin, L., Kales, H., Resnick, B., VanHaitsma, K., Knehans, A., Sutterlin, J. E., Sefcik, J. S., Liu, W., Petrovsky, D. V., Massimo, L., Gilmore-Bykovskyi, A., MacAndrew, M., Brewster, G., Nalls, V., Jao, Y.-L., Duffort, N., & Scerpella, D. (2017). Determinants of behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia: A scoping review of the evidence. Nursing Outlook.

Williams, K., Shaw, C., Lee, A., Dinneen, E., Kim, S., Turk, M., Jao, Y.-L., & Liu, W. (2017). Voicing ageism in nursing home dementia care. Journal of Gerontological Nursing, 43(9), 16-20. doi: 10.3928/00989134-20170523-02

Jao, Y.-L., Williams, K. M., Mogle, J., Behrens, L., & McDermott, C. (2017). Assessing apathy in long-term care residents with dementia: Who should be the rater? Dementia: The International Journal of Social Research and Practice. doi: 10.1177/1471301217745104

Jao, Y.-L., Algase, D., Specht, J., & Williams, K. (2015). The association between characteristics of care environments and apathy in residents with dementia in long-term care facilities. The Gerontologist, 55 (Suppl 1), S27-S39. doi: 10.1093/geront/gnu166

Jao, Y.-L., Algase, D., Specht, J., & Williams, K. (2016). Developing the Person-Environment Apathy Rating for persons with dementia. Aging and Mental Health, 20 (8), 861-870. doi:1080/13607863.2015.1043618

Jao, Y.-L., Gardner, S., & Carr, L. (2016). Measuring weight-bearing activities in patients with previous diabetic foot ulcers. Journal of Wound Ostomy and Continence Nursing, 44 (1), 34-40.

Burgener, S., Jao, Y.-L., Anderson, J. G., & Bossen, A. (2015). Mechanism of action for non-pharmacological therapies for persons with dementia: Implications for practice and research. Research in Gerontological Nursing, 8 (5), 240-259. doi: 10.3928/19404921-20150429-02.

Gardner, S., Haleem, A., Jao, -L., Hillis, S., Femino, J., Phisitkul, P., Heilmann, K. P., Lehman, S. M., & Franciscus, C. L. (2014). Cultures of diabetic foot ulcers are not predictive of outcomes. Diabetes Care, 7(10), 2693-2701.




Research & Publications

Research Interests

For more information about our projects, please visit


Honors and Awards


Research & Publications

Research Interests


Research & Publications

Education: Columbia University, Ed.D., Nursing Education; Ed.M., Nursing Education; M.S., Adult Nurse Practitioner; B.S., Nursing; The Pennsylvania State University, National Research Service Award Post-Doctoral Fellowship

Research Interests: Palliative and end-of-life care, family caregivers, heart failure, age-friendly health care, qualitative research



Research & Publications

Professional Interests

Age-Friendly Care/Community
Caregiver Skills Training
Dementia-Friendly Care/Community
Geriatric Workforce Enhancement
Interdisciplinary Person-Centered Care
Leadership & Nursing Management
Practice & Regulatory Standards
Strategic Planning & Implementation


Masters in Educational Leadership, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT
Bachelors of Science in Nursing, Hartwick College, Oneonta, NY

Honors and Awards

Sigma Theta Tau International, Kappa Tau Chapter
Vermont Outstanding Teacher, A.C.S.U.


Research & Publications


Research & Publications


Research Interests



Nese College of Nursing named a National League for Nursing Center of Excellence