2021 Summer GAPNA Newsletter Volume 40 Number 2

Spotlight on Pamela Cacchione and Valerie Flattes

By Anne Bradley Mitchell PhD, ANP-BC, FGSA

Pamela Cacchione Makes Waves in Healthcare Innovation

Pamela Cacchione, PhD, CRNP, BC, FGSA, FAAN, has designed numerous research projects in her role as a clinical researcher and educator at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing and Penn Presbyterian Medical Center. Dr. Cacchione teamed up with the chaplain from a Program of All-inclusive Care (PACE) to interview frail African American older adults about their end of life (EOL) preferences.

The key finding was that older adults really want to have EOL conversations, yet family members were reluctant to engage. This led to a qualitative descriptive study funded by GAPNA interviewing 15 family caregivers to identify facilitators and barriers to EOL conversations with African American older adults.

Following qualitative content analysis, important barrier themes were identified: I’m not comfortable and We just don’t talk about it. The themes for facilitators included: Another person took the initiative and Previous experience with death.

The study supported clinicians approaching the subject of EOL preferences with African American older adults and their families. Having the African American older adult share a previous experience with the death of a loved one facilitates discussing their own EOL preferences.

Dr. Cacchione’s podium presentation was awarded first place at GAPNA’s 2020 Annual Conference.

Dr. Cacchione is currently engaged with University of Pennsylvania engineers to develop innovative heart failure monitoring socks that would measure swelling, activity, and possibly weight for people with heart failure. This innovation was featured in Johnson & Johnson’s 5 Nurses Making Waves in Healthcare Innovation.

Other collaborative engineering projects include the development of soft robotic technology for portable seat lifts for patients and robotic inventions to assist older adults for medication adherence. As a clinician for over 3 decades, Dr. Cacchione has observed barriers for older adults monitoring their health and creates innovative solutions. 

Valerie Flattes Receives Resource and Community Service Awards

Longtime GAPNA member and former Research SIG chair, Valerie Flattes, PhD, APRN, MS, ANP-BC, was the recipient of the Madam C.J. Walker Resource Award, which recognizes Dr. Flattes for strengthening community engaged learning experiences and opportunities tied to civic engagement and fostering strong University of Utah-community partnerships.

Dr. Flattes has a lengthy record of service over her 2 decades at the University of Utah, and most recently was elected to serve on the Council on Diversity Affairs focused on two subcommittees: criminal justice and health initiatives.

Dr. Flattes also serves on multiple health equity committees in the community. In November 2020 she was honored with the State Award for Community Service by the Utah Nurse Practitioners.

GAPNA is thrilled to recognize Dr. Flattes for her accolades.

Anne Bradley Mitchell, PhD, ANP-BC, FGSA