Wayne State University

Karen Kavanaugh, Ph.D., RN, FAAN

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Office Address

300 Cohn

Office Hours

 By appointment. 


  • B.S.N. - University of Illinois Medical Center, Chicago IL
  • M.S.N. - Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing, Loyola University of Chicago, Chicago IL
  • Ph.D. Nursing - University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago IL

Research Interests

  • Palliative and end-of-life care for newborns and families

Clinical Area(s) of Expertise

  • Neonatal nursing

Selected Publications


Limbo, R., Kavanaugh, K., & Kobler, K. (in press). Honoring relationships and hope, In K. Kobler, (Ed.).  Conversations in perinatal, neonatal & pediatric palliative care. Hospice and Palliative Nurses’ Association.

Kavanaugh, K., & Griffin, T. (in press). Caregiving for extremely premature infants. In K. Pridham, R. Limbo, & M. Schroeder (Eds.), Guided participation in pediatric nursing practice: Relationship-based teaching and learning with parents, children, and adolescents. New York: Springer.

Boss, R., Kavanaugh, K., & Kobler, K. (2011). Perinatal and neonatal palliative care (pp. 387-401). In J. Wolfe, P. Hinds, & B. Sourkes (Eds.). Interdisciplinary textbook of pediatric palliative care, first edition. Philadelphia: Elsevier.

Journal articles 2010-2017 (*student or post doctoral fellow)

Timraz, S.M.*, Albdour, M.M.*, Alhasanat, D.I.*, Giurgescu, C., Lewin, L., & Kavanaugh, K. (2017). Challenges and strategies for conducting sensitive research with an Arab American population. Applied Nursing Research, 33, 1-4..

Albdour, M.* , Lewin, L., Kavanaugh, K., Hong, J., & Wilson, F. (in press). Arab-American adolescents’ perceived stress and bullying experience: A qualitative study. Western Journal of Nursing Research.  

Limbo, R., Brandon, D., Côté-Arsenault, D., Kavanaugh, K., Kuebelbeck, A, & Wool, C., (2017). Perinatal palliative care as an essential element of childbearing choices.  Nursing Outlook, 65, 123-125.

Denney-Koelsch, E., Wool, C, Cote-Arsenault, Black, B., Kim, S*., & Kavanaugh, K.. (2016). Coordination of family-centered care by perinatal palliative care programs: Components and outcomes from a multicenter survey. Journal of Palliative Medicine, August 25 epub ahead of print.

Wool, C., Côté-Arsenault, D., Black, B., Denney-Koelsch, E., Kim*, S., & Kavanaugh, K. (2016). Provision of services in perinatal palliative care: A multicenter survey in the United States.  Journal of Palliative Medicine, 19, 279-285.

Giurgescu, C., Zenk, S.N., Engeland, C.G., Dancy, B.L., Park, C., Kavanaugh, K., Dieber, W., Misra, D. (2015). The impact of neighborhood environment, social support and avoidance coping on depressive symptoms of pregnant African American women. Women's Health Issues, 25, 294-302. 

Meert. K., Eggly, S., Kavanaugh, K., Berg, R. A., Wessel, D.L. Newth, J.L., Shanley, T. P., Harrison, R., Dalton, H., Dean, J. M., Doctor, A., Jenkins, T., & Park, C. (2015).  "Meaning making during parent-physician bereavement meetings after a child’s death." Health Psychology34, 453-61.

Kavanaugh, K., Roscigno*, C.I., Swanson, K.M., Savage, T.A., Kimura, R.E., & Kilpatrick, S.J. (2015). "Perinatal palliative care: Parent perceptions of caring in interactions surrounding counseling for risk of delivering an extremely premature." Palliative and Supportive Care, 13, 145-155. 

Savage, T.A., Moro, T.T.*, Boyden, J.*, Brown, A.A., & Kavanaugh, K. (2015). Implementation challenges in end-of-life research with adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Applied Nursing Research, 28, 202-205.

Kavanaugh, K., Nantais-Smith, L. M., Savage, T. A., Schim, S. M., & Natarajan, G. (2014). "The role of extended family in supporting parents faced with life support decisions for extremely premature infants." Neonatal Network: The Journal of Neonatal Nursing, 33, 255-262.

Brandt, J.*, Obrecht, J., & Kavanaugh, K. (2015). Interactions between parents of technology dependent children and healthcare providers: An integrative review. Healthcare Nurse, 33, 155-166.

Kavanaugh, K., & Campbell, M.L. (2014). Conducting end-of-life research: Strategies for success. Nursing Science Quarterly, 21, 14-19.

Boyden*, J.Y, Kavanaugh, K., Issel, L. M., Eldeirawi, K., & Meert, K.L (2014). "Experiences of African American parents following perinatal or pediatric death: A literature review." Death Studies, 38, 374-80.

Friedrichs, J., Kobler, K., Roose, R. E., Meyer, C., Schmitz, N., & Kavanaugh, K. (2014). "Combining Regional Expertise to Form a Bereavement Support Alliance." MCN: The American Journal of Maternal-Child Nursing, 39, 198-204.

Giurgescu, C., Kavanaugh, K., Norr, K., Dancy, B., Twigg, N.*, McFarlin, B., Engeland, C.G., Hennessy, M.D., & White-Traut, R. (2013). Stressors, resources, and stress responses in pregnany African American women: A mixed methods pilot study. Journal of Perinatal and Neonatal Nursing, 27, 81-96.

Giurgescu, C., Engeland, C.G., Zenk, S.N., & Kavanaugh, K. (2013). Stress, inflammation and pretermn birth in African American women. Newborn and Infant Nursing Reviews, 13, 171-177.

Roscigno*, C.I., Savage, T.A., Kavanaugh, K., Moro, T.T., Kilpatrick. S.J., Grobman, W.J., Strassner, H.T., & Kimura, R. (2012). "Divergent views of hope influencing communications between parents and hospital providers." Qualitative Health Research, 22, 1232-1246.

Fischer, D. J., Burgener, S. C., Kavanaugh, K., Ryan, C, & Keenan, G. (2012). Conducting research with end-of-life populations: Overcoming recruitment challenges when working with clinical agencies. Applied Nursing Research, 25, 258-263.

Hershberger, P.E., Gallo, A.M., Kavanaugh, K., Olshansky, E., Schwartz, A., & Tur-Kaspa, I. (2012). The decision-making process of genetically at-risk couples considering preimplantation genetic diagnosis: Initial findingss from a grounded theory study. Social Sciencee & Medicine, 74, 1536-1543.

Keenan, G., Kavanaugh, K., Wilkie, D., Bonner, G., Ryan, C., Fischer, D., Savage, T., Choi, H., Burgener, S.C., Foreman, M.D., & Yan, H. (2011). "Model of the first NIH funded center of excellence in end-of-life research." The Journal of Hospice and Palliative Nursing, 13, 54-60

Moro*, T., Kavanaugh, K., Savage, T., Reyes*, M., Kimura, R., & Bhat, R. (2011). "Parent decision making for life support decisions for extremely premature infants: From the prenatal through end-of-life period." Journal of Perinatal and Neonatal Nursing, 25, 52-60. PMID 21311270

Kavanaugh, K., Moro*, T.,& Savage. T. (2010). "How nurses assist parents during decision making regarding life support decisions for extremely premature infants." Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, and Neonatal Nursing, 39, 147-158. PMCID: PMC2859457

Carr*, C.W., Kavanaugh, K., & Klima, C. (2010). "Perinatal grief in Latino parents." MCN: The American Journal of Maternal-Child Nursing, 35, 341-345. .

Grobman, W. A., Kavanaugh, K., Moro*, T,. Regnier, R., & Savage, T. (2010). "Providing advice to parents for women at acutely high risk of periviable delivery." Obstetrics and Gynecology, 115, 904-909.

Current Research

Edmonds, B. (PI). Kavanaugh , K. (Co-I).Exploring attitudes, perceptions, and coping from the perspective of families at risk of extremely preterm delivery. NIH.NICHD; R21 HD089032-01l 2016-2018.

Kavanaugh, K., (Co-PI); Cote-Arsenault, D. (Co-PI), Denney-Koelsch, E., & Wool, C. "Bereaved parent health outcomes related to components of perinatal palliative care: A pilot feasibility study."

Kavanaugh, K. (Co-I), Tucker, B. (PI). "Values clarification during antenatal counselling surrounding a periviable birth."

Giurgescu, C. (PI), Kavanaugh, K. (Co-I). "Stress, inflammation, and preterm birth: A mixed methods pilot study." Funded by CURES at Wayne State University.

Bell, C. (PI), Kavanaugh, K. (Co-I). "Evaluating feasibility of social media recruitment and online data collection in adolescents and young adults with cancer." Funded by a Wayne State University Research Grant.

Hershberger, P. (PI), Kavanaugh, K. (Co-I). "Disclosing Genetic Origins to Donor-egg conceived Children: Engaging Parents, Children, and Their Egg Donors." Funded by International Society of Nurses in Genetics.

Bell. C. (PI); Kavanaugh, K. (Co-I). "Measuring readiness to engage in discussions with adolescents and young adults living with advanced cancer." Funded by the Oncology Nursing Society.

Courses Taught

  • NUR 7105 Theoretical Foundations for Advanced Nursing Practice
  • NUR 8020 Theoretically-Based Nursing Inquiry
  • NUR 8060 Research Methods: Qualitative
  • NUR 8070 Advanced Qualitative Research Methods
  • NUR 4990/7990 Facilitating Conversations around End-of-Life Care