Sandra B. Dunbar PhD, RN, FAAN, FAHA, FPCNA

The Charles Howard Candler Professor of Cardiovascular Nursing

Professor

Associate Dean for Academic Advancement

Areas of Expertise

Adult Health

  • Clinical: Adult Health; Cardiovascular
  • Research: Complex Self-management; Family-focused Care; Caregiver Health; Adherence; Quality of Life; Biobehavioral Interactions; Behavioral Intervention Design and Testing; Family Caregivers of Chronically Ill Patients
  • Teaching: Care of Persons with Chronic Conditions; Mentoring; Nursing Theory and Research

Phone: 404.727.6939

Email: sbdunba@emory.edu

Additional Contact Information

Mailing Address:

Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing

Emory University

1520 Clifton Road, NE

Atlanta, GA 30322-4027

Room: 402B

Biography

Sandra Dunbar has been a member of the faculty in the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing since 1988. She is a cardiovascular nurse researcher and educator whose program of research focuses on psychosocial responses to serious cardiac illness, such as heart failure (HF) and ventricular arrhythmia and treatment with implantable technology. Studies of patient and family responses have led to the development and testing of interventions to improve both physical and psychosocial outcomes. Dunbar's current work is focused on interventions for HF patients who also have diabetes and interventions to improve integrated self care in comorbid conditions. She is also the principal investigator of an NIH funded study focused on caregiver stress for those assisting family members who have heart failure.  She has tested a family focused intervention to improve outcomes for patients with chronic heart failure and conducted a clinical trial of a psychoeducational intervention to improve outcomes (depression, anxiety, functional status) of high risk arrhythmia patients treated with an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD).

Dunbar has led interdisciplinary teams in studies funded by NIH NINR, the American Heart Association, and NHLBI. Dunbar is also an active volunteer and former chair of the American Heart Association's Council of Cardiovascular and Stroke Nursing, and she has served as President of the American Association of Critical Care Nurses and chair of the Nursing Committee of the Heart Failure Society of America. She is a member of the editorial board of several major nursing journals including Heart and Lung, and Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Nurses and the American Heart Association, and has received the prestigious Katherine A. Lembright award from the American Heart Association for her contributions to cardiovascular nursing research. She received the 2003 Georgia Nurse Researcher Award, was named the 2005 Distinguished Research Lecturer by the American Association of Critical Care Nurses, and recently named as one of the top 10 cardiovascular nursing scientists of the American Heart Association. Dunbar was named the 2010 Distinguished Nurse Researcher by the Southern Nurses Research Society and was inducted into the Sigma Theta Tau International Nurse Researcher Hall of Fame in 2013.

At Emory University, Dunbar has been a fellow in the Woodruff Leadership Academy for the 2006 year, and she has served on the President's Advisory Committee, the Atlanta Clinical and Translational Science Initiative, and the Predictive Health Initiative Development group, and is member of the Emory Women’s’ Heart Health Center. She received the One in One Hundred Mentor award from the Emory School of Medicine postdoctoral training program. She has served the School of Nursing as Department Chair of Adult and Elder Health, Director of Graduate Studies and Coordinator of the PhD in Nursing Program, and Co-Director of the Center for the Study of Symptoms, Symptom Interactions and Health Outcomes. She leads the T32 Training Program focused on Improving Outcomes in Chronic Conditions.

Research

Dr. Sandra Dunbar is a cardiovascular nurse researcher and educator whose program of research focuses on psychosocial responses to serious cardiac illness, such as heart failure (HF) and ventricular arrhythmia and treatment with implantable technology. Her early studies of patient and family responses to cardiovascular illness and its treatment have led to the development and testing of interventions to improve both physical and psychosocial outcomes. Dunbar's current work is focused on interventions for HF patients who also have diabetes.  She is developing and testing interventions to improve integrated self-care in persons with multiple comorbid conditions and examining psychological, physical, functional and cost outcomes. She is also the principal investigator of an NIH funded study focused on reducing caregiver stress and improving health outcomes for those assisting family members who have heart failure.  She has tested a family focused intervention to improve dietary outcomes for patients with chronic heart failure and conducted a clinical trial of a psychoeducational intervention to improve outcomes (depression, anxiety, functional status) of high risk arrhythmia patients treated with an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD). Dr. Dunbar’s studies have been funded by the AHA, NIH (NINR and NHLBI) and industry.

Publications

  • Dunbar SB, Clark PC, Reilly CM, Gary RA, Smith A, McCarty F, Higgins M, Grossniklaus D, Kaslow N, Frediani J, Dashiff C, Ryan R, A Trial of Family Partnership and Education Interventions in Heart Failure, Journal of Cardiac Failure, 2013 Dec;19(12):829-41 Epub 2013 Oct 29. PMID: 24331203.

  • Dunbar SB, Butts B, Reilly CM, Gary RA, Higgins MK, Ferranti, EP, Culler S, Butler J. (2014). A Pilot Test of an Integrated Self-Care Intervention for Persons with Heart Failure and Concomitant Diabetes. Nursing Outlook, 62:97-111. PMID: 24211112 (epub Nov 2013).

  • Reilly CM, Higgins M, Smith A, Culler SD, Dunbar SB Isolating the benefits of fluid restriction in patients with heart failure: A pilot study. Eur J Cardiovasc Nurs. 2014 Jul 2. pii: 1474515114541729. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 24990176 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher].

  • Cha E, Kim KH, Umpierrez G, Dawkins CR, Bello MK, Lerner HM, Narayan KM, Dunbar SB A Feasibility Study to Develop a Diabetes Prevention Program for Young Adults With Prediabetes by Using Digital Platforms and a Handheld Device Diabetes Educ. 2014 Jun 20. pii: 0145721714539736. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 24950683