Dr. Glenna Brewster, an Assistant Professor on the tenure track at the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, Emory University, leads a robust research program with a dual focus. Firstly, she is committed to understanding sleep disturbances among persons living with cognitive impairment and dementia, along with their care partners. Her work involves tailoring and developing dyadic behavioral interventions to address the unique sleep challenges faced by this population. Secondly, Dr. Brewster actively participates in tailoring and creating psychoeducational interventions to support caregivers of persons living with dementia in the Caribbean.

Currently, Dr. Brewster is a recipient of funding from the National Institute on Aging. Beyond this, she has successfully secured funding from the Alzheimer’s Association, National Hartford Center of Gerontological Nursing Excellence, the National Institute of Nursing Research, and the Emory Global Health Institute. Dr. Brewster holds key leadership roles on the Board of Directors for the National Hartford Center of Gerontological Nursing Excellence and the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia Association.

Dr. Brewster's educational background includes an Associate’s of Arts and an Associate’s of Science in Nursing from Broward College. She further holds a Bachelor’s and a Master’s of Science in Nursing, a Master’s of Arts in Gerontology, and a Ph.D. in Nursing Science, all earned from the University of South Florida. To augment her knowledge and skills, Dr. Brewster completed a postdoctoral fellowship with the Center for Sleep and Circadian Neurobiology at the University of Pennsylvania, School of Medicine.

Areas of Expertise

Caregiver Well Being
Gerontology And Elder Health
Global Health
Health Disparities
Neurocognitive Disease


1. Lyons, K. S., Russell, L. T., Bonds Johnson, K., Brewster, G. S., Carter, J. H., & Miller, L. M. (2023). Evaluating the Dyadic Benefits of Early-Phase Behavioral Interventions: An Exemplar Using Data from Couples Living with Parkinson's Disease. The Gerontologist, gnad172. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1093/geront/gnad172

2. Brewster, G. S., Higgins, M., McPhillips, M. V., Bonds Johnson, K., Epps, F., Yeager, K. A., Bliwise, D. L., & Hepburn, K. (2023). The Effect of Tele-Savvy on Sleep Quality and Insomnia in Caregivers of Persons Living with Dementia. Clinical interventions in aging, 18, 2117–2127. https://doi.org/10.2147/CIA.S425741

3. Clevenger, C.K., Schlenger, A., Gunter, D., Glasgow, G.B. (2023). Practical Recommendations for Cognitive Assessment in Primary Care. The Nurse Practitioner Journal http://doi.org/10.1097/01.NPR.0000000000000067

4. Brewster, G. S., Pierpaoli Parker, C., Epps, F., Bonds Johnson, K., & Yeager, K. A. (2023). Sleep Profiles of Caregivers for Persons Living with Dementia: A Qualitative Study. Western journal of nursing research, 45(8), 688–695. https://doi.org/10.1177/01939459231175242

5. Brewster, G. S., Wang, D., McPhillips, M. V., Epps, F., & Yang, I. (2022). Correlates of Sleep Disturbance Experienced by Informal Caregivers of Persons Living with Dementia: A Systematic Review. Clinical Gerontologist, 1-28. https://doi.org/10.1080/07317115.2022.2139655

6. McPhillips, M. V., Petrovsky, D. V., Brewster, G. S., Li, J., Gooneratne, N. S., Hodgson, N. A., & Sefcik, J. S. (2022). Recruiting Persons with Dementia and Caregivers in a Clinical Trial: Dyads Perceptions. West J Nurs Res, 44(6), 557-566. https://doi.org/10.1177/01939459211008563

7. McPhillips, M. V., Li, J., Petrovsky, D. V., Brewster, G. S., Ward, E. J., 3rd, Hodgson, N., & Gooneratne, N. S. (2022). Assisted Relaxation Therapy for Insomnia in Older Adults with Mild Cognitive Impairment: A Pilot Study. Int J Aging Hum Dev, 914150221132163. https://doi.org/10.1177/00914150221132163

8. Im, E. O., Kim, H. J., Kim, S. Y., Yau, Y. C., Brewster, G. S., & Chee, W. (2022). Attitudes toward Alzheimer's disease and dementia caregiving and health outcomes: Racial and ethnic differences. Geriatr Nurs, 48, 289-295. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gerinurse.2022.10.018

9. Brewster, G. S., Riegel, B., & Gehrman, P. R. (2022). Insomnia in the Older Adult. Sleep medicine clinics, 17(2), 233-239. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsmc.2022.03.004

10. Gore, J. E., Brewster, G., Sainz, M., Ge, Y., Xie, J., James, T., & Epps, F. (2021). Using a multiple-case study design to explore the worship experiences of Black families affected by dementia. Clinical Gerontologist, 1–11. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1080/07317115.2021.2017378

11. Bonds Johnson, K., Brewster, G. S., Cicero, E., Hepburn, K., Clevenger, C. K., Daniel, G., Pak, V., Paul, S., & Epps, F. (2021). Promoting caregiver mastery in Black American dementia caregivers. The Gerontologist, gnab147. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1093/geront/gnab147

12. Brewster, G.S., Molinari, V., McCrae, C. Beckstead, J., D’Aoust, R., & Rowe, M. (2021). Cognitive function and sleep in caregivers of persons living with dementia. Western Journal of Nursing Research. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1177/01939459211041163

13. Hepburn, K., Nocera, J., Higgins, M., Epps, F., Brewster, G. S., Lindauer, A., Morhardt, D., Shah, R., Nash, R., & Griffiths, P. C. (2021). Results of a Randomized Trial Testing the Efficacy of Tele-Savvy, an Online Synchronous/Asynchronous Psychoeducation Program for Family Caregivers of Persons Living with Dementia. The Gerontologist. https://doi.org/10.1093/geront/gnab029

14. Epps, F., Brewster, G., Phillips, J. S., Nash, R., Shah, R. C., & Hepburn, K. (2021). Using a Warm Hand-Off Approach to Enroll African American Caregivers in a Multi-Site Clinical Trial: The Handshake Protocol. Journal of Applied Gerontology, 733464821992920. https://doi.org/10.1177/0733464821992920

15. Epps, F., Foster, K., Alexander, K., Brewster, G., Chester M., Thornton, J., & Aycock, D. (2021). Perceptions and attitudes toward dementia in predominantly African American congregants. Journal of Applied Gerontology, 40(11), 1511–1516. https://doi.org/10.1177/0733464820987350

16. Brewster, G.S., Bonds, K., McLennon, S., Moss, K.O., Epps, F. & Palan Lopez, R. (2020). Missing the Mark: The Complexity of African American Dementia Family Caregiving. Journal of Family Nursing, 26(4):294-301. doi:10.1177/1074840720945329

17. Epps, F., Alexander, K., Brewster, G., Parker, L., Chester, M., Tomlinson, A., Adkins, A., Zingg, S., Thornton, J. (2020). Promoting Dementia Awareness in African American Faith Communities. Public Health Nursing. doi.org/10.1111/phn.12759

18. Brewster, G. S., Epps, F., Dye, C. E., Hepburn, K., Higgins, M. K., & Parker, M. L. (2019). The Effect of the “Great Village” on Psychological Outcomes, Burden, and Mastery in African American Caregivers of Persons Living With Dementia. Journal of Applied Gerontology, 39(10), 1059–1068. https://doi.org/10.1177/0733464819874574

19. Epps, F., Brewster, G., Alexander, K., Choe, J., Heidbreder, V., & Hepburn, K. (2019). Dementia-Friendly faith village worship services to support African American Families: Research protocol. Research in Nursing and Health, 42(3):189-197. doi: 10.1002/nur.21940.

20. Gehrman, P., Gooneratne, N.S., Brewster, G.S., Richards, K. & Karlawish, J. (2018). Impact of Alzheimer disease patients’ sleep disturbances on their caregivers. Geriatric Nursing, 39(1), 60-65. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gerinurse.2017.06.003

21. Brewster, G. S., Varrasse, M., & Rowe, M. (2015). Sleep and cognition in community-dwelling older adults: A review of literature. Healthcare (Basel), 3(4), 1243-1270. doi: 10.3390/healthcare3041243

22. D'Aoust, R. F., Brewster, G., & Rowe, M. A. (2014). Depression in informal caregivers of persons with dementia. International Journal of Older People Nursing, 10(1), 14-26. doi:10.1111/opn.12043


My teaching philosophy revolves around empowering students to think critically, engage in meaningful research, and prepare for leadership roles in the nursing field. As an educator, I facilitate students’ critical evaluation of information, foster their analytical skills, and help them become astute consumers of knowledge. Further, I am passionate about involving my students in research endeavors. I believe that by actively engaging in research, they can learn the art of asking thought-provoking questions and developing innovative approaches to answer these questions; thus, my objective is to empower them to not only acquire knowledge but also to contribute to the body of knowledge in their field. Lastly, I see myself as a mentor to the next generations of nurse leaders. I am committed to guiding and nurturing their growth, helping them develop the skills, confidence, and leadership qualities required to excel in their future careers.


I am an Assistant Professor on the tenure track at the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, Emory University, and the founder of the Mind At Rest Research Lab. My research endeavors revolve around comprehensively addressing the complex issue of sleep disturbance among persons living with preclinical/early stages of dementia and their care partners. This dyadic approach involves tailoring and developing behavioral and psychoeducational interventions to specifically address the sleep challenges within this population. My research has received support from diverse funding sources, including the National Institute on Aging, the Alzheimer’s Association, and other institutions, totaling over $4 million in grant funding.

A pivotal study, funded by the Alzheimer’s Association, explored the feasibility and efficacy of a 4-week intervention for persons living with cognitive impairment and their caregivers. The study, initially conducted in-person and transitioned to a virtual format due to the COVID-19 pandemic, yielded promising results. Both caregivers and persons living with cognitive impairment reported a significant reduction in insomnia symptoms, persisting below baseline at the 3-month follow-up. I am currently leading the development of a tailored intervention integrating psychoeducational components into the cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBTI) framework. This project, funded by a K23 Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Career Development Award, aims to improve the sleep outcomes of persons living with preclinical/early stages of dementia and their caregivers.

Recognizing the lack of interventions for caregivers in the Caribbean, I have extended my research to tailor the Savvy Caregiver program for caregivers in the region. A recent pilot study in Jamaica aimed to test the intervention and seek caregivers’ insights, laying the foundation for future grant applications to enhance competence of Caribbean caregivers.

My contributions to the field have been recognized with accolades such as the Research in Health Disparities Award and the Rising Investigator Award. I have been part of programs like the National Institute on Aging’s Butler Williams Program and the Program to Increase Diversity in Behavioral Sleep Medicine research.

In conclusion, my research program addresses critical gaps in understanding and addressing sleep disturbances in vulnerable populations. With a commitment to innovation, collaboration, and the translation of research findings into practical interventions, I am dedicated to advancing knowledge and improving the lives of persons living with preclinical/early stages of dementia and their caregivers.


  • 2023 Research in Health Disparities Award Southern Nursing Research Society
  • 2022 Affiliate BRAINS (Broadening the Representation of
  • Academic Investigators in NeuroScience)
  • 2022 Rising Investigator Award Aging/Gerontology Research Interest Group
  • Southern Nursing Research Society
  • 2021 Fellow Georgia Clinical & Translational Science Alliance
  • Translational Education & Mentoring in Science
  • 2019 Fellow Program to Increase Diversity in Behavioral
  • Medicine & Sleep Disorders Research
  • 2018 Fellow Butler Williams Scholar Program, Bethesda, MD
  • 2017 Selected Participant American Academy of Sleep Medicine Young
  • Investigator Research Forum, Bethesda, MD
  • 2016 Douglas Holmes Emerging Scholar Gerontological Society of America Paper Award
  • 2015 Emerging Leader Graduate Nursing Student Academy

Media Coverage

"The real faces of careers in aging with Glenna Brewster.” Available online https://gsaonaging.podbean.com/e/the-real-faces-of-careers-in-aging-with-glenna-brewster?fbclid=IwAR0y4llQD5NVZy9inqxzNq6TtfdRcZnwQsXtZ_ztpjNcbOUWcSKKrNSOXsA

"With Knowledge Comes Strength” on Shifting Perspectives podcast. (Available online https://www.yolanderobinson.com/episode11.html

Local Doctor Offers Valuable Opportunity for Help and Intervention with Alzheimer’s Disease” (June, 2020). Available online https://alzga.blog/2020/06/07/local-doctor-offers-valuable-opportunity-for-help-and-intervention-with-alzheimers-disease/