Telisa Spikes

Telisa Spikes

Assistant Professor, tenure track | PhD, RN


Dr. Telisa Spikes is an Assistant Professor, tenure track, in the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School  of Nursing. Dr. Spikes overall research interests focuses on the  relationships among adverse social stressors, inflammation, and  cardiovascular disease risk, specifically subclinical disease and  hypertension, in young adult African American women, a group that has seen a  dramatic increase in cardiovascular disease morbidity and mortality.  Additionally, she is interested in the stress buffering of role of resilience  effect on mitigating cardiovascular risk.
Prior to obtaining her PhD, Dr. Spikes' clinical expertise focused on adult  health in the acute care specialty of cardiovascular critical care and  leadership of a 44-bed post open heart/advanced heart failure unit. She  received her BSN in nursing from Georgia Baptist College of Nursing at Mercer  University in 2003, MSN in advanced care management and health policy from  Kennesaw State University in 2009 and PhD from Emory University Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing in 2019.

Areas of Expertise

Cardiovascular Risk
Health Disparities
Health Equity
Social Determinants Of Health
Race Related Stressors
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Abel, W., Spikes,  T., Greer, D. (2021) Hypertension Stigma Among Black Women. Journal of  Cardiovascular Nursing, 36(2): 96-103.
Spikes, T., Higgins, M., Lewis, T., & Dunbar, S. (2020) The Effect of  Contextualized Racial and Gendered Stressors, Social Support, and Depression  on Hypertension Illness Perceptions and Hypertension Medication Adherence in  Young Hypertensive African American Women. Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing,  35(6):576-587.
Spikes, T., Higgins, M., Lewis, T., & Dunbar, S. (2019) The associations  among illness perceptions, resilient coping, and medication adherence in  young adult hypertensive black women. Journal of Clinical Hypertension  (Greenwich), 21(11): 1695-1704. (PMID: 31556484)
Spikes, T., Higgins, M., Quyyumi, A., Reilly, C., Pemu, P., & Dunbar, S.  (2018) The Relationship Among Health Beliefs, Depressive Symptoms, and Social  support in African Americans with Hypertension. Journal of Cardiovascular  Nursing, 34(1):44-51 (PMCID: 30273259)


Dr. Spikes has taught undergraduate nursing students and seeks to promote the complementary missions of educating nurse leaders and scholars, generating and applying new knowledge,and transforming overall health of the populations we serve.


As a nurse scientist, my research agenda is focused on the biobehavioral interactions of social and environmental determinants of subclinical cardiovascular disease and the development and empiric testing of culturally tailored interventions that may decrease and prevent CVD burden in young adult and early middle age African American women. Long-term, she aims to develop, test, and implement intervention studies to improve CVD risk by promoting behavioral change and translate findings to practice and evaluation.


2020 NIH Loan  repayment funded for 2020-2022
2019 Sigma Theta Tau Rising Star of Research and Scholarship
2014 Graduate Nursing Student Academy Health Policy Scholar
2016 Selected as a 2016 CDC Millennial Health Summit Scholar
2019-2021 T32 NIH NHLBI Postdoctoral research fellow Multidisciplinary  Research Training to Reduce Inequalities in Cardiovascular Health
2018-2019 F31 NR017348-01A1 NINR Predoctoral Training Grant
2018 Dr. Dorothy Coverson Dissertation grant
2018 Sigma Theta Tau Dissertation grant
2016-2017 T32 Predoctoral Training Grant for Chronic Conditions