Telisa Spikes

Telisa Spikes

Assistant Professor


Dr. Telisa Spikes is a Tenure-track Assistant Professor in the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing at Emory University. Dr. Spikes’ research interest focuses on the chronic stressors derived from the social environment and the impact of their embodiment related to accelerated biological aging and cardiovascular disease risk in early midlife adult African American women ages 30-44 years old, a group that has seen a dramatic increase in cardiovascular disease (CVD) morbidity and stagnating declines in CVD mortality.

She has publications related to psychosocial stressors, hypertension medication adherence, and blood pressure reactivity in Black women as well as socioeconomic status and arterial stiffness in Black adults using community-based cohorts and a large epidemiological cohort, Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study published in high-impact clinical journals. She has been most recently awarded a K23 early career training grant from the National Institutes of Nursing Research (NINR).

Dr. Spikes has been invited to present her work to national audiences for notable organizations such as the American Heart Association (AHA), American Heart Association Epidemiology Lifestyle Sessions, Sigma Theta Tau International, and the Southern Nursing Research Society (SNRS).

After completing her PhD at the Emory University Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, Dr. Spikes completed a2-year postdoctoral fellowship focused on research methodologies to eliminate cardiovascular health inequalities in vulnerable populations at the Rollins School of Public Health in the division of cardiovascular/social epidemiology at Emory University.

Dr. Spikes earned her Masters degree in nursing at Kennesaw State University, and a bachelor's degree in nursing from Georgia Baptist College of Nursing at Mercer University.

Areas of Expertise

Cardiovascular Health
Health Disparities
Vulnerable Populations
Women's Health


Dr. Spikes has taught in the undergraduate and doctoral nursing program. Dr. Spikes's teaching philosophy 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. I am inspired by the delivery of scholarly evidence as well as my research that expands the breadth of how students think which informs various approaches to problem solve complex matters in vulnerable, yet understudied populations.


As a clinican scientist, my research agenda is focused on the biobehavioral interactions of socially and environmental derived stressors, psychosocial resources, and their impact on accelerated aging and the development of subclinical cardiovascular disease in young adult and early middle age African American women. My research seeks to identify novel methods for the identification and risk-stratification of women that may be especially vulnerable to the adverse effects of chronic stress with the purpose of developing and testing culturally tailored interventions that may mitigate the risk of CVD risk and morbidity. 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.


2023 NIH/NINR K23 Award

2019-2021 T32 NIH NHLBI Postdoctoral research fellow Multidisciplinary  Research Training to Reduce Inequalities in Cardiovascular Health