Our SUPPORTED team includes nurses, psychologists, public health scientists, and students with a shared commitment to eliminating the barriers to equitable care faced by persons with disabilities. We are particularly interested in improving reproductive health outcomes for persons with disabilities.

Principal Investigator

Jeanne Alhusen, PhD, CRNP, RN, FAAN

The University of Virginia Medical Center Professor of Nursing
Associate Dean for Research

Jeanne Alhusen, PhD, CRNP, RN — associate dean for research, professor of nursing, and an award-winning scholar and mentor — researches ways to improve maternal mental health and, consequently, early childhood outcomes, particularly for families living in poverty. In 2021, she earned a $1.9M NICHD grant to study the experiences that women with disabilities have related to reproductive care, violence, and psychosocial stress — work that was informed by a two-year NIH-funded pilot study — and is PI on an HRSA grant examining infant outcomes in mothers experiencing perinatal intimate partner violence.

Dr. Alhusen earned her BSN from Villanova University, an MSN from Duke University, and a PhD from Johns Hopkins University. She completed a post-doctoral fellowship at Johns Hopkins School of Nursing and Medicine in 2013. As a board-certified advanced practice family nurse practitioner, she brings extensive professional nursing experience with a particular interest in the health disparities in maternal and child health.


Rosemary B. Hughes, PhD

Research Professor

Dr. Rosemary B. Hughes, Co-Investigator, is a Research Professor in the Department of Psychology and a Senior Research Scientist in the Rural Institute for Inclusive Communities at the University of Montana in Missoula. A licensed psychologist, Dr. Hughes holds a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from the University of Houston. She has clinical, teaching, and research experience in disability, health, and mental health. Dr. Hughes is a former Director of the Center for Research on Women with Disabilities at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, and she has served as principal investigator on research grants investigating health promotion, stress, depression, self-esteem, and interpersonal violence in the context of disability with an emphasis on women with disabilities. Dr. Hughes has directed or collaborated on 25 publications and six research studies addressing interpersonal violence in the context of disability. Her current collaborative research projects focus on pregnancy and women with disabilities, the psychological health of women with spinal cord injury, and loneliness among people with spinal cord injury. Dr. Hughes has published widely and presented nationally and internationally on issues related to the health and safety of people with disabilities.

Kathryn Laughon, PhD, RN, FAAN

Associate Professor of Nursing
Director of the PhD Program

Kathryn Laughon, PhD, RN, FAAN - who focuses her work on issues related to intimate partner violence and its impact on women and children - is a forensic nurse examiner and an associate professor. She earned her BSN and MSN at the University of Virginia and her PhD from Johns Hopkins.

Dr. Laughon conducts evidence collection and provides care to victims of sexual assault, teaches in the Department of Family, Community & Mental Health Systems, and is currently researching a novel dye that better highlights sexual assault injuries in women of color. She is also PI on a National Institute of Mental Health-funded study to test an intervention for guardians of children orphaned by intimate partner homicide.

She has previous research funding from the National Institute for Nursing Research, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Nurses Foundation, and the Sigma Theta Tau Beta Nu Chapter. The University of Virginia School of Nursing has honored her with a Faculty Publication Award, as Young Alumnae of the Year, the Shannon Award (for clinical and academic excellence), the Historical Nursing Research Award and an Alumni Scholarship and Undergraduate Research Fellowship. She serves on the board of the Nursing Network on Violence Against Women, International. In 2014, the International Association of Forensic Nurses honored herwith the Ann Burgess Forensic Nursing Research Award.


Genevieve Lyons, M.S.P.H.

Senior Biostatistician

Genevieve is an experienced collaborative biostatistician. She provides statistical support and consulting on various research projects with collaborators in the School of Medicine, School of Nursing, and others. She is the manager of the Research Methods core for the iTHRIV CTSA. Her research interests include organ transplant, maternal and child health, health equity, and medical ethics. Other professional interests include data visualization, science communication, and evidence-based policymaking. Genevieve especially enjoys working with students on biostatistics and SAS programming.


Lillian is a fourth-year undergraduate student at UVA, majoring in global public health and English. With a particular interest in maternal child health and domestic violence issues, she hopes to enter the public health workforce upon graduating, researching and addressing inequities facing women.

Megan is a second-year graduate student in the University of Virginia Clinical Nurse Leader program. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology with a minor in Religious Studies from the University of Virginia in 2017.  She is passionate about research and wants to delve further into issues affecting persons with disabilities, especially regarding maternal health.