Faculty Research Interests

Rutgers School of Nursing–Camden's award-winning faculty investigate topics within a framework of social justice, health promotion, and population health. They are recognized experts in their fields of study and clinical practice who explore topics including poverty, built environments, and vulnerable communities; disease prevention and health literacy; access to care; community-based research; and social determinants of health – to name a few. Our dedicated teacher-scholars translate findings into advanced nursing practice, bring their expertise into classrooms and communities, and are innovators who transform nursing knowledge into ideas that make an impact.

Margaret Avallone, DNP, RN, CCRN
Associate Dean, Baccalaureate Programs and Clinical Associate Professor
Dr. Margaret Avallone’s program of scholarship and research centers on patient safety and communication strategies and transitioning students to professional practice. Dr. Avallone holds more than 30 years of critical care nursing experience as a clinical bedside nurse and clinical specialist.
Cynthia Ayres, PhD, RN
Associate Dean, Graduate Programs & Advanced Nursing Practice and Associate Professor
Dr. Cynthia Ayres investigates health promotion and disease prevention activities in children, adolescents, and young adults, as well as health disparities among diverse populations. Dr. Ayres is an associate editor for the Journal of Nursing Practice Applications & Reviews of Nursing Research, and serves as an editorial board member and peer-reviewer for numerous top-tier journals.
Claudia Beckmann, PhD, RN, WHNP, BC, CNM
Professor Emerita
Dr. Claudia Beckmann has been instrumental in the development and implementation of Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) programs at Rutgers University College of Nursing-Newark and the Rutgers School of Nursing-Camden. Dr. Beckmann is a women’s health nurse practitioner and a certified nurse midwife.
Director, Wound Ostomy Continence Nursing (WOCNEP) Certificate Program
Dr. Janice Beitz researches the clinical practice and educational aspects of factors and issues affecting patient safety. For the former, she has conducted research on evidence-based algorithms such as Content Validation of Pressure Injury Prevention Algorithms and Prioritizing Management Approaches to Stomal and Peristomal Complications. Her latest research involves diabetes prevention. For the latter, she explores social bullying in nursing academia, metacognition, and effective teaching/learning strategies. Dr. Beitz is on the editorial and manuscript reviewer boards of multiple wound care and educational journals.
Renee E. Cantwell, DNP, RN, CNE, CPHQ
Professor Emerita
Dr. Cantwell’s passion is providing, through the Bridge to Nursing Success, a strong and seamless transition for students who are accepted into the accelerated bachelor of nursing program. Dr. Cantwell has more than 25 years of teaching experience as well as a strong clinical background in quality management, medical surgical and critical care nursing. Her research interest is primarily in the area of nursing education and in identifying and assisting victims of human trafficking.
Jeanann Sousou Coppola, DNP, RN, CNM, CNE
Clinical Assistant Professor
Dr. Jeanann Coppola is interested in women’s healthcare, peer mentoring, global health nursing, and human trafficking. Dr. Coppola is a Board-Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM) and Certified Nurse Educator (CNE) with experience teaching across academic programs using a variety of traditional and digital instructional formats. She is keenly interested in global health nursing and leads allied health students on a three-week health care immersion and civic engagement trip to Bolivia.
Nancy Cresse, DNP, MSN, RN, APRN-BC
Clinical Assistant Professor
Dr. Nancy Cresse studies frailty and care of the older adult.
Associate Dean, Center of Excellence in Interprofessional Practice, Education and Innovation (CEIPEI) and Clinical Associate Professor
Dr. Kevin Emmons is a clinical expert in wound care with a particular focus on quality of life and symptom management among persons with complex wounds. As a clinical scholar, he has numerous publications and presentations that predominantly focus on integrating concepts of palliative wound care into everyday practice. Outside of wound care, Dr. Emmons’ clinical practice is varied and has included emergency/trauma nursing and military nursing. He is an Officer in the United States Army Reserves Nurse Corps and has served in Kuwait and Iraq.
Kathleen Jackson, DNP, APRN, BC-ADM
Professor Emerita
Dr. Kathleen Jackson holds years of expertise and experience in family primary healthcare, facilitating transformation and leading interprofessional care of patients and community engagement, as well as teaching in graduate and interprofessional education. She has a broad background as a family nurse practitioner in primary care, with specific knowledge and experience in prevention and management of chronic disease.  Dr. Jackson delivers healthcare to vulnerable populations, working with communities to improve health and cross-sector partners in low-income neighborhoods across Camden, N.J., such as Dr. Jeffrey Brenner, founder of the Camden Coalition of Health Care Providers.
Bonnie Jerome-D'Emilia, PhD, MPH, RN
Associate Professor
Dr. Bonnie Jerome-D'Emilia targets her program of research on breast cancer screening and treatment, with a focus on disparities. Dr. Jerome-D'Emilia has conducted a number of community-based participatory research studies in Camden looking at women’s decision-making in terms of breast cancer screening as well as validating cancer related scales in African American and Hispanic communities.
Angela Kelly, DNP, RNC-OB, WHNP-BC, APN
Clinical Assistant Professor
Dr. Angela Kelly’s academic interests involve the improvement of adolescent health and risk reduction in this population. Dr. Kelly is a Board Certified Nurse practitioner with clinical expertise in the field of women’s health, health promotion, and community health. She has a special interest in projects that improve health outcomes for adolescent populations and pregnant teens.
Terri-Ann Kelly, PhD, RN, CPT
Assistant Professor
Dr. Terri-Ann Kelly, a nurse scientist with expertise in health disparities, pursues a program of research focused on strategies to encourage African Americans to adhere to a healthful diet, and engage in appropriate aerobic and muscle strengthening activities to protect their health. Specifically, Dr. Kelly seeks to develop theoretically grounded interventions, which are culturally competent, sustainable, and tailored to address relevant environmental and socio-cultural contexts in which individuals make decisions.
Sheila Linz, PhD, RN, PMHNP-NP, RN
Assistant Professor
Dr. Sheila Linz is a psychiatric nurse practitioner with extensive experience working in underserved communities with people who have serious mental illness. Dr. Linz has worked on outreach teams, shelters for the mentally ill, community clinics, nurse practitioner run mental health clinics, youth shelters, and with individuals with AIDS, substance abuse issues, and mental illness. She researches the needs of underserved communities and addresses issues of coping, stigma, isolation, exclusion, and building communication between diverse groups.
Donna M. Nickitas, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, CNE, FNAP, FAAN
Interim Provost and Professor
Dr. Donna M. Nickitas is an exceptional administrator, a noted health policy scholar, and an energetic visionary regarding the future of health care and nursing education in America. Dr. Nickitas is the author, co-author, or co-editor of peer-reviewed books related to the nursing profession such as Public Policy and Politics for Nurses and Other Health Professionals, second edition (2016, Jones and Bartlett) and Reviews & Rationales: Nursing Leadership & Management (2009, Prentice Hall Health). Her research consistently appears in peer-reviewed journals that include Nursing Education Perspectives, Research in Gerontological Nursing, and the Journal of Nursing Education. She has received research grant support from agencies such as the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the National League for Nursing, Jonas Philanthropies, and Sigma Theta Tau International. Since 2008, Dr. Nickitas has served as the editor of Nursing Economic$, a journal dedicated to advancing nursing leadership and innovation. A retired major in the U.S. Air Force Nurse Reserve Corps, Dr. Nickitas previously served as assistant director of maternal child health nursing at Bellevue Medical Center in New York and as a staff nurse in the labor and delivery unit at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn. 
Marie O'Toole, EdD, RN, FAAN
Interim Dean and Professor
Dr. Marie O’Toole’s primary program of research is academic lexicography.  Dr. O'Toole has served as the editor of multiple editions of dictionaries and encyclopedias, including the award winning Mosby Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing and Health Professions. Dr. O’Toole has been involved in international outreach related to rehabilitation and curriculum development. Her work has been funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Health Resource Services Administration (HRSA), the Fund for Improvement of Secondary Education (FIPSE) program of the United States Department of Education and the Erasmus+ program of the European Commission on Higher Education.  In 2017 she served as a Fulbright Specialist in Jordan.
Staci Pacetti, PharmD
Clinical Assistant Professor
Dr. Staci Pacetti holds a unique position as the lone pharmacist on faculty at the Rutgers School of Nursing–Camden. Dr. Pacetti is an infectious diseases specialty pharmacist by trade, who for more than 10 years has enjoyed teaching across all levels of nursing scholarship: undergraduate, RN to BSN, and graduate. She is a champion for the inclusion of interprofessional experiences into the nursing curriculum and works to advance projects across the disciplines of nursing, pharmacy, and social work.
Nancy M. H. Pontes,PhD, RN, FNP-BC, DRCC, FNAP, FAAN
Associate Professor

Dr. Nancy Pontes is a family nurse practitioner who has worked with vulnerable populations in a variety of roles and leadership positions. Her research explores social determinants of health and well-being among vulnerable youth and families. Specifically, she uses population-based nationally representative data such as the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) to explore victimization and related health disparities by race/ethnicity and gender. Her research on bullying and suicidality among youth received the 2019 ENRS/Nursing Research Authorship Award. In 2021 she won the NJ CARES Award for Research. She is active with international collaborations and research mentorship.

Katherine Prihoda, DNP, PPCNP-BC
Clinical Associate Professor
Dr. Katherine Prihoda holds years of experience as a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner which has provided her with the background and skills necessary to teach nursing students across all levels of scholarship. Dr. Prihoda scholarship involves nursing education, adolescent health, pediatric primary care, and underserved pediatric populations.
Tyshaneka Saffold, MSN, RN, PhD
Assistant Professor
Tyshaneka Saffold studies health disparities in urban populations; impact of poverty on health; HIV treatment and management; and teenage pregnancy prevention. Ms. Saffold has been a nurse for 18 years, with clinical expertise in the area of cardiac care of patients, community health, and leadership. She is a PhD candidate whose program of research centers on adolescent health, particularly prevention of both teen pregnancy and HIV in poverty stricken neighborhoods.
Patricia Suplee, PhD, RNC-OB
Associate Professor
Dr. Patricia D. Suplee seeks to advance knowledge that can ultimately be translated into practice in order to improve maternal health during transitions from the hospital to community during the postpartum period. Dr. Suplee has a long history of collaboration with perinatal and breast cancer scientists on research endeavors; she was a member of the pioneering interdisciplinary clinical team that helped transition obstetrical care into what we now know as modern day high-risk perinatal acute care. Her areas of expertise include: improving maternal morbidity and mortality outcomes and tailoring culturally appropriate interventions in socio-economically disadvantaged urban areas.
Carol Wallinger, JD, BSN, RN
Professor Emerita
Carol L. Wallinger is an expert in Workers Compensation, insurance, estate planning and elder law and teaches legal writing to first-year and upper-level students. She worked as an attorney in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey and is a founding member of the board of directors of the American Association of Law Schools “Balance in Legal Education” section. Wallinger joined the Rutgers-Camden Law faculty in 2001, and since then has taught legal writing to both first-year and upper-level law students. She also has taught Workers' Compensation Law. Before joining the faculty, she taught Legal Writing at Temple University.
Mary Wunnenberg, EdD, MSN, RN, CNE
Clinical Assistant Professor
Dr. Mary Wunnenberg has an extensive clinical background in diverse acute care settings with over 14 years of experience teaching in classroom and clinical settings. Dr. Wunnenberg's research explores integrating feminist care ethics with colleagues, students, and vulnerable patient populations. She works collaboratively with nurse leaders in acute care psychiatric facilities to develop staff development initiatives to enhance patient care outcomes. She works to integrate diverse teaching and evaluation methodologies to enhance student learning, in the classroom and in clinical settings, and faculty mentoring.