My area of research examines sleep patterns and sleep disturbances in typically developing preschool, school-age children and adolescents and in those with chronic conditions, including juvenile arthritis, asthma, chronic pain, and emotional and behavioral disorders. I am interested in gaining a better understanding about the extent of disturbed sleep (poor sleep habits, inadequate amounts of sleep, sleep disordered breathing) and its relations to pain, fatigue, neurocognitive function, quality of life, and biomarkers. I measure sleep by overnight sleep study in the UW School of Nursing sleep laboratory and at home with actigraphy. Currently I train and work with several undergraduate and graduate students from a variety of disciplines (psychology, biology, global health, pre-nursing) in the sleep laboratory. I truly believe in interdisciplinary mentoring. Students have an opportunity to learn about sleep research, apply electrodes to children, work with children and their parents, administer neurocognitive tests, process assays, and learn data analysis. Each year students in our lab present at the Annual UW Undergraduate Research Symposium which is a fantastic opportunity to share our results with your peers and faculty, and why we are studying sleep in these populations.
I primarily teach graduate students in research methodology. These courses focuses on understanding and applying conceptual, ethical, & practical aspects of qualitative and quantitative research methods (design, sampling, data collection, measurement, statistical analysis) as a basis for evaluating and generating evidence for nursing practice. I also teach in the undergraduate program- Growth and Development Across the Lifespan. In this course, I have the opportunity to teach an interdisciplinary group of freshman, sophomores, juniors, and seniors about the interplay between experience and biopsychosocial interactions across the lifespan.
Practice, Service, Community Involvement
I volunteer at PEPS (Providing Early Parent Support) -- a Seattle based non-profit organization for first time parents, and the Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA) Foundation. I am involved in the Sleep Research Society, Council for Advancement of Nursing Science, Sigma Theta Tau, Associated Professional Sleep Society, Society of Pediatric Psychology, and American Nurses Association.
- Lentz MJ, Willgerodt M, Ward TM, & Kieckhefer G. (2013). Feasibility of Using Actigraphy and Motivational-based Interviewing to Improve Sleep Among School-Age Children and their Parents. Journal of School Nursing.
- Ringold S, Ward TM, & Wallace CA. (2012). Predictors of Fatigue in Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis. Arthritis Care & Research.
- Ward TM, Lentz, MJ, Kieckhefer, GM, Landis CA. Polysomnography and actigraphy concordance in Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis, asthma, and Healthy Children. (2011). J Sleep Research, 21(1), 113-121.
Current Research Projects
- Principal Investigator. Sleep Disordered Breathing in Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis. National Institute of Health/NINR. 1RO1 NR 0127
- Project Principal Investigator (06/01/2012-05/31/2014).Chronic Illness and its Impact on Sleep, Disease-Related Symptoms and Health Outcomes in Young Children and Their Parents (PI Heitkemper, Vitiello 8/04/2009–5/31/2014). National Institute of Health/NINR, Center for Research on the Management of Sleep Disturbances. 1 P30 NR011400. $100,000.
- Co-Investigator. Healthy Sleep Intervention for Preschool Children (PI: Garrison). National Institute of Health/NICHD. 1R01HD071937-01